Traditional Retail Once Again Has Dismal Growth Results…Don’t Blame The Economy, Blame The Out Of Date Thinking Behind The Business Model

Hi, there. This week, I just wanted to share with you about a story I read recently in the “Sydney Morning Herald” talking about the latest statistics for the retail shopping released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. What I found really interesting in the story was that the person was talking to the reporter, he was reporting on how lackluster and how bleak the retail outlook was for traditional retail, and also talking about in particular department stores. It said the department store’s results were absolutely shocking. In fact, there was a 0.1 percent growth for the previous month, which was ridiculous when you think about how low that actually is.

Some of the things they were talking about was the economy and how it’s affecting business and how it’s affecting retail and how retailers actually start to look for things like the back to school bonus that families were getting, hoping that that would boost spending in retail stores. I think that the reality is that people that are stuck in the mindset of traditional retail just aren’t quite getting it.

They just aren’t realizing that it’s not necessarily the economy. The world is still here. The world is still going around. People online are still selling a whole heap of stuff. But the key difference, and one of the most exciting things for online retailers, is the low overheads that we have.

So many big department stores, and in fact most businesses that are on a high street‑type layout or place have huge overheads. They’ve got fixed rents. They’ve got staffing. They’ve got penalty rates for staffing, working on weekends and public holidays. For the average small business owner, that just cripples you. There’s not enough money there to sustain the old way of doing things.

Another friend who had a business on Chapel Street in Victoria, in Melbourne, and it was always a pumping place. They’re saying now they’re actually seeing empty shops along there. It’s one of the most sought‑after commercial places for businesses to want to set up if you’re selling product in Melbourne. Yet now here they are with empty shops. That’s just unheard of for that place to have that happening.

I think it’s gone beyond, now, blaming the economy. Going beyond blaming the GFC and the elections and all these other things that people blame. It’s just different now. The economy’s different, shopping is different, the online, digital revolution is here. Sadly, a lot of these businesses just aren’t getting the fact that they need to adapt and they need to evolve.

Some other retailers, online retailers like Kogan with his electronics business, you’ve got his online furniture business, Milan Direct. You’ve got other sellers like Australia’s top eBay seller, AGR Machinery, doing $40 million a year on eBay. The realities of the markets are still there. People are still shopping. People are still needing things. They’re still spending money, but they’re spending it in a different way.

I think what these reporters and what a lot of the statisticians and all these people aren’t quite getting is the fact that it’s not just the economy, but people’s habits are changing. They’re still reporting on things that they would report on and the way they would report on it for the last 10, 20, 30 years. The reality is that they’re not seeing a whole another side of it.

You can, you are seeing a whole another side of it. We’re seeing it, our students are seeing it. The great thing is that this is just a change in the way people are looking at doing things now. We’re placed in the right time to be able to take advantage of it. In closure, keep learning, keep growing, keep evolving.

Don’t listen to these statistics talking about how bad the economy is. Because even in bad economies, there is always someone making money. There’s always people that are growing, people evolving, that are improving their profits. We’re doing it. A lot of people we know that have online businesses are doing it, when you’re selling traditional products on an online world.

Make the jump, make the evolution yourself. What are you waiting for? The world’s there for you to take and to enjoy and to participate. Enjoy the online world. If you’re not there already, we can certainly help you do that, too.

Bye for now,

Matthew Clarkson

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