Amazon and Google have killed many businesses. Will they kill yours?

Last week while chatting and preparing dinner, my mom was lamenting about all the brick and mortar stores she saw closing their doors, mainly due to the doom of the Amazon era. Coincidentally, my sister, a photographer, showed me this photographer named Retail Death, that was documenting the closing process of shopping malls around the country. A gloomy view of what the retail industry is going through.

It got me thinking: all industries, all products, all businesses have their life cycle. We all know that. But what will keep mine, and yours, alive through the coming years? The example of Best Buy inspired many to focus on client experience, embracing the need we have for human touch and support in conjunction with the ease of the digital experience that we expect. Some of the examples with Best Buy are how it embraced the behavioral change that came with Amazon, turning the weakness into strength: they took “showrooming” in stride and took advantage of the need that people have to try things live before making a large purchase. It also focused on people and developing a bond with their clients through the Geek Squad.

We still crave human reassurance:

The digital era went from 0 to 100 in a flash. This has had an impact in our personal life that I do not need to explain. But it has also raised our conscious and unconscious expectations on how a company should provide their services to us. It should be fast, simple, clear and without much back and forward, just like opening Facebook account, even if what we were doing is opening a regulated brokerage account where our life savings will be stored, that requires many more steps and people or organizations involved.

The reality is that using digital tools to improve your service is a sine qua non in business. But the ones that will truly thrive are those that are actually merging the human touch with the digital support. Just like Best Buy did.

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