Monday, December 22, 2008

Review of our 2008 Predictions - 4. Retailers

At the end of 2007 we made 10 predictions for 2008. Many predictions made have now been conveniently forgotten but we stand by our thinking at the time and believe it appropriate we openly review these individually and see what we think happened and assess them appropriately. Today we review the retail response.

4. Retailers – will come out of the background and start to take control of the channel again. The chains will expand their digital metadata repositories and do much scanning and collection of rich material. Following Amazon and Dymocks others are likely to endorse their own eRoutes.

Retailers are under more pressure than any time we can remember. Many are committed to digital but are totally dependant on aggregators to deliver the infrastructure and the content. The infrastructure is coming but these players too have been deflected to fight economic flash fires and physical sales discount wars.

Waterstones finally turned from chrysalis to butterfly, but what we expected to be a large beautiful butterfly was a bit more disappointing and we didn’t know whether it was a moth or a butterfly. Some would say that ‘exclusive’ deals and device releases don’t engage consumers, just confuses them. Then again some would say that Sony’s release of their latest model, just two weeks after the Waterstones’ fanfare, was a kick in the teeth for those who had just bought ‘the latest technology.’

Amazon continued to show what a dominate force they truly are consolidating their offer across print on demand, audio and all books, only to be outmanoeuvred by Google and its legal war chest.

If as predicted the ebook market shifts firmly to the mobile platform and notebooks and away from single device players how will retailers respond. If the model moves from outright purchase to rental with the retailers stick to what they know. or adapt? In a world which can react in a heartbeat, it raises the question whether the retailer’s often cumbersome and slow to react web offers can keep up.

A disappointing 4 out of 10. Someone once said that ‘its easy to teach someone how to swim but it doesn’t mean you can stop them from drowning.’

No comments: