Are you flexible? I don’t mean can you do a split, although I’m impressed if you can. Nor do I mean can you touch your head to the floor without bending your knees. That’s great in Yoga class, and I concede, it probably means you’re holding less stress, which is good for both your body and your business.
But in business agility relates to how quickly you can change, whether it’s your merchandise or your marketing, your design or display, to make sure you’re giving customers exactly what they want, when and where they want it.
As business is moving at an unprecedented speed, every company, no matter its size, needs to move just as quickly. If you’re not nimble, you’ll lose sales. Being able to pivot, to change course, has been the key to success for companies from Facebook to Twitter to Groupon.
Now Macy’s is attempting to be more nimble. Recognizing Amazon’s success with its distribution centers located near major population centers, the department store chain has started shipping online orders from the back room of about 35 per cent of its 800 stores. In effect, it’s using them as warehouses to fulfill orders more quickly, and at lower cost. It’s able to do this now because of advances in technology which make it possible to immediately update the status of merchandise.
But even with the improvement in a tech sense, the shift wouldn’t have been possible if that powers that be at the chain weren’t willing to shake things up; if they weren’t open to new possibilities.
And when you think about, why should they make changes. Macy’s has been consistently successful; profit is up a whopping 38 per cent, while online sales have increased by more than one-third. But because they’re savvy, they’re not thinking about what has happened, they’re thinking about the future. They’re making these changes now because they want to make sure of Macy’s continued success.
That’s a good lesson for all of us to keep in mind. No matter how well things are going at any given time, we have to be open to the new. Today, we all have to be futurists.
If you want more ideas about bringing in business, I can help. I’ve been a retail reporter at Women’s Wear Daily and Home Furnishings News, a columnist at the Miami Herald and a correspondent at People.
I’ve also handled the marketing and public relations at major corporations and small businesses. Need a speaker or a consultant? Get in touch at Ask Laurel (one word) at laureltielis.com. Connect with me at LinkedIn, or follow me on Twitter @laureltielis.
Read Ka-Ching! How to Ring Up More Sales, for easy and effective ways to bring in more business.
Copyright © 2012 Laurel Tielis