A recent issue of Apparel leads with the headline that Technology is Closing — and Widening — the Gap. Needless to say, this is a headline that I had to read twice to believe I was reading it. It then goes on to say that mobile can be viewed as both a great threat and a great opportunity. Really? Smartphones create interaction much more dynamic than it was back in the days when customers were restricted to flipping through print catalogs. Who’d a thunk it? Mobile also poses a threat allowing customers to hop on Amazon.com or any number of other sites for a quick cost or brand comparison. A browser works on more than one site? Wow!
But seriously, this article is ridiculous. It’s common sense drivel for anyone with half a brain and a memory that remembers more than 10 years of history. (What am I saying? It’s only the last quarter that matters! Thank you Wall Street MBAs for ruining not only innovation but the importance of history. But that’s another rant.) First of all:
Mobile may be new, but it’s just another technology.
It’s going to go through the growing pains of every new technology that came before. There were growing pains with the Web. There were growing pains with television. There were growing pains with radio. And if you study your history (as one of my blogging counterparts will gladly point out as important), you’ll realize that each had the same growing pains, opportunities, and threats. The only difference is that with each generation of new technology, the time frames become more and more compressed. Right now, most minitrends last about five years. In the future, some may only last five months.
The difference between the rich and the poor is $$$.
How much $$$ you have in business depends on market share. It’s a knowledge economy, and how much knowledge you have depends on how fast you can distill it from information. How much information you have depends on how much data you have and how fast you can extract information from it. And both of these steps depend on technology. So, as a corollary, how much technology you have, or have access to, directly affects how rich or how poor you are.
Any change in your situation relative to someone else either narrows or widens the gap.
So if your technology changes, or your competitors’ technology changes, then the gap between you and your competition is going to change as well. D’oh!
Tell me something useful — like how to take advantage of this technology as a retailer. Otherwise, stop wasting my pixels and my time.