In our posts we make an attempt to cover a wide range of marketing topics. However, looking over our past posts, there is one topic that seems to capture our attention quite frequently. That topic is retailing, which we discuss more than any other. It is somewhat difficult to pinpoint the exact reason we discuss this so much other than pointing to the remarkable changes this industry has experienced over the last 25 or so years. In particular, thanks to technology, retailing has evolved well beyond what anyone would have predicted.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the industry has benefited from the technology evolution in retailing. As we have reported several times, many retailers, who made the mistake of not adapting to change, are no longer with us. We first discussed this back in 2010 when we reported on how Hollywood Video, a chain of video rental outlets, was calling it quits as new technologies had hit the company hard. In 2011, we again looked at failed retailers when we listed 11 U.S. retailers that went bankrupt after the 2008 economic downturn. While at that time we primarily placed the blamed on the economy, in a post a few years later that discussed RadioShack, it was becoming clear that the failures back in 2011 were as much the result of customers shifting their purchases to the Internet as it was to a down economy.
Today, we have the report of another retail casualty. As discussed in this New York Times story, SkyMall, the in-airline shopping magazine, has filed for bankruptcy. At the top of the list of reasons for their failure is the change in fliers’ in-flight activities, which are due, in large part, to new technologies, such as tablet devices.
Like many famous retailers, SkyMall was unable to adapt easily to technological changes that have taken place. And because of this, along with most retailers that have failed in the last ten years, SkyMall will serve as an excellent case study on how not adjusting to technological innovation can negatively impact a company.