Why would the world’s largest retailer tell us to stop going to one of its 5,300+ retail stores here in the U.S.?
Well, for starters, it isn’t technically Walmart telling us to “say goodbye to the store”; jet.com is. But as we all know, Walmart bought jet.com for $3 billion, AND we know that Walmart is looking over its shoulder AND we know that Amazon is closing in fast.
Buying jet.com came very late in the game for Walmart. A better move would have been to use what’s known as a flanking strategy. This is a term for a military maneuver that’s been adopted by marketers to describe moving early and strategically to avoid direct conflict. Walmart, however, moved very late, perhaps too late. To win, Walmart must be positioned as the omni-channel, cross-platform, “we are wherever you need to shop” retailer in order to maintain their dominance. You’ve probably read that Amazon plans to open more than 100 brick-and-mortar retail stores. Time will tell where this battle will net out.
Now, back to you. Have you considered what your flanking strategy could be? This link is a good, quick read if you want to know more about how you might flank your organization from a competitor before it’s too late.
We’ve seen serious new threats to associations and particularly their events in several key industries: retail, architecture, drones, banking and medical conferences.
A good, pre-emptive flanking strategy, implemented in time, can keep the wolves from the door and make startup competitors think twice before attacking your organization. And it’s more fun to make the first move. Why wait, as Walmart did, for an Amazon to be breathing down your neck?
It’s better to act out of inspiration than desperation.