The list of doomed retailers continues to grow. According to this Forbes report many companies have given up hope and simply thrown in the towel.
There is no denying we live in the age of consumerism, where customers are calling the shots on what they want, when they want it and what price they are willing to pay. Buoyed by Amazon, Netflix, Nordstrom, Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines and others, a consumer-centered mindset has become the norm.
When looking at brands that landed at the top of Prophet’s recent Brand Relevance Index, it’s clear how critical unparalleled customer obsession is to a company’s success. Many companies like Pinterest, Etsy and Spotify didn’t even exist 20 years ago, but they quickly become indispensable to people’s lives by developing innovative, inspiring products that give consumers what they want, sometimes even before they know they want it. The traditional brands at the top of the list have also maintained their relevance by being as obsessed with their customers as the “new kids” on the block. Clorox, KitchenAid, Dove, Tide and other old-timers continue to reinvent themselves, finding different ways to connect with both new and legacy customers.
On the flipside, within the last six months, we have learned of the bankruptcy and shuttering of The Limited and American Apparel stores, Twitter’s decision to shut down Vine after its failed attempt to turn it into Snapchat, multiple store closings from Sears and Radio Shack, and the complete shutdown of the consumer division of Blackberry. Just 10 years ago, each of these brands (sans Vine) was a leader in its category. Consumers understood what they stood for, and it was hard to imagine how they could ever be dethroned. Well, that was before brands like Zara and Forever 21 entered the mainstream for teens and millennials, before the iPhone was a thing, and way before Instagram and Snapchat were even born. Today the marketplace these brands used to dominate looks completely different.