In the UK there is (was) a retail group called Arcadia Group, they are (were) retail stalwarts of shops such as "Topman", "Miss Selfridge" it has just been announced that they are going into administration ... this is terrible for the 13,000 people that work there. Add to that that Arcadia Group has concession shops in Debenhams.
That's 25,000 retail jobs lost in two days, which is terrible for the people concerned and their families, especially as we head of the holiday season.
Are We Surprised?
I placed my first order on Amazon in October 1998, some 22 years ago. I recall people would ask me "is it safe?", now of course, we all buy from Amazon and all the other online stores. Ecommerce is the norm.
Arcadia group always saw Social Media as an "overhead", a tactic, they would use it as a way to talk at, not talk to customers. Classic, interruption and broadcast marketing. Classic "buy my product because it's great" marketing. Arcadia, are a classic example of an analogue company in a digital world.
Whereas online retailers have always seen social media as a way to talk to customers. Building relationships and often brand supporters. In fact, customers are often where some of our best ideas can come from, they are a great research and development (R&D) department.
We cannot talk about Arcadia, without talking about Philip Green it's CEO. It was on October 25, 2019 that Green was named in UK Parliament by Lord Peter Hain as a prominent businessman accused of sexual harassment after the newspaper The Telegraph was given a legal injunction to prevent his identity being revealed. Philip has been rumoured is a bully and ran a business based on the fact that he was right.
Are we surprised Arcadia has gone into administration? Of course not. They are an analogue company, they have been taken over by the digital world and a world where employees are treated with respect.
What Has This Got to Do We Business to Business (B2B)?
Where ever B2C goes, B2B follows.
I've just been doing some prospecting on LinkedIn, researching businesses that might need some help selling and marketing in the 2020s. What do I see?
Business after business and person after person posting on their LinkedIn profiles "buy our product, because it's great". They look and sound the same as all their competitors. The only saving grace for the big vendors is that the small vendors do this as well. No, differentiation, a sea of sameness.
You biggest unique selling point (USP), in fact your only USP today, are your people. We all know that, just like Arcadia's buyers have migrated online, so has the B2B buyer.
To be honest, there is little difference between these B2B companies and Arcadia.
Why do all these B2B business keep asking their employees to keep sharing boring corporate articles?
The other thing that surprised me was the willingness for business to demonstrate how undiverse they are. There was one sales leader who had taken as photo of his sales team and they were, guess what? Yes. All male, white, middle aged and privileged. For a business to advertise this in 2020, is suicidal. But it's out there.
What Do You Need to Do?
As a business if you have to recognize that your customer is online. This isn't new, let's not forget I joined Amazon 22 years ago.
Worldwide social media users: 4.14 billion - 53% of the world's population use social media in other words, more people use social media than don't use it.
Simon says that "two thirds of the working population in the world is now active on social media."
How much research do you need to convince you?
All of this research explains, that the modern customer is online, the world has gone digital and sitting with our heads in the sand in't going to make it go away.
A CEO Just said to me
In the past he would go to a seminar, hopefully look at the attendee list. Otherwise, go up to people and get business cards.
He would then go back to the office, give the business cards to his PA and hopefully a conversation would come from that and maybe work.
He now says that "there is a race on. First we need to shock people into understanding that the world has changed. Second, we need to give them the skills to work in the changing world." I couldn't put it better myself.
He went onto say "By giving my team(s) “new world” skills will gives us a competitive advantage."
Interesting that he finished by saying
"The thing is there is a “burning bridge” and we need to make sure we are over that bridge."
Something that Arcadia did do, let's hope your business gets over that bridge in good time.
What Got You Here Won't Get You There
Everytime we run our social selling programs, we always get 30% increase in revenue and a 40% reduction in the sales cycle.
There are also some softer benefits, you and your team get a new life skill and as a leader you are providing the business with a digital legacy. Supporting the transformation to digital for the business.
Here is a great example of somebody who launched his business during the pandemic, but is not laying people off but expanding.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing for other companies. No hard sell, just take you through what other companies are doing to transform, how they are getting competitive advantage and how they have made their way over the burning bridge.
Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has collapsed into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk as the retail tycoon’s high street career ends in failure.