If you haven’t already heard, Sports Authority will be closing all of it’s stores by the end of July! The major sports apparel and equipment company made the announcement back in March of this year and I thought it was time for me to express why huge companies that have existed for so many decades are going out of business.
#1 Online Shopping
There’s no question about it, Amazon has been dominating the online shopping market. What started out as an online bookstore and has now become a global company that sells anything from the latest tech to all sorts of groceries and ships them directly to your house. Features such as free SuperSaver shipping, Amazon Prime and the recently announced Amazon Dash buttons are also helping to move sales upwards, make shopping simpler and give consumers another reason to avoid retail stores and the long lines that are associated with them. Amazon, and the many other companies that have online stores are killing these brick and mortar counterparts, and it shouldn’t be too long before others follow suit.
#2 Failure to Innovate
Why is Sports Authority closing down while it’s competitors, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Modell’s are still continuing operations? Well there’s really no simple reason. It could be because they have better customer service or better products or a bigger customer base or even more locations. You really can’t pin point one exact reason. What I can say is that innovation is extremely important for any business. You have to keep up with the trends and know and understand what the consumers want, not what you want. You have to put the consumer first, and if that means receiving a lower paycheck for the good of the business, then that is what must be done. In this case, Dick’s and Modell’s are two highly recognized and respected companies because they do their job exceptionally well. Having said that, I think if Sports Authority had created something new that made them different from it’s competitors, it may have survived bankruptcy. Maybe, conducting surveys or implementing easier check-out options or advertising specific deals, could have helped them in ways they may have not envisioned.
#3 Market Saturation
I think this one goes hand-in-hand with the second reason, but I think market saturation is also an important thing to take note of. Whether you created a certain need or market or if you just entered a market, one way or another it will become saturated as people find out that it’s highly profitable. Whenever money is involved and a lot of money for that matter, markets will become saturated and in many cases, even the earliest pioneers may also be the first to exit. A classic example was Blockbuster. What was once the go-to place to rent movies, quickly went downhill as the company failed to change it’s ways and stream movies and shows like Netflix. Although Netflix created a whole new market, Blockbuster still could have adapted as it was related to giving consumers entertainment. Instead, the company stayed behind and by the time they too created an online streaming service, it was far too late. Netflix had won over many of Blockbuster’s customers and then some. The key thing here is to always be aware of changes. Whether you created the market or not, change is inevitable and it’s really up to you if you’re willing to conform.
For a long time I still preferred brick and mortar stores. Why? Well, I liked being able to physically hold a product before I bought it. While most of my online purchases were great, there’s always that risk that what I originally thought would be nice, could end up being otherwise. Regardless, I think we’ll continue to see many more physical stores close down as online shopping becomes the most effective and efficient way to increase sales.