So in the last week, we’ve heard of two major retailers are closing down their doors. Toys R Us and Claire’s. It came as a shock to many but I have to ask a very important question?

When was the last time you shopped at either of those retailers?

Why or why not?

That answer is very telling. You see the odds are that a large portion of the population has the same answer you do. And as you can imagine if your answer was anything like mine, odds are it’s been a very long time since you visited those retailers.

I honestly can’t even remember the last time I stepped into a mall. I shop online for most things even groceries!

So what did them in? In my observation as a former retail store owner, here are some of the things I see.

They didn’t take the online game seriously. With so many e-commerce popping up daily offering the same products and services they failed to see that the convenience of online shopping and competitive pricing would steer bargain shoppers to the best bargain, leaving them in the dust.

This is why it’s so dangerous to build a brand around bargains and discounts. We now have direct sales companies that sell jewelry for $5!

A retailer has to build their brand around great customer service, relationship, and memorable customer experience.

Whether you’re in brick and mortar or online retail the thing that will make you stand out is not your price or even the quality of your products or services. What will make you stand out, is, what the customer got out of the interaction with our business.

The best way to find out what their experience is like? Well, this is what I did and do in my business.

I ask them how was their experience. It seems basic, but it’s not. We often get so caught up in the numbers and trends that we forget the simple things like asking this question.

I also look at the negative and positive reviews customers have to say about my competitors. It let’s me know what are the things going right and what needs improvement in my industry. If we get really good at this, we can anticipate what the future needs are and beat everyone else to the market with solutions.

This is exactly why Amazon has become a big winner in the retail world.

That brings me to my next point. Even small businesses can learn from Amazon. We don’t have to be big corporations to innovate and provide a great customer experience.

Keep the conversation going. Share with us what you've learned