Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BIG’s Blog: The Store Is Still There!

I live near Omaha, Nebraska. One of the major intersections is 72nd and Dodge Street. Near that corner is a Borders book superstore.

Funny thing, it’s there but it’s not there.

All the action with Borders happened in 2011. In February, they sought bankruptcy protection to reorganize, but by July it was obvious that even closing most of their stores couldn’t keep them afloat . . . so they changed their bankruptcy to liquidation. By last December, Borders was gone. Only their store fronts remained.

It’s old news and ironic that Borders was put out of business by the innovation of Web-based retailing as practiced by when it was the innovation of book superstores like Borders that put many mom & pop small book stores out of business in the 90’s and 2000’s. Remember You’ve Got Mail that starred Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Hanks’ character owned the book superstore that sure looked like Borders.

Who’s next?  How about the big box electronic retailer Best Buy?

Circuit City and CompUSA are already gone. Again, this is moving so fast that I still see their empty store fronts. Retail analysts are saying that unless Best Buy changes its business model to compete with Web-based retailers like, it will follow Circuit City and CompUSA into bankruptcy liquidation.

What’s the common thread? The Web.

I do not want to see empty offices of nonprofit organizations the way I now see Borders, Circuit City et al.

What is your strategy for growing donations using the Web? Notice I didn’t ask, “What Web-based tools or programs are you using?” Just like Form follows Function in architecture, so too, Tactics follow Strategy in fundraising. Without determining the function of a building, how would you know what form it would take? Without determining the strategy of your Web-based fundraising, how would you know what tactics (Web-based or other) to employ?

Borders and Circuit City are history because they didn’t develop a Web-based strategy. Best Buy may yet survive if they develop a strategy that incorporates the Web.

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