Just because you run a retail store, doesn’t mean that you’re in the retail business. In fact, I’d say that almost all businesses can learn a lot from some retail marketing. And, in The Metail Economy: 6 Strategies for Transforming Your Business to Thrive in the Me-Centric Consumer Revolution by Joel Bines you’re going to learn a lot!
Joe Bines’ Bio Doesn’t Begin to Cover it
Usually, the “about the author” section of the book answers the question of why you should listen to this author. It’s supposed to be a credibility builder. But, I think Joe Bines’ bio didn’t prepare me for the quality of this book.
See what you think.
Joel Bines is an operational strategist. This means that he helps companies navigate change. He’s known as a “lunch pail and hard hat kind of guy” and his mantra is “outwork everyone”. These days he co-leads the global retail practice at AlixPartners.
This kind of bio makes me think that I’m going to get another book by a consultant that’s meant to educate me on their process and why I should hire them.
But it’s not! Well, at least it doesn’t read that way to me. Joe Bines’ writing is worth the read.
This books came out of his alarm at seeing executives missing a huge trend: that it’s consumers who are setting the agenda. Once you know this, the whole book makes a lot of sense.
Another important element of the book is that it’s NOT prescriptive by design. And this is a great thing. Bines doesn’t pretend that there’s a single process any business can follow. He states what you already know — there is no silver bullet, no immutable laws about which retail business will succeed and which will fail
“Too many business books take a handful of anecdotes and weave them together to manufacture a prescription that no company can replicate. They oversimplify things by forcing them into neat frameworks. I’ve spent countless hours unraveling the mistakes my clients made by twisting themselves into knots trying to put these theories into practice — and frankly, I’m tired of it.”
You go Joel, and tell us what you really think.
Why the MeTail Economy is Worth Reading
This book has all the ingredients of a great weekend read that will give you great ideas to run your business.
First, there’s a little history about the trajectory of retail from togas to today. Bines shares some interesting examples of how different businesses have struggled with the new Metail paradigm, as well as some that are on the correct track.
Then, it offers up six practical retail models that aren’t just for retail.
- Cost: Give me a Steal – All the different ways that you can embrace a low-cost model.
- Convenience: Make it easy for me – See how several retailers honed in on ways to make things convenient
- Category Expert: Show me what you know – This is most local business’ superpower in competing with the chains.
- Customization: That made for me feeling – An outline of a variety of ways you can customize your products or services.
- Curation: That chosen for me feeling – This is a model that easily goes beyond retail for sure. The overwhelming amount of choice and information makes this a killer model for any expert.
- Community: Make me feel welcome – There’s a community for everyone! This is a great opportunity to embrace your passions and quirks and build a business around it.
Each model is a chapter, so you can read them in order — or not. This is the meat of the book and will not disappoint.
One of my favorite stories comes from the “Cost” chapter. It’s a mix of retail history and the author’s personal story about one of the first closeout stores outside of Boston called “Building #19 1/2” — with a name like that, you know there has to be a great story behind it. And there is — everything from why it’s called Building 19 1/2 to the way they embraced the closeout clutter to work it in their favor. It’s delicious, satisfying, and makes you think.
Every single chapter in this section runs this same formula. Personally, I like that. It’s entertaining, I feel like I know what to expect, and it makes me think of ways to incorporate this particular retail strategy in any business.
This is important: You don’t have to be a retail business to use these business models.
The last section of the book is the roadmap. So YAY! Another refreshing and pleasant surprise. Instead of 100 pages of the book being the consultant’s process, it’s more like 15 pages of guidance and a general roadmap. It’s like Bines gets his audience. He gives us what we want, he gives us the process and recognizes that the audience that might hire his consulting firm, doesn’t really care about the details.
Summing it Up
If you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve and thrive in today’s “me-centric” consumer revolution, then you need to read The Metail Economy. This groundbreaking book will show you how to develop a deep self-awareness about how your organization is viewed and valued by your customers?and focus your efforts accordingly. Whether you’re the CEO of a global organization or starting your own clothing boutique, becoming a Metailer is essential for success in today’s competitive marketplace.