The negatives of Amazon and Wal-Mart are all lost in the amount of time that these companies save their customers. With Amazon, the convenience of shopping online far outweighs the one to three days that it takes for products to show up on the doorsteps of shoppers. And then, if you need something immediately, Wal-Mart is typically the best solution, as they have almost everything you need in one physical location. And to compete even more with Amazon, they recently purchased jet.com, but it will take some time to see just how much advantage this brings to Wal-Mart. Anyway, say what you will about their business practices; the reason that these companies are both still alive and well is that they make shopping more convenient for consumers, a practice that many businesses should take note of.
Many companies are already seeing just how much revenue can be made when they save people time, and as a result, they are simultaneously cutting out the middlemen in order to maximize profits. They are finding that many times, when they take the delivery of the product into their own hands, or find a new way to distribute altogether, people not only receive their merchandise quicker, but they save money in the process. Examples of this can be seen with Amazon establishing their very own shipping service, and Chipotle delivering food by drones rather than having drivers deliver food or putting the responsibility of pickup on their customers. These brands are doing whatever they can to set themselves apart, to save people time, and to make their processes more efficient.
Combine this power of saving people time with the power of saving people money, and you’ve got a contender. Combine these two powers with the power of service, and you’ve got a winner. I’m of course not making this stuff up; it always shows in customer feedback and data. One of the main reasons that Wal-Mart has down quarters is their lack of service, but they offer convenience and savings, so they get by just fine. It’s a proven model that has worked for them, so I doubt they make any changes to fix their issues. But, you compare Wal-mart’s model to Amazon’s convenience, savings, and service, and you can easily see who the winner is. Another example of a brand that uses this model is Chick-fil-A. They have found out how to save people time by serving food quickly, how to keep guests happy by always offering friendly service, and how to offer meals that people love at a good price. These are the factors that build their high value, thus creating raving fans.
So, what does all of this mean for the rest of us entrepreneurs trying to grow our own businesses? It means that we must find more ways to make shopping more convenient. We must make consumption and purchasing easier in order to compete with others who are already seeing this opportunity and are executing on it. And not only should we focus on saving people time, but we should focus on offering consumers the best service that we possibly can. When we do these two things, price becomes less of an issue and value becomes the answer. When we provide value, the dollar amount becomes less of a concern. But if we can provide savings on top of everything else, well, there’s no doubt that we will win, too. People want it all, and if we can deliver everything that they want, well, it’s our responsibility to do so.