It’s a scary time in the retail business. If established companies can’t change the way they do business, they will be on a slow path to destruction. The barriers they used in the past to prevent smaller competitors from chipping away at their businesses are less relevant now and they are exposed to enormous risks. Things like scale and capital, which were always the strengths of large, established players, don’t protect them anymore. Even worse, being big is preventing larger businesses from making the changes they need because they are too big to change. Their culture, in which their strengths are manifested, is working against their future survival. There are more changes going on in retail now than I have ever seen before and that’s proving impossible for the established companies to deal with. It used to be true that if you asked a merchant why a consumer buys a product, they would tell you it’s about two things: great product and a great brand. But today that’s not the end of the story, it’s only the beginning. Consumers today want more. They want to know that the products they buy are contributing to the world with ethical behavior. They want to know that a product is relevant to their lifestyle. They prefer that a product be made locally. They want it to be made of environmentally-sensitive materials. They want the purchase of the product to be a good experience, with service that is accommodating and not troublesome. They don’t want products that are sold all over the world, they want to be unique, they want their products to be individualized, special and personal to themselves. Read more at Forbes.