Death of Discounting, Part Deux
Ad Age is out today with a report suggesting discounters of all stripes — Wal-Mart, Southwest Airlines and Dell held up as the most prominent examples – might have put their best days behind them.
Here’s the gist of it:
Each helped drive several of their weaker competitors out of business, into bankruptcy or into one another’s arms. But many of their remaining competitors have learned how to chip away at price gaps while offering something beyond price — be it style, convenience, quality or service.
"It’s tough to compete on price alone," said Ralph Blessing, principal with the consulting firm Arbor Strategy Group in Chicago. "Our surveys show people increasingly are unwilling to sacrifice quality in the shopping experience or in customer service just for the sake of price. They expect you to do both."
Reminded me of the "Wal-Mart Era Wanes" piece the Wall Street Journal ran on its front page in early October.
Is this "discounters in the dump" a developing point of view among the analytic cognoscenti? I think it’s too early to tell. Three times is a trend, they say. We’ll see if any other members of the national business press pick this up.