All too often, good ideas never get off the ground because of needless fears. Businesses that forge ahead despite the fear are often pleasantly surprised.
Take, for instance, Target’s decision to allow Internet access within its stores. Executives were fearful that doing so would lead shoppers to compare prices and buy from less expensive online competitors.
According to Internet Retailer, Target instead discovered that the majority of in-store shoppers visited www.target.com, in search of product reviews, other styles, and customization options. Target is now “show-rooming” itself, highlighting products that they only sell online. The strategy has boosted sales all around.
That reminded me of an historic example of how different distribution methods complement each other: The Book of the Month Club. When it was founded in 1926, a club that distributed books by mail was a revolutionary concept — one that had a lot of naysayers. The addition of the negative option automatic shipment feature further turned publishing on its head. Retail bookstores were terrified. Many of them tried to thwart the competition by joining the club, then returning the monthly selection in droves.
Eventually, the bookstores realized that whenever the Book of the Month Club featured a particular book, it sold more in bookstores as well. Instead of being a threat, the Book of the Month Club was providing free advertising for the bookstores.
The moral of the story? Don’t let fear drive your actions. Until proven otherwise, always entertain the possibility that your fear may be unfounded. It’s rather surprising how often that’s the case.