Of course, [execution] still matters, but the revolution of the web means that the way you go to market, the structure of your offering, the model of your business–these are sufficient to cause you to lose, regardless of how you play the game. (And able to give you a huge post if you plan right).
Sam Walton was a huge success, largely because he developed a new retail strategy, not because he was better at running a store than anyone else. Local bookstores are in trouble, not because they don’t work hard or care a lot, but because they are saddled with expenses that used to be smart (rent for a local storefront) in a world where they are merely ballast.
Not changing your strategy merely because you’re used to the one you have now is a lousy strategy.
While the web has been around for decades now, and the (usable) mobile web is coming up on half a decade, the vast majority of companies out there are giant ocean liners, taking far too long to turn their strategy.
Just making a mobile app to extend your business isn’t enough. Sure, Walmart can make a mobile app today that lists all their online shopping items, but that’s the lazy approach – extending your business to the web and mobile.
The question to ask is how you can use technology to transform the shopping experience. Apple did it in their retail stores by allowing customers to checkout with their phones.
Disruption in the coming decades won’t come from your established competitors out-executing you. They’ll come from companies that don’t exist. That think mobile first, and completely transform the shopping experience. They’ll never even take on costs that older businesses saw as a benefit.