Union truck drivers got squeezed by independent operators with their own trucks that could do it cheaper, faster, maybe not as safe, but certainly cheaper.
Big box stores got squeezed by Amazon, EBay and other digital sellers to the tune of $6.6 billion dollars on Cyber Monday 2017. $2 billion of this was done on mobile devices. 75% of millenniums shopped on their smart phones than on computers.
How did all this happen?
IMHO, any business, that does not clearly differentiate itself is open to the Uber drivers, private truck drivers, digital warlords and others just waiting to take a piece of your pie. If it can be done better, faster and cheaper, solve a problem or enhance a pleasure, you’re open to get hit.
If you’re in this non differentiated market (“one bowling center is just like the next,” says a potential customer), than the customer hasn’t made the mental connection of why you’re difference means “a better experience” and why he should bowl at your place vs. down the street. If he doesn’t have this information, he will then make his decision on the only variable he knows. Price. And that is not good for anyone, because it’s a race to the bottom.
And it happens simply because you haven’t differentiated yourself well enough to create the “buying emotion.”
Maybe that’s why some proprietors are moving away from what they thought was a non-differentiated commodity business to a business that they can prove is different to the end user…the taking out of lanes and adding other streams of revenue. And so begins the serious process of rebranding their “bowling alley” using a metaphor for something cool, like Hi Jinx Fun, Club 21, or Brigham’s or Pin something ______ (fill in the blank if you want.)
It is possible in years to come, the market may reverse course and people will be differentiating themselves by saying, “We only do bowling. And we do it better than anyone.” Interesting times.