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Price, variety, effort

These are the three things that the value proposition of most e-tailers hinge on.

They are constantly looking to bring down the price of products on offer. They are focused on providing access to a wide variety of brands in every single category that they operate in. With cash on delivery, return policies, published customer reviews, they are making the process of buying things as close to effortless as possible.

And its working.

But that doesn't mean it is the end of traditional retail stores. Sure, they have no chance of competing if their value proposition is focused on the same three things as the e-tailers. But, if they compete on other things. They are still in business.

Supermarkets sell cheap wine and beer. From various labels. And its just another item to pick up while grocery shopping, so there is no extra effort involved. Yet, a lot of people still pay several times the cost at a restaurant or a pub, where the options in terms of variety are likely lower.

The story matters.

If you want to compete on price and proximity, sure, go ahead. You are in business until someone else makes it cheaper and easier to access.

Build a compelling story instead, and people seek you out.

This e-booklet by Seth Godin brings out the argument through a very specific story. That of placebos. 

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