Every retail client I ever had doubled as a spy.
Wow. Look at all those SKUs
That is, they all spent time mystery-shopping competitors to see what they had and how they did things. My Sam’s Club clients, for instance, might have spent more time in Costco’s warehouses than their own with the result that their warehouses started to look like Costco’s.
For decades, a cold war-like situation held sway with retailers keeping tabs on each other and reacting quickly. More recently, I’d argue that online retail, particularly that other Seattle-based retailer, has effectively ended the cold war and made it harder for bricks-and-mortar retailers to know what’s going on.
Witness the example of fidget cubes. Where they came from and how they got there speak volumes to the new status quo in retail.