“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.” - Terrance Mann, Field of Dreams
With all due respect to Mr. Mann, retailing has also been a constant through the years; even longer than baseball. And every day, retailers hope people find a reason to come to their store and shop. But beyond trying to entice people to a mall in the middle of Iowa, a mom-and-pop at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard, or an online site – this is not where the similarities between baseball and retail end.
The true “constant” through all the years is change. At its core, baseball is still the same game that began in the mid-1800’s, but the game has continued to evolve over time, and Major League Baseball, especially over the last decade or so, has worked to make changes to keep the game exciting and relevant for today’s consumer. Sometimes the changes have worked and stuck, others have failed and forgotten. As Hank Aaron said, “Failure is a part of success.”
However, if you look at what’s going on to improve the game of baseball, you will see strong parallels with what’s going on in the game of retail.