Douglas & McIntyre

Interview Details

Albert C Plant

Albert C Plant

September 2007

We asked Albert Plant, author of The Retail Game, to give us some advice on how to run a successful business. Here's what he had to say:

I attended a strategic planning session in Boston in 1976. I remember only the first three of a number of ďstrategic truths.Ē Since then, I have adopted a total of ten good rules that I refer to as ďThe Rules of the Game.Ē Looking back over thirty-six years of retailing, I am satisfied that the rules of the game donít change. Here they are:

  1. Being in the right business at the right time is 80 per cent of the reasons for its success. The other 20 per cent is good management and dumb luck.
  2. The law of the strongest is the best. Itís not bigness that wins; itís the market dominance of an idea, a product line or a needed service.
  3. All strategies eventually fail. Itís not the bright idea that lasts, itís the constant adaptation and reinvention of the idea that survives. This is the ultimate catalyst for innovation.
  4. If youíre not keeping score, youíre only practising. Itís not the top line that countsóitís all the lines. Measure everything that drives success, and then improve on the numbers.
  5. Itís not the ďwhatĒ; itís the ďwho.Ē Itís not markets, technology, competition or products; itís one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.
  6. Loyalty is caught, not bought. Itís not cards, points or miles; the deepest loyalty just forgives and comes back. Loyalty drives consumer equity and enterprise value.
  7. ďConsumers are statistics; customers are peopleĒ (Stanley Marcus). Itís not statistical research that matters, itís listening to consumers and customers that counts.
  8. Location, location, location. Itís not about the store site, itís what you do to get people to come to you, whether you are selling from a store, a website, or a brochure or catalogue.
  9. The customer is always right. Itís not a detail of the shopping experience: customer respect is central to success.
  10. If the customer is wrong, return to Rule no. 9.
Douglas & McIntyre Marketing, Sep 15, 2007
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