What Smaller Retailers Can Learn From Sears' Mistakes [A Q&A with Manta]

Sears owes $4.2 billion, and the debt could be its downfall with The Motley Fool reporting Sears is one of many companies that, "probably won't survive till 2019."

Whether it's online shoppers taking their business elsewhere, the demand for lower prices or any number of trends impacting retail over the years, there are some takeaways businesses of all sizes can learn from. Website Magazine caught up with Manta CEO John Swanciger to get insights into a number of steps small businesses in particular can take to avoid some of Sears' costly mistakes. 

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JS: The greatest mistake Sears made is a major takeaway for small business owners: Never stop evolving. In the digital age, lack of innovation can hinder even the largest corporation's growth. So as your customers' needs and preferences evolve, so must your delivery of goods and services.

How can small businesses continue to assess their respective markets so they remain competitive?

JS: Small business owners should stay on top of industry trends to better understand the competitive landscape and prepare their business for change. Knowing what direction others in your industry are headed provides concrete examples of what to do and what not to do. This is also a great way to better understand customer expectations. For example, Sears' competitor, Amazon, offers convenient and fast shipping on nearly everything, which meets consumers' shifting expectations. This is one example of an opportunity Sears could've capitalized on if it had been more attentive to competitors and customer expectations.