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Aaron Shapiro, CEO of digital agency HUGE, recently penned a business book about the importance of adapting to the digital age to avoid commercial collapse. To make the results of failing to take Users Not Customers to heart more tangible, Shapiro hired erstwhile book peddlers who experienced firsthand the consequences of not heeding his advice: Former Borders employees. On his site, Shapiro writes:
From Tuesday, November 1 to Thursday, November 3, a group of former Borders employees will be operating a mobile bookstore at multiple locations throughout Manhattan to emphasize the importance of the lessons taught in my book, the only one they’re selling.
fter liquidating its remaining 399 stores, Borders laid off some 11,000 employees. Shapiro believes it didn’t have to end this way for Ann Arbor-based retailer. Shapiro says Borders waited too long to launch its online book-selling business, and once it had, did everything wrong. By early 2011, hardcopy sales via Borders.com “accounted for less than 3 percent of Borders’ revenue.” To compare, nearly half of all retail purchases currently conducted in the US is “either influenced by or transacted on the Internet,” according to Forrester Research. Businesses must prioritize online customers — or “users” — “above all else,” says Shapiro. “They must research the needs of their users and then use these insights to guide everything from product development to marketing, sales, and customer service.”