Change is inevitable, and at times it may come with a rude awakening. It is unbelievable to hear that the companies that were once the talk of the town are no more. Have you ever loved a certain brand and see it disappear? It’s hard to believe, and you may find yourself in possession of their goods after a decade of their fall. The love for the brand and difficulty to come to terms with reality can make you do wonders.
That’s exactly what happened in the last decade to the companies we are going to review. Consider the pioneer of video rental, Blockbuster. Since Netflix came on board, they have seen their fortunes shrink. Eventually, in 2014, Blockbuster went bankrupt. The same story applies to the vine. The service was closed down in 2017. As Twitter changed the way they operated, and videos became popular on Facebook, vine’s business continued to nosedive. Same script, different actors.
It’s not cheering news, but these are stories of companies that could not match the competition. They did not innovate to meet the present-day demands of the marketplace. They went the way of dinosaurs. If there were a lesson to take away from these brands, it is that there is no such thing as “too big to fail.” In our list of 11 Companies Lost in The Last Decade, we discover that many factors can make popular brands go belly up. A trend among these is stiff competition and lack of innovation.
1. The Borders Group
It’s easy to believe that the disappearance of the bookstore chain Borders is due to Amazon’s rise. This is not totally true. Brick-and-mortar stores faced problems for years as customers moved a
way from the book Megastore model.
Borders invested in elegant infrastructure and a great assortment of DVDs and gifts. Unfortunately, customers had started forming new buying habits. Customers were beginning to fall in love with online book purchases. It outsourced an aspect of its orders to Amazon, thereby losing some customers directly to Amazon.
By December 2010, it got into debt and later filed for bankruptcy.
Blockbuster was the bride of all movie lovers. Viewers could be seen flocking to the aisles of their local Blockbuster. However, the company’s business model was rendered ineffective by the emergence of some tech developments. Blockbuster joins the list of 11 Companies We Lost in The Last Decade. Blockbuster blossomed in the era when VHS cassettes were common. Their fortunes crashed when studios began releasing DVDs as retail products for direct sale.
Blockbuster’s former CEO, John Antioco, attempted to give Netflix a run for their money by introducing an online business model. He also waved late fees. He did not succeed and had to bow to pressure from investors to resign. Dish Network acquired Blockbuster in 2011 and closed all Blockbuster’s locations but one.
Grooveshark is the pet project of three undergraduates of the University of Florida. It launched as an online service that allowed listeners to listen to thousands of songs for free. Along the line, copyright lawsuits were filed against it, and it did not survive the onslaughts.
At a point, Grooveshark had up to 35 million subscribers. The owners failed to take precautionary measures against users who would want to upload copyrighted music on the platform. This eventually spelled their doom in 2015. Some of the companies who sued Grooveshark include Sony Music, EMI Music, and others.
The sidecar was founded in 2011 in San Francisco. The company failed to find a way to compete profitably with Uber and Lyft. It was mostly operational in 10 domestic cities around California. Sidecar closed operations in 2015, and in 2016, General Motors acquired some of its assets.
5. The Sports Authority
The Sports Authority was a household name for sporting gear in the 1990s. At its peak, the company operated 460 stores in 45 states. Years of mismanagement and fierce competition from Dick’s Sporting Goods caused the company to file for bankruptcy. As a result, all 460 stores were closed in 2016.
In 2013, Vine was a Popular video-sharing platform among teenagers and young adults. Vine enjoyed strong initial adoption in the creative community. However, they failed to keep up with competition as other social media platforms began to spring up with improved services.
In late 2012, Snapchat introduced video to its users. Less than a year later, Instagram followed suit with its own version. In 2016, Twitter announced that it will end all uploads to Vine.
Before the advent of Best Buy and Amazon, RadioShack was the place to buy all electronics. RadioShack was synonymous with Walkman, boomboxes, transistors, and so on. In its heyday, RadioShack boasted of 4500 stores across the country. The company’s fortunes began to nosedive in the early 2000s. Amazon sold tech products cheaper than RadioShack and sent them directly to customers.
While this happened, the company was mismanaged. By 2017, it had gone bankrupt twice in two years.
8. Toys ‘R’ Us
Toys ‘R’ Us was the home of toys in the United States for decades. Most children born before the year 2000 would have stories to tell about trips this company to purchase toys on weekends. They anxiously looked forward to weekend trips to Toys ‘R’ Us.
By the early year 2000, the company faced stiff competition from Walmart and Target. Then Amazon came around and took the market from them all. Also, the popularity of smartphones altered the play habits of children. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019.
9. Payless Shoe source
Payless used to be one of the largest shoe retailers in the United States. It sold cheap shoes and allowed customers to shop for their shoes themselves. The late 2000s saw a change in customer buying trends. Customers prefer to shop for shoes online, especially as they could return them promptly if they had any complaints.
The cost of producing sneakers increased, and Target became a key destination for cheap footwear. Payless filed for bankruptcy in 2019. At the time, it had over 2,500 stores.
10. Wow Air
In 2019, Wow air was the latest culprit in a series of European airlines that had to stop operations because they were no longer profitable. Wow, Air was founded in 2011 and was determined to cause a stir in transatlantic travel. By 2018, it carried 3.5 million passengers. It charged less than $200 for long-distance flights.
Rapid growth, low margins, and stiff competition from other airlines landed them in debt. In March 2019, Wow Air filed for bankruptcy.
Fred’s was popular for its pharmacy operations. It faced stiff competition from Target and Walmart as they introduced pharmacies in their stores. By September 2019, Fred’s filed for bankruptcy. At this point, they had up to 568 stores in 15 states.