Amazon’s impact on retailers’ business has brought out the worst in their behavior. The instinct of big box retailers is to quickly imitate their competitors. If you want to know why the retail landscape looks so similar it’s because any new idea is sucked into an industry which systematically copies its rivals. Attempting to imitate Amazon has made them crazy—it’s more costly than they thought, and while some upside exists, it has taken them far away from their core.

Sure, establishing an omni-channel benefit and a better store experience would help them more effectively compete against Amazon and others, but that effort is limited. Most consumers simply say ‘I want a great value on the product I want’. This makes price and selection far above other benefits of service (or presentation). Walmart knows this. Big box retailers should never cede a strong price/value posture, if they want to maintain strength in what matters to consumers.

This unfortunately conflicts with years of quickly copying their competitors. But the strongest bricks and mortar retailers today are those that get behind promoting a strong value proposition—and some aren’t so pretty or easy to shop.