An interesting sight at Heathrow today, on the way to a workshop in Poland, was a 21st century shoe-shine stand. I thought this was a nice example of how you can take an old-fashioned category and rejuvenate it.
1. Pick the right market
The best markets to rejuvenate are ones where there is still an underlying consumer need, but the delivery of the service or product needs a re-vamp. My guess is that there are still plenty of people, especially business folk, who'd like a shoe-shine. It even taps into a trend of people wanting to be pampered.
2. Use new routes to consumer
Most shoe-shine places I can think of are inside posh hotels. Using airports seems a smart move, as people have time to kill, and a shoe-shine takes only 5 minutes3. Re-vamp the service
I immediately noticed a couple of nice touches that brought the shoe-shine up to date. First, there was a selection of mens' magazines to read. Second, there was a phone charger to give you mobile a quick squirt of power.
4. Price it right
The shoe-shine was £5 a go, which felt to me cheap enough to get me to try it without thinking too hard.
Net, before you give up on a market you operate and decide its doomed to die, see if you can't do a shoe-shine job on it.