Canadian Doug Stephens, founder of "Retail Prophet” is the author of this groundbreaking new book.
I read the retail futurist’s book, The Retail Revival, soon after it was released in February 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a sobering wake-up call for all retail professionals and offers them prescriptions for what to focus on in order to profit from the current and coming chaos. Part of the book’s appeal is that the discussion isn’t restricted to a narrow definition of retail. Instead, it looks at the topic from a broad category perspective. Best of all, the book appeals to the consumer in all of us.
Retail Revival starts off with a historical assessment of the shaping forces in retail as well as perspectives on how massive demographic, economic and media disruptions are thrusting a once predictable industry into a vortex of change.
Historically known for being laggards in the face of technological change (especially when compared to other industry segments) the retail industry is undergoing a complete metamorphosis – albeit somewhat involuntary in many cases. Stephens explains how some retailers are embracing the change opportunities while others blindly absorb the ripples of change. Laggards invest (sometimes unconsciously) much of their energy in reactive competitive moves or plain old inertia.
Forward thinking retailers place the customer at the heart of their differentiated value propositions while others continue to muddle through with strategies of bygone eras. Stephens emphasizes that companies that don’t adapt to the disruptions will become extinct whereas companies that adapt will grow and thrive.|
The retailer’s choice is clear: evolve to a model of true customer centricity or accelerate the rate at which you become a fossil.
Stephens discusses several “fossilized case studies” throughout his book. In a recent blog post, he takes a position on J.C.Penney – the troubled U.S. retailer. Read “Is It Time To Let The Troubled Retailer Die?”
In the first part of Retail Revival, much of the historical lessons are North American, primarily U.S. and Canadian examples. However, in the near term future of an industry in transition, Stephens features several worldly examples ranging from the U.K., Germany, South Korea and many other countries. In the end, the book is well balanced in its diversity of case study examples.|
Location, Location, Location
Especially compelling is Stephen’s argument that the future of retail shouldn’t be thought of in polarizing terms of online or brick-and-mortar worlds but rather at the intersection of where the current or future customer is. Opportunity rewards retailers who respond with contextually compelling offers - when and where - the customer most wants them.
Related Blog Posts
IDC describes this modern group of consumers as the value-savvy Five-I shoppers who are:|
- Instrumented with mobile devices,
- Informed with access to the Internet on their devices,
- Interconnected in social communities,
- In-place always in stores or wherever else the shoppers might be, and
- Immediate in their ability to take action.
Social media and technology will obviously play a big role in retailer transformation. Those with a deep understanding of customer demographics and real time analytics will design personalized and frictionless paths to purchase and will be rewarded with sales AND positive social reference. Connectivity will obviously be at the intersection of these worlds.
Customer Analytics Gains Traction in 2013 via Retail Info Systems [infographic]
In the new age of consumerism, the world is now your store. Doug Stephens
Source: The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism | page 185
Bridge to The Future
If you opt to read the printed version of the book, you can still benefit from video interludes opportunities as these are sprinkled throughout the book. Using the QR code reader on your smart device (I happen to like i-nigma), simply scan the QR code in context within a chapter and you’ll quickly be taken from traditional media to digital media.
My 3 Retail Revival favorites are:
1) US Postal Service “Hacked” Ad
2) The Third Shelf: Retail Speaker Doug Stephens
3) Mobile 3.0 Explained: Retail Speaker Doug Stephens
Through the use of QR codes, Stephens effectively creates a bridge between print and digital.
The New Moon Race: Personalization and Community
Retail Revival includes several examples of current and future technologies that will completely change the way we shop. Many of the examples showcased in Retail Revival are also featured by springwise.com in Top ten Retail articles from the last 12 months.
Forward thinking retailers will transform - not just evolve their business models. As IDC puts it, the winners will have a “whole-person understanding of each customer before, during, and beyond each shopping journey to purchase”*. Imagine a not so distant future where your shopping cart lives on in time, across devices, from online to mobile; and from store to social community.
Liquid & Linked
In a world that rewards velocity, retailers would be wise to heed Bruce Lee’s advice of “be like water”. To that end, Stephens’ book provides retailers with advice on how to capitalize from historical shifts, focus on what matters and how to profit from the current and emerging changes. Any business eager to remain competitive or one that dares to trail blaze should assign this book as mandatory reading.
As for the consumer in all of us, Retail Revival will further awaken each of us to the burgeoning power of association and the transformation of the shopping experience on our terms.
- More information about the book and where to find it
- Book Excerpt via RetailCustomerExperience.com
- Why Retail Matters by Laura Heller via Forbes
- Accenture Retail Research: Insights into Millennial Shopping Behavior Patterns includes 3 videos about millennial shopping myths
- 23rd Annual Retail Technology Study  via RIS News
- Why retailers embrace cloud for Wi-Fi access, PCI and wireless security | blog post by Hemant Chaskar
- To Shop or Not To Shop? | In-store Wi-Fi Is The Answer To That Question | blog post by Lina Arseneault
- Case Studies: PinkBerry, Noodles and Company, and Garden Fresh
- Follow Doug Stephen on Twitter
- Follow AirTight Networks on Twitter
- Contact Lina Arseneault
- RSR Research and AirTight Discuss the Benefits of In-store Wi-Fi [webinar] Wi-Fi as a Competitive Retail Advantage | Date: April 30,2013 Time: 11 AM Pacific | Register for the webinar