Doug Stephens Talks Reengineering Retail

Doug Stephens Talks Reengineering Retail

Doug Stephens Talks Reengineering Retail 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

As founder of Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens, is one of retail’s top global influencers and futurists. He’s advised many of the best-known retail brands both domestically and internationally, serves an instrumental speaker at some of our industry’s most well known events, and has authored now two ground breaking books exploring the future of retail and consumerism. We’re lucky to consider him an impressionable partner and colleague of ours, and recently sat down with him to discuss his upcoming book Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post Digital World.

What is your new book about?

The book outlines how retail, as we’ve known it, is essentially over and done. It looks at the future of both online and physical stores and how, compared to what we know today, both will be virtually unrecognizable inside a decade. The coming changes in the way we shop online and in-stores will be absolutely mind-blowing.

Moreover, it examines what I see as an inevitable reinvention of the core economic model for revenue and profit in the retail industry and the end of the wholesale to retail operating model. Even the relationship between retailers and their suppliers will be totally rewritten.

Lastly, it provides retail executives with a series of steps they can actually take to effectively innovate and adapt to meet this future. Knowing what’s likely to happen is of little use if you don’t do anything about it.

How did you come up with the idea?

I’ve always hated the term “omni-channel” and felt that it was an oversimplification of what was really going on – something that was much more complex, historic and significant.

What is it about retail that gets you excited or inspired?

The anthropology of shopping interests me tremendously. I believe that how we shop is ultimately a very clear expression of who we are as a society. Retail is a very accurate mirror of our culture and values at any given point in history.

I also love the theatre of truly outstanding retail. When it’s done well it’s no different than a brilliantly performed stage play. It’s rare for retailers to achieve but when it happens it’s magic.

But above all, I’m encouraged and excited to see retail once again becoming the chosen path for really bright, talented entrepreneurs, engineers and creatives! The industry is going through a true renaissance period.

What sort of research did you conduct to write this book?

The book is the culmination of about 4 years of research to develop a point of view on the future. I also spoke with innovators and entrepreneurs who are actually out there reengineering the future of retail. It contains a ton of facts but also attempts to go beyond by weaving them into a story that anyone who has any connection to retail will be able to wrap their arms around.

What is the main takeaway for readers?

My goal is for readers to not only develop a keener sense of how the retail market is completely transforming and why but also to gain a new level of confidence in their understanding of what they and their companies can do to evolve with it. It’s not about guessing at the future we get. It’s about understanding what’s going on and having the courage to engineer the future you want!

Ultimately I want readers to see that retail isn’t dead, it’s just shedding its skin. The future is very, very bright.

How is this book different than your previous publications?

I’ve taken risks with this book in terms of the projections. Some will likely be seen as pretty contentious. But it was important to me to take a very clearly defined position on the future. I think that brands that play it safe will ultimately fail, so with that in mind I felt it was equally important for me to articulate a very defined and bold position on where retail is headed.

I was honored to have Joseph Pine contribute the foreword for the book. Joe wrote a groundbreaking book in 1999 called The Experience Economy. It was really ahead of its time and reading it completely changed my entire outlook on marketing and retail. Having him contribute to Reengineering Retail really closed the loop for me on almost 20 years of my life in retail.

Click here to order your copy of Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World.

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