Book Review: The Retail Revival

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A guest blog post by Lina Arseneault, Senior Director of Marketing at AirTight Networks

Canadian Doug Stephens, founder of “Retail Prophet” is the author of the groundbreaking book, The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism.  I read the retail futurist’s book 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.

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.

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?”

Stephens emphasizes that companies that don’t adapt to the disruptions will become extinct whereas companies that adapt will grow and thrive.

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.

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 in Top ten Retail articles from the last 12 months.

“In the new age of consumerism, the world is now your store.” Doug Stephens

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.

Additional Information:

More information about the Retail Revival book and where to find it

Why Retail Matters by Laura Heller via Forbes

Local Retail Won’t Disappear — Mobile Will Transform the In-Store Experience by Steven Jacobs

The Future of The Retail Store by Doug Stephens

Follow Doug Stephen on Twitter

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