News & Events
Retail Revolution: A Summary of My Talk At Future Connect in Orlando
by Michael Sansolo
It was a simple question and a straightforward answer that in just a few words summed up pretty much everything that’s going on these days. And it’s an answer you need to consider.
Here’s how it happened. Last Monday, I was running a panel discussion on the impact of social media on internal and external communications during a pre-Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Future Connect session. So I posed a simple question to Mark Irby, vice president of marketing for Publix and a member of the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council that produced the social networking study.
The question: How has the social web changed how you do your job?
Irby smiled and turned toward the crowd:
“Oh, it’s only changed everything.”
He went on to explain how the advent of the social web has altered how companies communicate with shoppers, forcing them to listen more, understand the changing nature of value and recognize that today shoppers, not marketers, are in control.
It was a perfect bookend for Future Connect, matched with one of the closing speakers, Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet. In his speech, Stephens talked about the way the world is changing, especially the shifts in the economy, the key changes in demographics and the advent of simple and ubiquitous technologies.
In short, Stephens said, everything has changed. He explained that too many companies continue to changeincrementally, while the world is changing exponentially.
Stephens’ points should not be taken lightly. He talked about how the current economic state isn’t about the Great Recession or even the tepid recovery. Rather, he called this period a “great reset,” with a wide scale remaking of the economic truths of the past 50 years. Middle skills jobs are disappearing, in favor of high- or low-skill, creating great economic inequality and a shrinking middle class.
That economic truth, he said, is why success in retail today is largely coming from companies at the extremes who excel at convenience or high-service offerings and earned customer loyalty. The middle, in contrast, is shrinking, increasingly claiming companies like JC Penney, for example.
In addition the primary demographic trends he cited are the growth of single-person households, the increasing economic power of women and the aging of the population. In all three cases the challenge facing marketers in every field is understanding that the traditional offerings of value, selection and even solutions may be out of sync with tomorrow’s shoppers…and many of today’s.
Lastly he talked about the technological revolution and the incredible speed with which smart phones and mobile technology in general has given customers access to incredible amounts of information, putting them increasingly in greater control of every decision they make. (Kevin made a great point about this yesterday, talking about the stunning acceleration in downloads of apps.)
Stephens’ point (which I believe our social media session also captured) is that the managers and leaders of the future face a far different world than today. The heightened pace of change shows no sign of letting up, meaning the challenges a manager is likely to face and the skills he or she might need in five, 10 or 25 years are going to be very different than current experience allows.
One study Stephens cited spoke of how most school-aged children will likely work in careers that don’t currently exist and that even college freshmen study a significant amount of material that is obsolete by the time they graduate four years later.
Certainly there are countless important lessons from the past and they must be learned. Lessons in customer service, ethics and even history teach us many things about the path forward. But the reality is that tomorrow’s successful companies and leaders will need something entire different.
They will have to be prepared for exactly what Irby said: things changing completely. In a time of revolutionary changes, evolutionary thinking can fall far short of what’s necessary.
Or, as we’ve often said here on MNB: In a time of fundamental change, incremental actions rarely suffice.
Retail Revival Hits #1 Retail Bestseller Spot in Canada
April 8, 2013 Huge thanks go out today to everyone in Canada who propelled The Retail Revival to Amazon.ca’s #1 besteller spot in the “retail” category and #8 among marketing books! I really appreciate all your incredible support and positive feedback!
Marketing Magazine Feature: Reinventing Retail
March 30, 2013 – I spoke with Marketing Magazine’s Kristin Laird recently for a great feature article she was writing on some of the incredible changes taking place in the retail marketplace and what retailers need to do to keep pace with the pace of disruption. If you missed it, you read it here.
dx3 Releases Report on U.S. Retail Invasion of Canada
March 12, 2013 – My friends at Canada’s dx3 conference have released an excellent report documenting the rapid influx of U.S. retailers to the Canadian market. The report provides a remarkably honest look at why it’s happening, why now and what Canadian retailers will need to do to survive the onslaught. You can download the report here
Switzerland Site of European Launch of The Retail Revival
March 8th, 2013 – The extraordinary Culture and Convention Centre in beautiful Lucerne Switzerland was host to the European launch of my new book, The Retail Revival. I had the pleasure of joining a great line-up of speakers and over 1000 of Switzerland’s brightest marketers at Swiss Marketing Day.
The themes that seemed to resonate most deeply with the Swiss audience were the velocity of technological change in the retail landscape and the degree to which many of these same technologies are eradicating businesses and industries that are only average.
It was a great event and a wonderful European launch point for the book!
Canadian Launch of The Retail Revival Taking Place at dx3 Conference
February 14, 2013 – It’s now been confirmed that the official Canadian launch of my new book The Retail Revival will be taking place at Canada’s largest digital conference, dx3 on March 7th at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. What better place to launch a book about the incredible future of retail and consumerism than at a conference surrounded by the people, products and technologies that are building that future!
In addition to a short keynote introduction at and book at 9:30 a.m., my publisher and dx3 will also be holding a signing from 9:45 – 11:45 so, please stop by and say hello.
I’m also happy to be doing live interviews with speakers who will be rounding out the retail content at the show and sitting on a SWAT team for mini-consults with conference attendees!
It’s going to be an action packed day!
Hope to see you there.
Early Praise for the Retail Revival
February 6, 2013 – Really encouraged to see that people I have huge respect for have enjoyed The Retail Revival! Here’s some more early feedback.
Doug Stephens On Canada AM to Discuss Sears and Best Buy Layoffs
February 1, 2013 – I joined Canada AM’s Marci Ien to share some thoughts on Sears and Best Buys’ layoffs of 700 and 900 employees respectively and what I think it will take to turn both companies around.
Check out the full story with video HERE
Early Praise for The Retail Revival
January 28, 2013 – I’ve begun hearing back from those who were given a sneak peak at my new book, The Retail Revival and I’ve been floored and thankful for the positive response! Here’s an example of what people are saying.
Excited to Present at Swiss Marketing Day
November 12, 2012 – Really pumped to be keynoting Swiss Marketing Day on May 5th in Lucerne Switzerland! We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the future of consumerism and the influence of major trends in media and technology.
Retail Prophet joining Citibank panel on mobile payment at the National Retail Federation Big Show
December 20, 2012 – I’ll be on the NRF stage on January 14th, joining Citi Retail Services’ Bill Johnson and The Home Depot’s Dwaine Kimmet to discuss the present and future of the mobile consumer. The session will explore how today’s consumers, armed with phones that function as mobile wallets, price-checking devices and purchasing instruments, are more empowered and self-directed than ever before – and how retailers can enable this trend while containing the impact and cost of these offerings. Learn how integrating payment preferences offers across shopping channels can help retailers find the right balance to meet customer needs, drive retail sales and manage operating costs.
Session details: Monday, 01/14/2013 3:15PM – 4:15PM , Room Hall A, 1A 06-08
I dropped in to CBC Radio to discuss the latest mobile trend – “showrooming”
December 2, 2012 – With the Holiday Shopping Season now upon us, you might be doing something called “Showrooming”. It makes consumers happy but retailers worried and I talked with host Dan Reynish about exactly what “Showrooming” is, and more. Listen Here