beyond the big box | March 19, 2012

Shopping: Anywhere, All the Time. Doug Stephens on Retail's Future

In Advertising Age this month, Retail Prophet founder Doug Stephens offers insights on how the Big Box model, which has dominated retail since roughly the 1960s, will undergo drastic changes in the near future—and what it will mean for all of us, retailers, suppliers, and consumers alike. Stephens points to several major shifts we're already seeing or which we will see in short order as retailers like Walmart, K-Mart,Target, and others adjust to unprecedented changes in consumer behavior. Some highlights from the article:

From big box to big blanket
Retailers will seek to become ever-present in our lives, to be there the instant we realize we need something or, better yet, before we realize it.

Stores anywhere
Net-A-Porter's launch of its Karl Lagerfeld line was executed using augmented-reality installations whereby consumers could view and transact with a virtual store simply by viewing branded images through their smart devices. There is no reason Target couldn't have a similar virtual store.

Connected appliances
Appliances will take stock of food, laundry items and other household needs, add them automatically to a consumer's shopping list and, if desired, order from the preferred store for home delivery.

Brands as content

Ford, for example, has just announced a collaboration with NBC to produce "Escape Routes," a reality show featuring the Ford Escape. Expect retailers to follow suit.

Serendipitous shopping
As we move through our day, we'll be seamlessly presented with logical product and service recommendations based on everything from our location and activity to the current weather conditions.

Doug Stephens makes it clear brick-and-mortar stores aren't going to disappear, but that the in-store experience will be dramatically different as retailers adapt to web and demographic realities that will force them to create unique branded experiences. Stephens’ entertaining and informative keynotes open eyes to the new retail age, and help audiences see why he's called upon by industry heavyweights such as Walmart and Home Depot to help chart their next moves.

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