Contact Doug For Booking

Doug Stephens

The pandemic transformed shopping forever, but if retailers can adapt, they'll survive—and thrive

Retail and Consumer Futurist | Internationally Acclaimed Author and Founder of Retail Prophet

Contact Doug For Booking
Doug Stephens | Retail and Consumer Futurist | Internationally Acclaimed Author and Founder of Retail Prophet
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Is retail over? Did the pandemic lead to the end of brick and mortar stores? Not so fast, says DOUG STEPHENS, bestselling author and founder of the global consultancy Retail Prophet. While it may not look like it used to, retail is here to stay, and customers still crave a physical—and more emotional—retail experience. The real key for business success will be learning to understand the entirely new set of social norms, behaviors, and competitive threats that the pandemic created. Doug will show you how to identify and take advantage of these trends, preparing your business to enter a “narrow but crucial window of opportunity for brands with courage.” His savvy, dynamic, and highly engaging insights will teach you how to recognize patterns, see the big picture, and lean into the fact that we’re not going back to how it used to be.

“Prophetic, inspiring and entertaining. [Doug] paints a clear picture of the post COVID world we are entering and how retailers must adapt to thrive.”

— Ian McMilan, Global Retail Marketing Lead, Nike

As the Founder of global consultancy Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens has made a name for himself as one of the world’s leading retail and consumer futurists, and as a top global retail influencer. His work has influenced the most widely known international retailers, agencies, and brands in the world, including Walmart, Google, Estée Lauder, BMW, Disney, and LVMH. Doug helps these organizations understand how trends in demographics, global economics, AI, and media are constantly altering the relationship between consumers and brands. In a world where consumers are now empowered with technology—becoming experts in their own right—we have to learn from buyers (and browsers) to ensure that we look forward, not backward, when it comes to innovative retail strategies. Doug’s insights will leave you entertained, enlightened, and inspired to put his wisdom into action. 


Doug’s books have always been at the cutting edge of what comes next and what we need to know now to succeed tomorrow. The Retail Revival and Reengineering Retail accurately predicted the transformation of retail in the post-digital world. His latest release is even more timely—Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business in a Post-Pandemic World is an essential road map for how the retail industry will transform in the aftermath of the pandemic and how retail and consumer behaviors will change forever. Doug details how consumers deal with crisis, how to succeed in an unstable marketplace, and how to figure out which habits we formed during the pandemic are here to stay. Resurrecting Retail “clears the fog around a post-pandemic retail landscape, and shines a spotlight on resilient retailers who will find a way to thrive in it” (Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify).


Before founding Retail Prophet, Doug spent over 20 years in retail, holding senior international leadership roles. Doug is the author of three internationally bestselling books: Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business in a Post Pandemic World (2021), Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World (2017) and The Retail Revival:  Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism (2013). He sits on multiple corporate and academic advisory boards. His unique and prophetic perspectives on retail, business, and consumer behavior have been featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, the BBC, and Fast Company. As a business journalist, Doug’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Fortune, Business Insider, and Business of Fashion.




“Doug was great – our dry run and event day were a bit chaotic but he was so laid back and rolled with it. The presentation went off without any technical issues and the content he shared was spot on! He was the perfect addition to the day! Ten out of ten – all the gold stars!”


“Doug was amazing! He was definitely a highlight of the Fashion Forum. The entire room was completely engaged for the whole hour, and he was a pleasure to deal with onsite. We’d have no issue in recommending Doug to any other organisations looking for a professional, engaging and informative keynote speaker.”

Government, City of Melbourne

“Many speakers say they will tailor their comments, but it’s the exception that I work with someone who actually does. Doug Stephens was definitely the perfect kickoff to our conference. He easily picked up on the challenges facing our stores, and not only gave them insight, but inspired them to act. His style is completely engaging, and his content just what we need. We couldn’t have asked for anything better!”

National Association of College Stores

“Doug Stephens was such a phenomenal speaker and very engaging. He customized his presentation to our audience and we received nothing but great feedback.”

Neighborhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

“I felt that was the most compelling presentation by far, maybe the most compelling I've ever seen at a marketing conference.”

Customer Relationship Management Conference (CRMC)

“Just wanted to follow up after a great webinar yesterday. Please let Doug know we were super pleased with how it went, with some employees of the company mentioning this was one of our best webinars. We thought Doug’s content was excellent, and his slides very engaging.”

Vision Critical

“On behalf of Cineplex Digital Media, I wanted to thank you for your excellent presentation on Thursday. Your insights on the future of retail and the opportunities that lie ahead were inspirational for myself and our employees. I've heard nothing but positive feedback, with many of our employees commenting that your presentation was the highlight of our meeting.”

Cineplex Digital Media

“As our committee reviewed a variety of speakers this year, Douglas immediately stood out from the others from the first video I saw of him presenting. Not only did he seem to be exceptionally knowledgeable about a range of highly relevant business topics, he seemed to be genuine, and, an entertaining speaker! All of these first impressions turned out to be completely accurate. Douglas was beyond good; he blew us away!”

GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions®

“Douglas immediately stood out from the first video I saw of him presenting. Not only did he seem to be exceptionally knowledgeable about a range of highly relevant business topics, he seemed to be genuine, and, an entertaining speaker! All of these first impressions turned out to be completely accurate. Douglas was beyond good; he blew us away! Douglas was available several months ahead to speak with us to understand our business, and customize elements to the presentation to us and our industry. No matter what business or service you are in, your organization will be better for hearing what Douglas has to say!”

GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions

“An outstanding discussion this morning. Best executive series I’ve attended. Thank you for sharing.”

SVP Global Processes, Walmart Inc.

“Your contribution to our conference was immeasurable and by far the most well received presentation.”

Reed Exhibitions Australia

“I just wanted to share with you that the feedback I got from Intel is that Doug was fantastic! It was clear that the extensive amount of time he spent on the phone with them, and in his own research and preparation, made a real difference. They found the engaging, upbeat nature of Doug’s talk and content to be the perfect close for this weary group of conference-goers. And for the icing on the cake, Terry shared with me that he found Doug to be a heck of a nice guy, very humble and genuine. Not sure I can think of a nicer compliment.”


“Doug’s passion for retailing and connection with consumer trends, attitudes and behaviors brought a fresh perspective and energy to Citi Retail Services annual leadership conference. We valued his willingness to push the boundaries on how retailers can better serve their customers and how our company could be a strong partner in ensuring their success.”


“Thank you for delivering such a thought provoking and engaging speech! Both the chain executives and suppliers raved about it!”

Connecting Point Marketing Group

“Doug recently presented at a product launch for leaders in the retail world. Doug’s presentation was relevant, funny and eye-opening. The audience was captivated.”

TD Bank

“Doug Stephens’ keynote delivery and the insight he shared with our audience was dynamic, bold, thought-provoking, relevant and an ultimately fascinating experience. He’s an inspiring and forward-thinking presenter.”


“You were the talk of the evening with all agents realizing that change is inevitable. You hit the key points which forced all of them to look in the mirror and ultimately adjust moving forward.”


“Doug’s presentation was one of the highlights of our recent Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit. He loaded it with historical detail and context, and delivered it with confidence and style. He’s also an expert panel moderator. It has always been a pleasure and a privilege working with him, and I look forward to many more years of doing so.”

Retail Customer Experience

“Doug was invited to speak as part of our program. Doug’s was one of the most talked about presentations. He was engaging and the information he presented was fresh and insightful. I would highly recommend Doug as a speaker.”

North American Retail Hardware Association

“You did an excellent presentation, and one of my colleagues said you were the best futurist he’s seen…high praise since many of us see a lot of sessions and speakers!”


Speech Topics

The Future of Retail Navigating Through a Post-Pandemic World

In the annals of retail history the coronavirus pandemic will be a permanent mile marker, remembered for generations to come. Companies in all sectors will point to this unprecedented time as the moment everything changed. The moment that every market, industry, vertical, profession, and category of product or service would, in some way, be shifted off its axis—and for the first time in recorded history, every wheel, cog, and gear in the global retail machine would grind to a virtual halt.


Bestselling author and Founder of the global consultancy Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens provides an incisive look into the future of retail in a post-COVID-19 world. How will behaviors at consumer, staff, and executive levels be forever changed? What does this all mean for the future of physical retail? How will digital commerce evolve to meet our new realities? How will global supply chains adapt? The most critical questions for retail will be tackled in this fast-paced and gripping talk, led by one of the industry’s foremost experts.


The Metaverse The New Digital Frontier
The metaverse - an evolving collective, persistent, parallel reality will fundamentally transform how we shop. This new digital universe consists of connected and interoperable worlds, brought to life by technologies including augmented and virtual reality, with commercial activity underpinned by the blockchain. It has the potential to alter more than just our consumer habits—it could change our entire way of living.  
In this highly engaging and visual talk, global retail expert Doug Stephens sheds light on what the metaverse is, who is building it, how consumers will engage with it and above all, the unprecedented commercial opportunities it presents for brands and retailers across categories. 
Retailing in the Metaverse

The Metaverse is coming: it’s a parallel and immersive digital reality comprised of interconnected worlds and technologies, and it’s set to completely redefine how we work, communicate, entertain and shop.  While still years away from its full potential, today’s astute brands are making already early bets on the importance of the Metaverse and its technological revolution.  Based on first-hand conversations with the companies and individuals leading that revolution, Stephens provides incisive insight into how the Metaverse will shape entirely new consumer experiences, retail revenue streams, and business practices. This talk is essential for any retailer looking to lead their organization into this new reality. 


Leading Through Crisis Lessons From the Frontlines of Disaster

There has been, perhaps no other time in modern history when so much hinged on effective leadership and communication. In times like these, steady-handed leadership is the only thing that sits between strategic cohesiveness and organizational chaos. And yet the pandemic has also show us how few leaders truly rise to the occasion when the moment demands it. And with Black Swan events becoming ever more frequent, the question is how can leaders hone a new level of skill and effectiveness in preparation for the next crisis?


In this fascinating new talk, Doug Stephens lays out the 4 key principles of effective leadership through any crisis, including COVID-19. Filled with examples from both the current and previous global crises, we show you the surprising secrets of the world’s most effective leaders.

The Most Important Metric in Retail Making Sense of the Next Decade of Consumption
In a world where consumption is increasingly moving online—and the lines between digital and physical are blurring—how should the performance of physical stores be measured? In his 2017 book Reengineering Retail, acclaimed futurist and author Doug Stephens argued that the industrial-era metrics tell an incomplete story of a physical location’s value. Simply put, in a multi-channel world, we cannot rely on traditional sales data to help us evaluate our store’s performance.
There is, however, a more relevant metric we can go by—one which Stephens believes will be the only metric that matters in the near future: the media value. Stores have become  “the most manageable, tangible, and measurable media channel available to a brand,” Stephens says. “Unlike digital media where the consumer’s true level of interest or engagement can be debatable, a physical store can validate the consumer’s actual physical presence and participation in the experience. We can connect directly and intimately with them. And, increasingly, we can measure the causal outcome of that physical experience.”
Join Stephens as he shares a compelling vision of the future of retail, the changing nature and value of both physical and digital retail, and the one metric that will define success.
Reengineering Retail The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World

Join author and internationally renowned consumer futurist Doug Stephens for an amazing tour of the future, where every aspect of the retail experience as we know it will be radically transformed.


Since the release of Doug Stephens’ first best-selling book The Retail Revival, change in the global retail sector has accelerated beyond even the boldest forecasts. As predicted, online giants like Amazon and are growing at a dizzying pace. Hundreds of well-known brick and mortar retailers have closed their doors, and brands and retailers across categories are struggling to understand the shifting needs and expectations of a new consumer. Stephens will show you that this is only the beginning. From online to bricks and mortar, the very concept of what stores are, how consumers shop them, and even the core economic model for revenue will be profoundly reinvented. Changes are sure to affect not only retailers large and small but any business with a stake in the global retail industry.


Drawing on research from his new book, Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World, Stephens will share actionable strategies that will separate the winners and losers in the market and show you what smart brands and retailers are doing today to secure their place in the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s consumer.

Workshops & Interactive
What’s In-Store?

Doug Stephens is an expert on retail business strategy, and he brings his wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge to your company in this highly customizable keynote and workshop. What are the latest retail trends within your industry or category? How are demographic and technological shifts affecting your customer base? What can your company do to stay ahead of the curve? To help your company excel in the ultra-competitive realm of retail, manufacturing or consumer packaged goods, Stephens is constantly collecting data and case studies—in a variety of fields—to give you strategies that are broad in scope, yet focused in purpose.

Millennial and Gen Z Shoppers Connecting with a New Generation of Consumers

Millennials are now the largest single generational segment on the planet. Their spending will exceed that of Baby Boomers, representing unprecedented opportunities for brands that adapt and innovate to engage them—and an existential threat to those that don’t.  The new generation of Generation Z shoppers, on the other hand, spend less, and they have other surprising habits: they prefer to shop in-store and are less likely to shop online than millenials or boomers.

In this unique and dynamic take on Millennial and Gen Z shoppers, Doug Stephens delivers cutting edge insight into these two generations, their economic reality, social needs, their specific traits and preferences, as well as the surprising essence of their relationships with brands. Stephens also shares the broad generalizations about Millennial and Gen Z consumers that brands would be wise to avoid. This enlightening and unconventional keynote is a must-see for business leaders looking to connect with two vitally important generations of consumers.

Big Data and the Retail Revolution

90 percent of the data that exists today was created within the last two years. And while the sheer volume and velocity of data is definitely astonishing, what’s even more compelling is our growing capacity to gather, analyze, and make sense of it all. From social media streams, videos, and reviews to weather, traffic, and machine-to-machine communication, each day a virtual universe of data is being created. Smart brands are honing their understanding of that data and its potential impact on every aspect of their customer’s experience with their brand. This talk will provide a clear view into the future of retail by examining this new and amazing data deluge, and how pioneering brands around the world are turning it into a new world of opportunity.

The Future of Consumerism

In this fascinating talk, Doug Stephens tackles the future of consumerism. He sheds light on the key shifts in economics, demographics, technology, and media that are completely transforming the consumer landscape, and the very essence of how we buy. Who the consumer is, in addition to how, where, and even why they shop, is changing rapidly and forever. The way our stores look—and how we interact with them—are constantly in flux. Mobile technology, social commerce, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, virtual reality, big data, and a deluge of developing technologies are all conspiring to forever change how we buy. How do we cope with all these transformations? Stephens shares what smart brands are doing today to re-imagine their businesses and capitalize on these historic changes.

Lessons from the World’s Most Innovative Companies
In a world where mediocre will no longer cut it, what are the common strengths that the world’s most dominant brands bring to market? How exactly do top companies innovate to create uncontested market space? Most importantly, what pitfalls do great innovators avoid that most others fall prey to? Referencing years of research, this inspiring talk examines the surprising links between the world’s most successful businesses and provides actionable ideas and steps to emulate their success. It’s an uplifting and mind-expanding peek into the realm of radical innovation and strategy.