If You Run a Retail Store, You’d Better Listen to This. Life As You’ve Known It Is Over.

Why Should Anyone Come to Your Retail Store?

The retail store model we've known and loved for years is probably doomed.

Are there tumbleweeds headed towards your retail store?

(This is Part 2 of my interview with Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens. Listen to Part 1 here.)

It’s tempting to believe that because e-commerce still only represents a small fraction of retail sales, the traditional retail store model is not really in danger.

When we see e-commerce icons like Amazon and Warby Parker setting up physical retail stores, it seems even easier to believe that traditional stores are still going to be the main places where people buy things.

Retail Prophet, Doug Stevens, author of the new book Reengineering Retail, disagrees.

In fact, he goes so far as to argue that maybe retail stores shouldn’t even be trying to sell products anymore!


That may sound odd, but in this second part of our interview he gives more examples of new, experimental store models, and proposes a radically changed model for the retail store of the future.

What is the Future of the Retail Store?

There are a few possible roles for the retail store going forward.

Future stores may be more about building community than selling products

Future stores may be more about building community than selling products

1. Physical stores will be a place to test new concepts.

Kind of like a massive focus group. People will come into your store to try out new products, and you’ll be there to facilitate that, to observe what they do, and get their feedback on how to make even better products.

2. Stores will be a form of advertising to drive people to your e-commerce website.

That’s already happening, and several companies have noticed that when they open physical retail stores they actually end up selling more online.

3. Stores will be community centers.

People will come for the experience, not for the products. And retailers will earn their revenues from big brands who pay them to entice people into feeling a connection with the brand, rather that from customers who buy stuff.

What do you think? Is community building the future of the retail store?

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