Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RETAILOMANIA: The End Of The Retail World As We Know It

I am a few months into a new book project, titled as the headline says. In this book, I will try to describe the reason why retailers have developed the way they have until now, and why the future will be another game where a whole new set of rules will be brought onto the table. The synopsis could read like this:

"Today’s retail business is a battlefield and as on a modern military battlefield, the enemy isn’t always visible or doesn’t fight using the same methods. Fire, protection and movement remain the key principles of combat, but an enemy can also infiltrate the battleground, hide among civilians or plant IEDs to fool and unnerve his adversary. In the retail context this would translate to small, fast growing and digital retailers challenging an established global giant on its home turf, or consumers joining together to create a secondhand market instead of always buying the latest products from a store. Or even brands without a traditional media budget, using social media and branded content to build a loyal customer base without attracting attention from the competition. In short: The future is not what it used to be, but rather a flickering, confusing place where the established marketing methodologies of the retail giants may well be undermined by their newer, more dynamic adversaries who are potentially better placed to fully meet the marketing challenges created by new and emerging markets. In the new world of retail then, as on the modern battlefield, size is not necessarily an advantage. Instead, over what is likely to be an economically turbulent next 10 years, retailers will need to be able to move swiftly in order to adapt to consumers’ rapidly changing preferences. Some of the brands of yesterday will die some with a bang and some slowly as if from an incurable wasting disease. The future will be characterized by asymmetric competition, where creativity, intelligence and adaptability are more important than size and brute force. We now see TEOTRWAWKI -  the end of the retail world as we know it."