Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

The Future of Retail: Stop Iterating and Start Innovating


The team at OneStop invited me to Los Angeles to speak to a wonderful group of digital marketers, etailer/retailer, search and commerce strategists.  Among the many things I’m studying and speaking about these days, the future of retail is fascinating to me personally and professionally.

The future of retail isn’t just about new technology, the latest gadgets and all of the incredible startups that are pushing retail, commerce and everything else forward. It’s also shaped by connected/mobile customers who are more discerning, elusive and sophisticated.

Here, experience is everything.

The future of retail is about vision to see how everything is evolving, including human behavior and expectations, along with how people use tech, and also about how these things can re-imagine space online and in the real world to make retail relevant in a new world.

Technology is everywhere. Customer evolution is constant. Ideas about how and capabilities to implement them are scarce.

Many retailers and others online are still introducing services and digital features that only build upon old ways of doing business. We’re bringing to the customer all this rooted legacy…that’s ruining the experience for the new customer.

Dumping an entire catalogue’s contents online and calling it e-commerce is an example of what won’t work for the new breed of customer. This new consumer is ageless and has developed shopping habits anchored in the “ego-system,” as I dubbed it. And the primary trait of this habit is that customers want product when they want it. The on-demand economy is more important than the sharing economy.


The summary of my talk was beautifully visualized by Sophia Liang.

11 X-Factors in Designing the Future of Retail

1) Accept that legacy thinking, processes and metrics facilitate iteration at best not innovation

2) Remember that innovation doesn’t have to start with technology, it starts from within, empathy is key

3) Identify activity in the four moments of truth

4) Introduce yourself and the team to Generation C

5) Understand their behaviors, expectations and values – especially their differences from traditional customers

6) Think like the customer in ideation and strategy

7) Rethink the customer journey and what it can be even if it’s starting with a blank slate based on Google’s “micro moments

8) Design consistent and meaningful experiences for every touchpoint throughout the customer journey

9) Remove friction and optimize touch points based on the existing journey

10) Apply all insights to reimagine space, physical shopping, clerks, checkout, demos/dressing rooms, etc. – And, look beyond other retailers for ideas

11) Help customers make decisions, encourage and reward people to share experiences

Create the future or wait for it to tell you your place in it.

Also see WWD‘s summary of the event.

Connect with Brian on Social Media

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Experience is everything…my new book is finally available!


4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The Future of Retail: Stop Iterating and Start Innovating”

  1. This is a great article about online retail shop. The information that you shared here is very helpful in many ways. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Survtapp says:

    Great article Kari, the behaviour of retail shopper is changing very quickly and its impect the behaviour of the retail marketing.

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