Pardon the (retail) disruption

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If you’re like me, you’re skeptical of those who claim to have all the answers about the future. What does make sense is a willingness to ask hard questions and to acknowledge that what you take for granted today might change—or even vanish—tomorrow.

The U.S. retail industry is clearly in a state of transition. Time-honored strategies for maximizing ROI face a raft of potential threats. Everywhere you look, after all, disrupters are relentlessly targeting the inefficiencies of our current approach to retailing; they are chasing innovations in product design and delivery, supply-chain management, merchandizing, marketing, payments—you name it.

Consumers are driving this disruption every bit as much as the startups. What could be more disruptive than shoppers who insist on taking control and DIY’ing their buying experience? When you have an iPhone 6, a Pinterest account and half a dozen shopping apps, do you really care what the traditional merchandisers are offering?

The trend is profound and comprehensive—so much so that many real estate companies are at risk of being caught off guard. Over the next few issues of this newsletter, I’ll be sharing a series of articles about retail, interrupted.

The aim here is to explore the topic of disruption from beginning to end: What it’s all about, how it affects specific retail businesses—and perhaps most importantly, how to seize opportunities that clearly will occur moving forward. What forms of retail disruption are you most concerned about? What’s your view of the biggest risks and rewards? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at rwein@weinpl.us.

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