To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.
Retail’s Darwinian shakeout over the last year has consolidated market power in the hands of dominant e-commerce players. But a brand, even if small, can still be mighty. The key is focus and finding a relevant niche, Doug Stephens said at VOICES 2020, previewing his new book, Resurrecting Retail, out on April 13.”
In the post-pandemic retail era, purpose will be the new positioning,” Stephens said. “What will be your brand’s reason for existing?” he asked.Stephens outlines 10 reasons why retail should exist in 2021 and beyond, from product education to activism.
“I see Covid-19 not as a mere accelerator, I see it as a threshold,” said Stephens. “As a unique wormhole in time where society as a whole is being pulled out of the industrial era and across the threshold of the digital age.” Though 2020 was challenging for a lot of retail companies, it has made the big ones like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com and Walmart even stronger and better prepared to capture more of the global retail economy.
Brands must think about purpose: what is the question your brand answers? Companies that succeed in the marketplace do this well. “When we buy Nike products, we’re buying a cultural point of view, and Nike answers a very specific consumer question. The question, of course, is ‘Who inspires me?’” Stephens said.
In the post-pandemic world, the media will no longer be just the message. “Every form of media now, that the consumer has exposure to, is no longer simply a call out to go to the store,” Stephens said. “Every form of media must be the store.”