Doug Stephens Says Retailers must ‘Recapture the Art of Retail’ in an Era of Technology-Driven Innovation [Interview]

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Doug Stephens is recognized as one of the world’s foremost retail industry futurists. 

Recently he was a guest speaker at the RCC STORE (Retail Council of Canada) conference where he spoke about Recapturing the Art of Retail in an Era of Technology-driven innovation. 

Doug Stephens

“There are a tremendous number of things in the environment that are demanding a retailer’s attention. There’s no secret to say there have been massive societal changes obviously through the pandemic, the whole issue of work, work from home versus work in the office and the affect that has on commuting patterns in businesses, is certainly something to pay attention to,” said the founder of Retail Prophet.

“I think there are new corporate table stakes in terms of issues of diversity and inclusion that companies are now having to sort of wrap their heads around. Technology at the foreground now with AI barely a day, barely an hour, goes by we don’t hear something about AI or robotics.

“So tremendous number of things that are vying for a retailer’s attention but it’s been my experience that the one thing that most retailers, and I would say most businesses, let’s open up to all businesses, face today is the ongoing challenge of number one capturing a customer’s attention, holding it and then hopefully producing a memorable experience that drives disproportionate recall vis a vis their competitors. At the end of the day that’s what retailers want.”

Doug Stephens at RCC STORE 23 (Image: Retail Council of Canada)

And most retailers in fact are falling down when it comes to that.

In this video interview, Stephens discusses how the retail industry has responded and still needs to respond to technology-driven innovation. Has the art of retail changed in this landscape?

Stephens’ intellectual work and thinking has influenced many of the most widely known international retailers, agencies and brands including Walmart, Google, L’Oreal, BMW and LVMH.

Prior to founding the consultancy Retail Prophet, he spent over 20 years in the retail industry, holding senior International leadership roles. Stephens is the author of three internationally bestselling books: Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business in a Post Pandemic World (2021), Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World (2017) and The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism (2013). 

He sits on multiple corporate and academic advisory boards.

His unique perspectives on retailing, business, and consumer behavior have been featured in many of the world’s leading publications and media outlets including The New York Times, The BBC, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company.

The Video Interview Series by Retail Insider is available on YouTube.

Connect with Mario Toneguzzi, a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and the only Canadian – to learn how you can tell your story, share your message and amplify it to a wide audience. He is Senior News Editor with Retail Insider and owner of Mario Toneguzzi Communications Inc. and can be reached at mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.

Interviewed this episode:

  • Doug Stephens

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Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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