The retail industry, with which we have all grown up, has been devastated by the twin effects of the internet and the coronavirus lockdown. Huge numbers of prestigious brands have gone under, or are a shadow of their former selves. The world economy has gone into deep recession, with reduced employment and incomes across broad swathes of society. Many discretionary products have simply become too expensive for ordinary people to buy on a regular basis. High streets and shopping malls lie half empty, causing a vacuum at the core of our societies.
There is an urgent need to regenerate our local shopping centres, in order to create new hope in depressed areas. So how can retailers and brands respond to this crisis? Fortunately, new shoots of recovery are emerging from the wreckage of the old order – new brands, new ways of providing value, and new and innovative methods of creating excitement to draw in consumers, all of which have the potential to kick-start the retail economy.
Technology is re-shaping almost every aspect of the supply chain, and is lowering barriers to entry to new and innovative start-ups, which are re-making sector after sector. In addition, some incumbent brands and retailers are experimenting with novel ways of doing things – from turning mere shopping into an immersive ‘theatre’ experience, to creative ways to measure and retain loyalty.
This book offers a comprehensive analysis of these new forces which are changing the way in which we buy products and experience brands. It includes in-depth interviews with some of the most innovative players – from John Lewis in the UK, to Nike and Patagonia in the US - in the hope of drawing out key learning points for the rest of the industry, across the globe. It also provides essential guidelines for governments, as they strive to rebuild society in the wake of recent catastrophes – from the death of Main Street to the impact of coronavirus.