Guide The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism (1st Edition)

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  1. The Retail Revival has begun! | Retail Customer Experience
  2. Doug Stephens
  3. The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism
  4. Shop now and earn 2 points per $1

Furniture Today: Do you think the furniture category is different from other retail categories in terms of how deep e-commerce penetration will go?

The Retail Revival has begun! | Retail Customer Experience

I remember preparing for a talk and looking around on eBay to see what kinds of things were being offered, and I came across two Learjets being sold. I believe that we are really just at the forefront of the capabilities of e-commerce to give people the ability to buy with confidence. Casper has figured out how to ship a bed in a box.

I did a talk not so long ago and ran into a guy named George Blankenship. He was one of the first employees with Apple, one of the first employees with Tesla. And I see this all the time. I see the automotive industry say e-commerce is fine for electronics but not cars.

Doug Stephens

And then you go and talk to apparel guys and they say, well, e-commerce is fine for cars but not for apparel because you have to try things on, and so on. Everybody has an excuse. But the truth is ecommerce is going to apply to everybody equally at some point. Nobody asked for an iPhone.

The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism

Will there be furniture stores 10 years from now? Of course there will. Will there be a lot fewer of them? Only the very strongest and most differentiated of them will survive. Run down the list: Are they engaging, are they unique, are they personalized, are they surprising or are they repeatable consistently? Very few achieve one or two, and there are remarkably few businesses, frankly, on the face of the planet that hit all five and do so consistently.

The more you can appeal to all of the senses, the more engaging you can be. You already have the sense of touch built in through the product. You could have absolutely extraordinary lighting instead of the kind of fluorescent glow you find in most stores. It becomes a rehearsed dance you do every single time somebody comes in, and you become known for that. Furniture Today: So what keeps furniture stores from providing this type of remarkable experience? Stephens: I think furniture stores are by-and-large focusing on what they sell. The instinct is to focus on what they sell.

As a consequence they spend an inordinate amount of time focused on making sure the assortment is right, sitting with their vendors and demanding news lines, new products, better stuff, cheaper stuff, better terms, lower inventory levels. What they need to do is spend more time on how they sell what they sell.


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The bottom line is, look, that new sectional from La-Z-Boy, the new electric bed or whatever the case may be — that is only going to be a differentiator for a blink of an eye. In the grand scheme of things it will not be the thing that helps you survive into the next decade. Are we really worth the drive?

Retail Prophet: The Future is Bright

If someone can order online all the stuff we have in the showroom, would that put us out of business? We moved into a new home, and for the first time in a long time, we got rid of a lot of our old stuff, and we went out and bought a lot of furniture. What happens is you create a tyranny of choice. How could we remove friction from the buying process or how can we add surprise and delight at different points in the transaction? Furniture Today: Do you think the furniture category is different from other retail categories in terms of how deep e-commerce penetration will go?

I remember preparing for a talk and looking around on eBay to see what kinds of things were being offered, and I came across two Learjets being sold. I believe that we are really just at the forefront of the capabilities of e-commerce to give people the ability to buy with confidence. Casper has figured out how to ship a bed in a box. I did a talk not so long ago and ran into a guy named George Blankenship.

He was one of the first employees with Apple, one of the first employees with Tesla. And I see this all the time. I see the automotive industry say e-commerce is fine for electronics but not cars. And then you go and talk to apparel guys and they say, well, e-commerce is fine for cars but not for apparel because you have to try things on, and so on. Everybody has an excuse. But the truth is ecommerce is going to apply to everybody equally at some point.

Shop now and earn 2 points per $1

Nobody asked for an iPhone. Will there be furniture stores 10 years from now? Of course there will.

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Will there be a lot fewer of them? Only the very strongest and most differentiated of them will survive. Run down the list: Are they engaging, are they unique, are they personalized, are they surprising or are they repeatable consistently? Very few achieve one or two, and there are remarkably few businesses, frankly, on the face of the planet that hit all five and do so consistently.

The more you can appeal to all of the senses, the more engaging you can be. You already have the sense of touch built in through the product. You could have absolutely extraordinary lighting instead of the kind of fluorescent glow you find in most stores. It becomes a rehearsed dance you do every single time somebody comes in, and you become known for that. Furniture Today: So what keeps furniture stores from providing this type of remarkable experience?

Stephens: I think furniture stores are by-and-large focusing on what they sell. The instinct is to focus on what they sell. As a consequence they spend an inordinate amount of time focused on making sure the assortment is right, sitting with their vendors and demanding news lines, new products, better stuff, cheaper stuff, better terms, lower inventory levels.

What they need to do is spend more time on how they sell what they sell.


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The bottom line is, look, that new sectional from La-Z-Boy, the new electric bed or whatever the case may be — that is only going to be a differentiator for a blink of an eye. In the grand scheme of things it will not be the thing that helps you survive into the next decade.

Are we really worth the drive? If someone can order online all the stuff we have in the showroom, would that put us out of business?

http://sushioffer.archidelivery.ru/js/telyakovskiy/952.html We moved into a new home, and for the first time in a long time, we got rid of a lot of our old stuff, and we went out and bought a lot of furniture.