ChannelAdvisor Caroline Riddle By Caroline Riddle

Q&A With Catalyst Keynote Speaker Doug Stephens, The Retail Prophet

Imagine for a moment that it’s 2028. Ten years have passed, and your online retail business is thriving. What does it look like?

If it’s a difficult picture to paint, we wouldn’t blame you. The e-commerce landscape is evolving at such a fast and furious pace that it can be challenging to plan for ten months down the road — let alone ten years.

That’s why we asked Doug Stephens to keynote at Catalyst. He’s widely recognized as the “Retail Prophet,” and with good reason.

One of the world’s foremost retail industry futurists, Stephens’ thinking has influenced many of the world’s best-known brands ranging from Disney to BMW, and his unique perspectives on retailing and consumer behavior have been featured in The New York Times, The BBC, Bloomberg Business News, TechCrunch, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company … to name a few.

His latest book, Reengineering Retail, explores what’s to come and offers e-commerce companies a new roadmap to the future.

Trust us: This is one conference keynote you definitely don’t want to miss. In our Q&A with Stephens, he shares a preview of what you’ll learn.

We’re so excited to have you at Catalyst! Can you give us a “sneak peek” of what to expect at your session?

Thank you! I’m really honoured to be invited back. I’m going to share a presentation that I hope can help audience members make sense of the chaos in the retail market. Moreover, I want to leave them with a clearer sense of what to actually do about it. Contextualizing the change we see around us is an important first step, but without clear-headed action, we can never actually make the change work for us.  

With that in mind, I’m going to share five key learnings that I encountered in writing Reengineering Retail, with the hope that they’ll give audience members a new working model for transforming their businesses.

What have been some of the most surprising changes since Retail Revival first entered the scene?

When I wrote The Retail Revival in 2012 I had a strong sense that the shifts we were seeing in the retail marketplace were deep-seated, historic and likely to change retail forever. Even I never quite anticipated just how quickly the market and consumer expectations would be completely and radically transformed.

In Reengineering Retail, you predict even more radical transformations to come. What would you say is the single-most important factor sellers need to be prepared for?

Namely that the traditional roles of media and physical stores are being completely transposed. Media is no longer a callout to visit a store; Media IS the store. And while physical stores are no longer an optimal distribution channel for products, they are without question the most powerful form of experiential media a brand has at its disposal.

In the long-term we will see the entire economic model for retail transform as a consequence of this shift. Once retailers truly accept this transition, they will see their entire brand ecosystem very differently. That’s when truly amazing change can happen.

How will your keynote help businesses better understand and prepare for this future?

Half the battle lies in being able to pan out to truly understand the scope and magnitude of what’s taking place. I’d like to believe that this talk will help attendees achieve that sense of broadened perspective. Once you can truly appreciate and assimilate what’s happening, cogent strategy is much easier to achieve.   

What more should Catalyst attendees be prepared for as they wait for you to walk on stage?

Prepare to have fun!

To hear Stephens speak at ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst Americas April 17 – 19, click here to register and enter promo code Blog9946 to save $100 per registration. See you there!

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