To re-align the status-quo we need boldness. Being bold starts with the truth of people, places and things.

Getting the market's and especially your customer's attention is paramount. Let's start by creating retail insanity with duality. The new duality points to the many ways to sell and deliver to customers, both online and physical locations. Experts call this omni-channel. Consumers know it as convenience. Retail pro's see the duality of inbound and outbound supply chains since retail is fundamentally distribution. Logistics with its challenges, including time compression, visibility and delivery alignment (last-mile and fulfillment), expands from B2C, to B2B, and C2B. We can represent it as x2x, everything to everyone, given its vast scale and network infrastructure. The x2x platform will further expand with new flows. There are the new emerging technologies of AI and machine learning encompassing IoT with smart everything. We move from a finite scale, short term strategy and platform, to a vast scale and long term community and co-operation platform. Disrupting and needing to transform what is happening is the emerging role of the new retail entertainer. Comedians and pop culture have a place in this new retail world of experiential innovation. We're finally moving out of our retail caves.

Politically Correct is not an option. We already see this everywhere, in politics and media. Outdated and conventional ways need to change. To re-align the status-quo we need boldness. Being bold starts with the truth of people, places and things. Capturing people's personalized traits is part of the new flow. Meal kits and ready to eat/heat foods are an important new category that helps the everyday consumer to put food on the dinner table, and not the commercial excitement with the clown, king or colonel. Fundamentally, it's about a point of view and choice. Yes, it's about customer experience saying something real about themselves. Truth, the kind most of us grew up hoping and believing in, as opposed to the internet fake news of things. Our food sources, supply and health are way too important for that. Here is some challenging material for our retail entertainer. You (my friend the retail store) are not the centre of the retail universe. Have you checked the pulse of your customers lately?

Real cost of things. Paying for it now or later. Fast and faster delivery, organic and natural foods, local farmers markets, online, cheap products: your choice. What side of the fence are you on? Hard to see a comic formula here. Sustainability and small (local) food OR quick gains with global mainstream monopoly players. Yes! The retail entertainer needs to change the bar, pouncing on the discomfort of the global giants, rethinking the organizations dysfunctional truths. Funny can be fun, if the key approach is getting closer to the customer. Closer to the brand, the role of the hyper-ambassador symbolizes retail progress. As the brand’s leading entertainer, shopping festivals and events lead the way to provide the new role of entertainment and education in the retail space. 

We know that humans have an innate sense of attachment to natural things. Helping people think about food is a natural side-effect, showing that there is something to care about and to feel good about. Linking us all together since we are now literally linked into the food supply chain. The consumer enjoys the emperor's new clothes and agents of brave new giant vending machines, speedy scan and go store experiences, and personalized ways of engaging with our favorite retailers, both in-store and online. But we need to embrace the retail entertainer on both sides of the wall since after all, it's just a matter of time until the wall crumbles down. So rather than paying so much attention to the Amazon hype cycle of 2017, why not pay closer attention to YOUR customer's expectations and needs. After all, any retail transition (including grocery) needs to avoid the "me too" pitfalls. Where do you want your customer to flow from/to?

Sidebar: I wrote this initially as a comic digression from all the serious sh?t going on. It then become clear, since humor can help to expose basic truths about us, that it's not just about creating new retail momentum with the injection of entertainment. It's the hope of providing vital moral leadership with ethical integrity and new principles.

 

Thanks.

Chris Westra

 

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