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Key Takeaways from the Brave New Retail World Virtual Series

This summer, McMillanDoolittle partnered with Retail Tomorrow on a four-part virtual series exploring the impact of COVID on the rapidly shifting retail landscape. Hosted by McMillanDoolittle’s Neil Stern, each episode of the Brave New Retail World series highlighted the impact of COVID on key areas in the industry: the new consumer, the impact on ecommerce, retailer response around the globe, and how to lead through these uncertain times.

During this series, Retail Tomorrow stayed true to its roots by emphasizing the most forward-looking thinking in retail innovation. We welcomed a broad array of industry perspectives, hearing from retail thought leaders in our Future Facing Five segment and exploring how retailers are innovating in response to COVID with our “live from the streets” virtual study tours led by McMillanDoolittle’s Amanda Lai. We provided viewers with new ideas and conversations in a differentiated and experiential way – all of the things that continue to make Retail Tomorrow a leader in connecting the industry to “what’s next”.

Here are the 4 key takeaways from the Brave New Retail World virtual series:

  1. The post-COVID consumer will be forever changed: consumers expect retailers to have a voice and take action in societal, political, environmental issues, including addressing systemic racism and social inequities within the community and within their own companies. New consumers are hyper-aware of safety and hygiene policies and will make decisions based on how well companies prioritize the safety of their customers and employees.
  2. E-commerce will hyper accelerate: 10 years of e-commerce growth occurred in 10 weeks as COVID expedited the customer adoption of e-commerce solutions and safety and social distancing became top-of-mind. We predict many of these new shopping behaviors will remain sticky even beyond the pandemic.
  3. The future of retail in the US can already be experienced globally: No need to reinvent the wheel –we can we learn from other markets with high ecommerce penetration like South Korea and from the unified commerce model in China, where brick and mortar remains critical and the store functions first and foremost as a distribution center.
  4. In the face of uncertainty, we must shift from leaderSHIP to leaderING: LeaderSHIP is static, closed, hierarchical, and designed to scale for short-term growth, while leaderING cultivates a dynamic, adaptive, inclusive mindset focused on supporting continuous innovation for long-term, sustainable value. More than ever, companies must take a more holistic, longer term approach to driving growth while caring for the customer, the employees, the community and the planet.

Check out episodes from the four-part virtual series here.

Amanda Lai

Amanda manages McMillanDoolittle’s food retail practice and supports strategic planning, retail concept development, consumer research, and real estate analysis for a wide range of global retail clients. Since joining the team in 2017, Amanda has worked with brands across the Grocery, Restaurant, Apparel, Consumer Electronics, Automotive, and Real Estate sectors. She has been featured as a subject matter expert on TD Ameritrade, CBS News, and Chicago’s WGN Radio, and has been quoted in publications including The Chicago Tribune, Crain’s, Progressive Grocer, Drug Store News, and Convenience Store News.

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