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The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace [Hardcover]

Robin Lewis , Michael Dart
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 7 2010
The retail world is undergoing a fundamental transformation.  Rapidly evolving technology, globalization, and a saturated marketplace offer consumers instant access to thousands of equally compelling products and services, creating unprecedented levels of expectation.  The impact of these changes is so profound that 50 percent of today's retailers and consumer companies will not survive it.  Traditional business models will become extinct, and the relationship between vendors and consumers will shift dramatically.
 
Here, industry experts Robin Lewis and Michael Dart identify the forces behind these changes and look at the retail heroes of today and tomorrow to see how their business models are responding to the modern marketplace.  They profile industry giants such as VF Corporation (owner of Wrangler and The North Face), Starbucks, and Ralph Lauren, as well as cutting-edge favorites like Apple, Gilt Groupe, and Amazon, to uncover why some retailers are so successful at reaching today's increasingly elusive and demanding customer while others miss the mark by a mile.  What they find are three crucial factors that determine whether businesses win or lose:
 
*Neurological Connectivity -- creating an addictive, irresistible shopping experience, from preshopping anticipation to consumption satisfaction
 
*Preemptive Distribution -- using all possible distribution platforms to access consumers ahead of the competition
 
*Value Chain Control -- vertically integrating control of a company's entire value chain, from creation through point of sale, for maximum delivery on the brand promise
 
This essential formula, Lewis and Dart argue, is responsible for virtually every retail success story of the past few decades.  So while the landscape may never look the same, The New Rules of Retail gives business leaders the tools they need to not only survive, but thrive.

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Review

“A tour de force…offers a tremendous look-back and look-forward at the past, present, and future of retail...I highly recommend it.”--Fortune

“Provides an accessible set of principles for assessing what retailers need to do to survive…a thoughtful analysis.”—The Financial Times
 

“The authors bring solid credentials to their forecast of the coming retail landscape, and they provide plenty of interesting material for readers on both sides of the cash register.”--Kirkus

 

“In-depth, cerebral look at the yesterday, today, and tomorrow of retail … perfect for anyone entrenched in retail management”—Publishers Weekly
 
"A timely, provocative examination of forces impacting the retail industry in the early 21st century...offers a framework for developing strategies for the future...a lively read...Highly recommended."--Choice

"This book is much too interesting to be bedtime reading. The New Rule of Retail is fascinating and a little frightening vision of our consumptive future. While not apocalyptic, it is stark and powerfully real. If you are a merchant or marketer, this is your up-wake call."--Paco Underhill, CEO Envirosell Inc. and author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping

“I truly enjoyed reading Robin Lewis and Michael Dart’s book. They have clearly defined the new rules for success; whereby the successful brand managers will be those who can manage and control the pre-emptive distribution of their neurologically addictive brand from its creation all the way through to consumption.”--Michael Gould, Chairman & CEO, Bloomingdale's

“Lewis and Dart delve deeply and smartly into what we need to do to thrive in the increasingly complex retail marketplace. Great stuff.”--William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies

“Lewis and Dart, backed by years of experience in consumer-facing businesses, have produced a penetrating study of how and why some of America’s most iconic retailers and brands lost their way, and examines the winning strategies of those that continue to thrive and grow. The New Rules of Retail is a must-read guide to survival in a changed and changing world.”--Margaret Hayes, President, The Fashion Group International

Lewis and Dart have written an interesting and thoroughly researched book that traces the evolution of the retail business from the distant past to the looming future. Clearly, they know and understands all the players -- well worth reading. --Marvin Traub, former President and CEO, Bloomingdales

The New Rules Of Retail  offers a thought-provoking and compelling perspective on the future of the industry.  Both traditional retailers and e-commerce competitors will find the principles outlined by Lewis and Dart relevant to their needs. A must read.”--John Donahoe, CEO, EBay

"Lewis and Dart have so many thought-provoking ideas that I used up a box of paper clips marking the pages I wanted my various department heads to read. And they're easy to follow -- I understood the concept of a "neurologically connective experience" right away. All future decisions in retailing and wholesaling will be influenced by this book."--Bud Konheim, CEO, Nicole Miller

“Lewis and Dart give a very accurate view of the past history of retailing.  But more importantly, they offer an insightful and strategic view of the consumers and business models needed to support its future.”--Claudio Del Vecchio, CEO, Brooks Brothers

"The New Rules of Retail is a powerful analysis of the tectonic shifts that have transformed this industry, and it reveals the secrets of succeeding in today’s new economic and digital environment.  Authors Robin Lewis and Michael Dart know retailing inside and out and their thought-provoking book, with its incisive perspective, proves it.”--Tracy Mullin, former President and CEO, National Retail Federation

"The New Rules of Retail is an incredibly interesting and a provocative read. I thoroughly enjoyed the authors' insight on past events I look forward to debate and dialogue about their predictions for the future. ”--Tom Wyatt, President, Old Navy

"Despite retail being the driving force of our economy, little has been written about the industry that truly captures its past, present, and future. This book provides tremendous clarity and insight, and should become required reading for retail managers, senior executives and their boards."--Mark A. Cohen, Professor of Marketing, Columbia Business School and Former Chairman/CEO, Sears Canada Inc.

The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace is an important and instructive read for industry veterans and newcomers alike.  Lewis and Dart provide a practical roadmap for success in the rapidly evolving environment, along with an assessment of the retailers who 'get it'. With the authors' dire prediction that 50% of retailers will be unable to survive the transition to “Wave III,” this is a must read for everyone in the business today!”--Jane Elfers, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Children's Place

 “Lewis and Dart have shown once again that they have their fingers on the pulse of both consumer needs and the ever-changing retail industry.  The New Rules of Retail is a must-read for anyone who wants to not only survive but to thrive in the decades to come. ”--Kevin M. Burke, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Apparel & Footwear Association

“The New Rules of Retail shows how to win in an unprecedented environment where consumers have instant access to hundreds of choices for everything they need. Lewis and Dart’s recommendations are dramatic, but they show that the consequences for those who stick with the status quo will be dire. A highly original and insightful book.”--Mark Sarvary, Tempur-Pedic International Inc.

"This book is an essentail read for anyone who is interested in a history of what drives 70 percent of the U.S. economy and the many challenges expected to be faced in the future.  Like we are now seeing in politics, the voter/consumer is in the driver's seat, and those serving her had better take heed." -- Allen Questrom, former CEO, JCPenney, Federated Department Stores, and Barney's

The New Rules of Retail is a must read for students of contemporary retailing.  Full of meaningful insights about the current environment, the authors chart the course for a successful retail future.”—Paul Charron, former CEO of Liz Claiborne

“Takes a real approach to describe why some retailers prospered and others failed through each wave of Retail history.  Lewis' and Dart's use of case examples bring the book to life to clearly spell out how customers and the competitive environment have changed and how retailers today must connect with their customers and take control of their value chain to not only be successful, but survive.”—Ken Hicks, Chairman & CEO, Foot Locker, Inc.

 

Review

“Powerful and thought provoking... great insight into our business and perceptiveness regarding its challenges.”— Michael Gould, chairman and CEO, Bloomingdale`s

“Our industry needs someone to develop new thoughts and concepts that will be a guide for future successes. [The authors’] background, experience, expertise, and interest...make for a thoughtful and useful book.”—Burton M. Tansky, president and CEO, The Neiman Marcus Group


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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good book for academics Dec 1 2013
Format:Hardcover
While the book is interesting, the style is off-putting. It suffers from trying to be Malcolm Gladwell pop-science book, and I actually have a hard time accepting a lot of the claims they make because of it. While they provide some evidence to some of the more thought provoking claims, it is not sufficient and not in any systematic way. The authors should have taken a more academic approach rather than the easy popcorn one they chose. Books like this need more rigor, not less.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well research and thought provoking Aug. 27 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A lot of research went into this book. It provides an excellent historical perspective of retailing in America, filled with pertinent examples, and thought provoking views of the new reality of the retail industry. A must read for anyone working in retail.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking! Jan. 16 2011
By drstephens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a must-read for anyone working or investing in the retail space or in consumer/market research. The core of the book is a provocative belief about a disruptive change for retailers/suppliers and the shape of the industry -- the authors don't just believe this change is coming, they believe we are in the midst of it. The book offers a brief historical perspective, which is a helpful capsule... but what will start a conversation is its rich core content: the predictions, the vivid examples and case studies, and the presentation of how technology is helping/hindering the relationship with the consumer. Fascinating and thought provoking, yet extremely readable -- good mix of a research-based academic and colloquial style.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting content, unlikable style Dec 25 2010
By algo41 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a stock market investor, and for that reason I already knew most of what this book has to say, but for the general reader the material might crystallize what they have probably observed: the increased importance of private and exclusive brands; the creation of "life style" brands, which take advantage of the consumer attachment to the brand to vastly broaden the type of products sold under the same label; stores stressing atmosphere in order to enhance the shopping experience, such as Holister; brands trying to control contact with the consumer through their own stores, or "stores within a store". Behind the scenes, multi-brand companies allow each brand to focus on what makes it unique, while consolidating back office, logistic and procurement functions.

I totally dislike the style in which the book is written, with that breathless, repetitive style characteristic of bad popular science books. And, incidentally, a number of the companies so admired in this book have, just since the book was written, fallen flat on their faces (based on earnings, stock price), especially Charming Shoppes and Liz Claiborne, but also Chico's and Best Buy.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not earth-changing Jan. 25 2012
By Deborah Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a broad, easily accessible understanding of the challenges that face retailers today (as well as a retailing retrospective), The New Rules of Retail will be an informative and quick read. However, if you are an experienced retail or investment professional, you'll likely find the recommendations and insights too vague and soft for practical use. This book is more about the "art" of retail rather than the "science".

In discussing their three new rules, Lewis & Dart highlight some of the attributes that can indeed make a retailer successful. Creating a positive neurological experience and being highly responsive to customer demands is more important than ever. Additionally, the recommended transformations for both department stores and wholesalers were insightful.

Unfortunately, the "New Rules" are so broadly defined and cross so many strategic areas that it was difficult to come away with any concrete execution ideas. A discussion on the importance of customer analytics, data mining, etc. or any other cutting edge methodology useful in getting inside the customer's head would have been helpful.

The level of analysis and research is not terribly rigorous - the statistics are meaningless and the stories primarily anecdotal. A handful of successful retailers were cited or discussed repetitively. I would have enjoyed a more rigorous approach in which a broad range of retailers were systematically analyzed and their performance evaluated against the New Rules criteria (I'm a finance geek though).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique gift to both practitioners and academics Jan. 23 2011
By Kasra Ferdows - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lewis and Dart delve deep into issues, yet also manage to show us the big picture. This is a tough act. You need the unusual combination of years of experience working in or with a variety of retail organizations and the ability to put that experience in a broad historical context. The authors have done that superbly, and for me, it makes the book stand out among many others.

The authors' model for anticipating future challenges in the retail industry is both thought provoking and convincing. What the authors call "neurological connectivity" (creating an experience, not just a sale), in particular, is a fresh insight. The other two principles, "pre-emptive distribution" and "value-chain control," are also intriguing. Together they pose new challenges for both those who run retail businesses and those who study, consult, and teach in retail and supply chain fields. For the first group, they call for a fresh look at how they should run their business; for the second, they show new areas for research. What makes the book compelling is how the authors manage to support every argument with observations in a large number of famous and familiar retailers--from Apple to Zappos and Zara.

This last point--presence of a large number of real-world examples throughout this book--would also delight the academic reader. Those of us doing research and teaching in supply chain management appreciate the historical perspective and the elegant model presented in this book. But the most value in this book for many of us lies in the presence of such a rich variety of real-world examples. It is rare to find so many wonderful examples, nicely organized, in one place. This is a precious gift--even if we may not have been the intended audience for this book.

Kasra Ferdows
Heisley Family Chair Professor of Global Manufacturing
McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful book Dec 31 2010
By richard kestenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The New Rules of Retail doesn't just give the reader a history of retail. Lewis and Dart have a unique perspective. Immersed as they are in the industry, they outline what the future will look like and why it will come to pass as they predict. The book is insightful, interesting and well documented. If you're interested in where retail is going, read it.

Richard Kestenbaum, Partner, Triangle Capital LLC.
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