The Retail Reading List: February 2020

Article by Martyn Jones | 28th February 2020

These are currently either on my bookshelf, or on my ‘to-buy’ list as some of the most current retail literature around. Recommended for anyone looking to gain a broader grasp of all things retail in the fast-changing modern retail landscape.

8th Retail Design Institute Stores of the Year
“A visual feast for the retail store design fanatic and those looking to gain a little inspiration for considering store design innovations of their own. Featuring Winning Projects of the Retail Design Institute’s International Design Competition.”
by Retail Design Institute

Celebrating exceptional retail experiences across more than 20 categories, rich concept descriptions and breakdowns compliment the stunningly rendered store photography that makes this one a great ‘pick up and open’ read you can dip on and out of.
Highlight: Besides simply showcasing the visuals, the book specifically recognises the various approaches and innovations in design, planning, merchandising, lighting, graphics, signage, visual merchandising, and in-store technology. A must for those in: Store operations, In-store marketing, transformation, theft & loss, visual merchandising.

Connected Strategy: Building Continuous
Customer Relationships for Competitive Advantage
What if there were a way to turn occasional, sporadic transactions with customers into long-term, continuous relationships–while simultaneously driving dramatic improvements in operational efficiency?”  By Nicolaj Siggelkow Christian Terwiesch

Connected Strategy promises out-side-the-box thinking when it comes to delivering insight around creating novel, connected strategies aimed at creating differential market advantage—and it does just that. Operations and strategy know-it-alls, Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch look at the emergence of connected strategies as a new source of competitive advantage.

With detailed examples from companies operating in, mobility, healthcare, retail, entertainment, nonprofit, and education, financial service, the book identifies four pathways—respond-to-desire, curated offering, coach behaviour, and automatic execution–for turning episodic interactions into continuous relationships

‘What will I learn?’ How to reshape your connections with your customers, how to find new ways to connect with existing suppliers while also activating new sources of capacity, how to create a smart revenue model and how to make the best technology choices to fit hand-in-glove with your top-down strategy.

Fashion Retail Safari
A curated selection of trends, industry insights and interviews.

“The business of fashion changed from a product-centric approach to a customer experience-centric approach. Companies are investing in configurable ecosystems to be agile and flexible enough to compete with niche players and pure players in the digital era.” by Alfonso Segura

Fashion Retail Safari examines how companies are turning to ‘configurable ecosystems models’ to stay flexible enough to resist competition from niche and ‘pure players’ in the market. It boldly makes the claim that forecasting and planning your sales 12 months in advance is only one way to increase leverage and that, in the volatile markets of today, technology should be seen as the primary, perhaps sole enabler of the new model it proposes.

The book gives the examples of the change of CEO at Nike (with Mark Parker stepping down in early 2020, and John Donahoe, a tech executive, who’s due to replace him—a move that author, Alfonso Segura, says goes beyond being “a simple transition” but rather “a metaphor of how the retail industry is evolving.

‘Who’s this book useful for?’ Almost anyone in retail, but particularly those in: Finance, financial forecasting, operations, business intelligence, transformation, strategy, retail technology and supply chain.

Retail Design 2nd edition
by Stephen Anderson & Lynne Mesher
“A detailed look at the latest developments in the contemporary retail design sector worldwide.”

Retail Design is for those that think about the psychology of ‘space’, or ‘spaces’ in retail and the impact design has on consumer behaviour, about apparently completely disconnected topics. Store layout and design as part of strategy, consumer behaviour.

Complete with newly updated case studies and with expanded coverage on ‘sustainability’ Retail Design goes beyond merely ‘pretty interiors’ to offer fresh insight into how contemporary design can be approached with an end goal of impacting commercial factors.

Giving clear explanations on how retail design play closely into brand and identity, the book breaks down relationships between interiors and their context, site and setting that impact footfall circulation, pace and other physical factors of design.

Who’s this book for? Anyone with a vested interest in learning how the spaces retail happens in affect buying decisions, dwell time, brand perception, spend, theft and store operations.

New Retail Born in China Going Global
How Chinese Tech Giants Are Changing Global Commerce
by Ashley Galina Dudarenok and Michael Zakkour

“Behind the scenes insights that led to Alibaba CEO Jack Ma’s vision of “The New Retail” where 800 million consumers take for granted a world of convenience unimagined anywhere else.”

For anyone looking to gain a top-down understanding of how retail has—and continues to be—transformed by technology and the need to modernise physical retail, this read will deliver just that. The book centres on Ma’s “reimagining of 5,000 years of buying ands selling products and services claiming that the long battle between bricks and clicks is over, and the winner is The New Retail—a movement fronted by the vanguard brands of modern retail that are taking the most powerful elements of physical retail and e-commerce to produce retail concepts greater than the sum of their parts.

This is one for those with a ‘forecasting’ and ‘preparation’ mentality seeking intuitive clues as to which way the wind will blow as we transition through a time of retail uncertainty and into a new space of clarity where only the savviest will take root and thrive.

Who would you recommend this for? Professionals in global, regional and local operations, supply chain, logistics, retail trends, digital transformation, workforce transformation, merchandising, visual merchandising and store design. Also, those with a curious mind about the psychology of retail and consumer behaviour.

First book sold on Amazon? Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought.

My reading habits are one of the influences that have shaped my career, the way I think about myself, about work and about the industry we’re all trying to impact in positive ways. These and other authors in this space are the vanguard at the forefront of a movement pushing to usher in ‘The New Retail’ and disprove the naysayers.

I’m always looking to broaden my understanding of the subtle developments in our space. Have some great reads in mind to recommend? Connect with me and let me know—I’ll be glad to give you a spotlight with credits and a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Cover photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Stay connected

Connect with the author Martyn Jones