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The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified 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.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2010
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified 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).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
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
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2010
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Retailing has changed dramatically: Producers and marketers no longer control what, how and if customers buy. Modern-day consumers now tell you what they want to buy, how they want to buy it and whether they'll let you sell it to them. Retail industry consultants Robin Lewis and Michael Dart combine experience and original research in their pragmatic, useful analysis of how the industry has evolved since the rise of the Internet. They offer a clear, logically progressive discussion, with instructive observations about stores, brands and the three "new rules of retail." Although their explanation is long on theory and examples, it's short on specific how-tos. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends this eye-opening book - and eye-catching, too, with its great charts and diagrams - to manufacturers, marketers and retailers. Consumers, too, will relish its fascinating insights into their psyches.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The timing of Lewis and Dart's thought provoking new book is perfect. Those of us in the branding world know that the consumer's power is enormous and growing. Lewis and Dart's extensive and exhaustive research, spell out in great detail, how retail is structurally changing, and how retailers and brands can survive and thrive in this new era of retailing. Their book is a MUST read for every retailer, brand executive, marketer, investment banker, financial analyst, and investor.

~Marc Schwartz
Chief Operating Officer
Bob Mackie Design Group
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
If you are interested in eCommerce and most particularly the impact on traditional retail. This is a good book. Full of well researched material and frameworks you an use to evaluate your business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read tons of business oriented books and this one was by far one of the most interesting and relevant. If you are involved in any part of the retail chain it will help you. They make wild predictions about the future then justify them. Also there is a great component of the history of retail in the book. Also, the book is so well structured: it lays out what the thesis is and refers to it constantly as well as adding 2 or 3 sub points that repeat throughout the book. When I try to remember what it talked about specifically it is soo clear

1. Control all of the value chain
2. Make neurological connections
3. Use preemptive distribution

Get this book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The New Rules of Retail is great read to start the new year for those interested in retail and shopper marketing. TNRoR provides unique balance between tradition and trend to help us make sense of the "wheel of retailing". Lewis and Dart's discussion of the three waves of retail serves as a backdrop and prologue to the exploration of their three strategic operating principles for success--neurological connectivity, preemptive distribution and value chain control. Ways in which developing markets are compressing and/or leap frogging the three waves provides food for thought.

This book is pragmatic and useful for merchants, etailers and marketers. It's use of specific case studies let the reader determine the validity their 3 strategic operating principles and provides insights into how and why retailers and brands are flourishing or floundering in today's turbulent, rapidly evolving marketplace.

Finally, TNRoR's exploration of possible alternative futures for retail, both in the US and globally, simultaneously excite and scare the mind! As a study of the creative destruction of capitalism for retail, it makes one stop and think, and reminds us that the wheel of retail pauses for no organization.
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