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The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace 11.7.2010 Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0230105720
ISBN-10: 0230105726
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Industry consultants Lewis and Dart present an in-depth, cerebral look at the yesterday, today, and tomorrow of retail, arguing that nearly half of retailers will soon be gone. In the authors' view, the key to success rests on a retailer's ability to create "experiential and distributional superiority" and control the value chain. Knowing what's important to do and knowing how to do it are two different things, but information and real-life examples are plentiful. Readers will learn how real estate will help define the shopping experience and how the business models of advertising and media will change. The last of three sections, "Ideas from the Masters," includes a study of the largest apparel company in America, VF (Vanity Fair) Corporation, who possess "the best-managed supply chain in its industry." Readers will also learn how Zappos.com delivers the "WOW experience" and why Apple earns an acclaimed "tip of the hat." The authors root for The Gap's success and speculate on the survival of one retail icon, currently stuck in a perfect storm. This complex and informative look at the retail world may be a bit too cerebral for consumers but perfect for anyone entrenched in retail management.
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“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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 11.7.2010 edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230105726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230105720
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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Format: Hardcover
This book is one of several I have looked at regarding the retail and consumer products industry and seems to be among the best in terms of an overview and foreseeable trends.

The Prologue/Introduction begins with the remarks of JC Penny’s new CEO in 2012 describing novel initiatives based on his iStore experience and their subsequent failure due to various factors that help illustrate the difficulty in addressing increasingly tough market conditions even with new retail approaches.

Section 1 covers the evolution of the industry or the Four Waves of Retailing: Wave I – Producer Power, Wave II – Marketing Driven Economy, Wave III – Total Consumer Power and Wave IV. The revisions in this second edition includes the addition of “Wave IV – Technology Explodes: The Jobsian and Bezosian Era” (which deals with incorporation of smartphones, expansion of tech platforms and other more recent developments such as those pursued by Steve Jobs at Apple and Jeff Bezos at Amazon). There is also a “Wave IV – The Transformation” section that further describes the types of innovation that will be required to compete.

In Section 2, the authors explain the three main new rules of retail: (1) making the mind connection – neurological connectivity, (2) redefining engagement – preemptive distribution, and (3) the importance of value chain control. Within these sections, diagrams such as those in figures 3.2 (Power of Accessibility), 4.2 (Consumer Market Shifts), and 7.1 (Virtuous Cycle of Value Chain Control) help illustrate what the “new rules” entail.
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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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