Mark Pilkington, Part II: A Retail Therapist's Diagnosis of the Industry's Maladies


Episode #33, April 9, 2021

Mark Pilkington, Part II: A Retail Therapist’s Diagnosis of the Industry’s Maladies

He’s back! In the last half of a two-part series, Mark Pilkington, author of Retail Therapy--Why the Retail Industry is Broken--And What Can Be Done to Fix it, gets specific as he delves deep into exactly how to “fix” the retail industry.

In Part I (Episode #30), Pilkington retraced how the global retail industry ended up in its unenviable position pre-COVID19, and where it currently stands amid the pandemic.

In this episode, the author explains a myriad of retail strategies for brick-n-mortar retailers including “Lean Store,” “Brand Theater,” “Becoming the Conversation,” and “Virtuous Reality” among others. It’s a refreshing departure from Part I in which the industry’s hubris was on display as the central excuse for its unparalleled demise.

While Pilkington continues to be unapologetic in his criticism of the retail industry, he expresses authentic encouragement by its acceptance to “go with the flow” and speed the pace of change of both e-commerce and in-store experiences. Take the “Lean Store” model on full display at Bonobos (now owned by Walmart). It’s a perfect example of the future of brick-n-mortar retail in real-time. Customers use the physical store experience only to test products and make selections. No stock other than the display is on hand. Orders are placed in-store and sent to customers. It’s still a personal experience for the customer, but less costly for both parties.

If you get the impression Pilkington is seriously suggesting retailers get experiential, he’s sounding the alarm for them to build community and find an authentic mission. The “retail bar” has been raised, mightily high. Retail is a tough business. A business in which consumers are informed, competition is continuous, and differentiation is critical. Pilkington makes a convincing argument, both in the book and on the podcast, that retailers must offer more than products.

Finally, Pilkington makes strong retorts for a host of other challenges facing the industry including government macro/microeconomic policies, lack of comprehensive retail education in institutions of higher learning, the rapid advance of artificial intelligence, and the transformation of retail entirely into branding.

It’s another fact-packed episode of Fashioncast®! Please enjoy! You can buy Mark Pilkington’s book at the link below and see the author on a short retail video produced by The Economist attached.

Retail Therapy: Why the Retail Industry is Broken – and What › Retail-Therapy-Industry-Broken-...