The store of the future with WD Partners’ Lee Peterson

Retailers that won’t change will not survive in today’s retail environment. Lee Peterson, EVP of brand strategy and design at WD Partners, joins the Retail Gets Real podcast to discuss the trends driving change and what it takes for retailers to adapt in a world where mobile devices give consumers anything, anywhere, any time.

While there might be a narrative that says retail is dying, Peterson says there’s no doubt retail is alive and healthy. It just looks a little different. “It's retail that couldn't change that's having the apocalypse,” he says. “Retail itself is doing quite well.”

Lee Peterson of WD Partners recording NRF podcast
Lee Peterson (center) with podcast hosts Bill Thorne (left) and Artemis Berry (right).

Though retailers might all be singing the same refrain that the customer is in charge, Peterson says few are willing to make big organizational changes around consumers. And while customers might be in control, retailers “still have to lead the customer with ideas.” One promising trend Peterson sees is the reimagination of the store as showroom. “I think showroom stores are essentially the store of the future,” Peterson says, detailing how Bonobos and b8ta are invigorating organizations like Walmart and Macy’s.

In the end, it’s the companies trying new concepts that will have the best chance at growth, and the concept of what a retail space is will continue to evolve. Many of the old rules are being thrown out, and Peterson says “needing brand permission to try something” is an outdated concept.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about how smartphones have changed the game and what the store of the future might look like.

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