Retail 2020: Predictions from IBM and NYU

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Retail 2020: Predictions from IBM and NYU

 Heads up! 

“All retail strategies become obsolete, but it is possible to reposition successfully if you see shifts occurring.”

This quote comes from  Retail 2020: Reinventing Retail – Once Again, a paper produced by IBM and the NYU Stern School of Business. It explores what retailing will look like in in the future – informed by the lessons learned from previous retail transformations and new developments in technology, the economy, and society. 

A key takeaway: As the pace of change accelerates, a retailer’s current competitive advantage erodes more rapidly. Strategies will become obsolete faster, but the good news is that it’s possible to reposition to adjust to new marketplace realities.

Two anticipated changes have particular relevance to BMC conversations:

  • There will be too much retail space and too few sales to support it. This is already true, but it will get worse.  Implication:  You have to find ways to reduce the amount of retail space in your portfolio.
  • Mobile platforms, smart sensors, and social media will have changed the way people shop.  Implication: Use both the store and technology as a competitive weapon.


This paper puts what’s happening today in a strategic perspective that can help retailers sort through the issues and come up with a clearer vision of how to plan for to winning in the 2020 marketplace. 

Tip: Don’t be put off by the history in the first part of the paper.  There are plenty of fresh insights in the second half. See page 7 and beyond.

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