At the annual category management conference this year, the head of innovation and creativity for Walt Disney, Duncan Wardle suggested that if attendees see themselves in the retailing business, they are likely to be out-of-business by 2030.
The vast majority of products can be bought online, so if you are not offering your customers an experience, he predicts you will be gone by 2030.
Wardle cited a historical example from Walt Disney’s business over 80 years ago. When the 1940 movie Fantasia was released to theatres, Walt Disney wanted the theatre operators to spritz the audience with water when water was onscreen. Operators refused indicating too expensive, too hard, and too much trouble (sound familiar).
So what did Walt do? He opened Disneyland 15 years later in 1955. Walt wanted to control the environment when he was telling stories to movie-goers.
Retailers, likewise have to control the environment when they are telling stories. They need to think of their business as storytelling. Visit Whole Foods, or Eataly and see, feel, and taste the experience.
Wardle closed with the thought of the power of AI and the things that it cannot do. Creativity, imagination, curiosity, and intuition are 4 elements that retailers can differentiate themselves with.