The retail world is changing and evolving. Retailers must battle more competitors on key points such as convenience, quality and price. Meanwile, customers find it convenient and easy to shop around and look for social proof to justify a potential purchase. In addition, consumers can research products and may look at dividing traditionally bundled purchases into multiple, smaller purchases. The special guest in this episode is Ian Shepherd who calls this the “New Normal.” He has created 6 new rules for reinventing retail. These rules help define how the world works now and, in particular, what you must to do win in our digitally enabled world.

In this podcast, we dive into the fantastic contents of his new book, Reinventing Retail.You’ll discover:

  • What is the New Normal and why is it so important to understand this?
  • What are the 6 rules that Ian has defined?
  • Where do retailers tend to slip up or make mistakes most?

Introducing Ian Shepherd

Ian Shepherd headshotIan Shepherd has held a number of senior roles at a variety of retailers and consumer facing businesses.

His deep experience includes a number of very senior positions at leading retail and consumer facing businesses. These include Chief Operating Officer at Odeon Cinemas and CEO at Game Group plc. He has also held a variety of commercial, marketing and leadership roles at major brands, including Vodafone and Sky TV.

During this time, the world has evolved into the digital world that we live in today. In turn, he’s seen and learnt what makes businesses grow and succeed. But, he’s also seen the other end of the spectrum where retailers have been challenged and failed.

His eyes are wide open to the evolving and changing world that we live in. Ian is curious to continue to learn and challenge himself and he works with companies in and around the retail industry.

Connect with Ian on LinkedIn or on Twitter (@IanAShepherd).

The “New Normal”

The retail landscape has significantly changed over recent years. The internet and other changes have driven a number of important evolutions. We all have access to information at the swipe of a finger. We enjoy sharing our own experiences with products and brands. Plus, we collectively and diligently consider points of view from other people that we don’t even know.

The New Normal is the term that Ian uses to describe our new world.

“And it’s that kind of perfect/imperfect, noisy, cluttered information world in which we now live, which I dubbed as the New Normal for for the want of any kind of better terminology just to capture that change from a couple of decades ago to today.”

Ian Shepherd

Meanwhile, competition has increased dramatically and ecommerce offers a fiercely competitive battlefield.

If you want to find out more about the changing world that we live in, then you should also listen to episode 44: The Problem with Digital Transformation.

In the introduction of his book, Ian Shepherd shares a potential long term economist’s view. They would think that it is entirely natural that old businesses lose their way in the changing world. Instead, new companies will pop up in their place. But Ian has a different view. This is an extract from Reinventing Retail:

“At some macro-economic level that’s true, but we make a terrible mistake if we think that that means we should let established retail brands fail without a fight.”

Ian Shepherd, Renovating Retail

6 rules that drive sales and grow profits

Ian Shepherd has created 6 rules which are based on some of the fundamental changes going on in the market.

Ian is very familiar with the challenges facing retailers, having been there before. He recognises that it’s not a simple answer to move the industry forward. However, to stay competitive and stay in business, it is essential to reinvent or transform your retail business in line with these rules:

  1. Someone is going to sell your product at cost or even less.
  2. Everyone knows everything – nothing is a secret.
  3. Reputation matters and will make or break a business.
  4. Location matters, but for different reasons that it used to.
  5. Knowing your customer is key – flying blind won’t end well.
  6. If a product or process can be simplified, it will be.

Listen to the full episode or buy a copy of Reinventing Retail to discover more about each of these rules.

In the podcast, Ian is also reflects on his experiences and the very real challenges and reality that retailers face:

“We had several experiences in my time running Game of seeing, for example, supermarkets selling video games for £3 when you buy your groceries. That’s a kind of price competition, a kind of intensity of price competition that, we just didn’t see 20 or 30 years ago.”

Ian Shepherd

Reinventing Retail: The new rules that drive sales an grow profits - Ian ShepherdReinventing Retail: the book

In Reinventing Retail, Ian starts with the 6 rules to describe and define the New Normal. He illustrates this with examples from his own experiences and other retailers. Plus, it also includes actionable next steps to make it easy to get started.

The book also includes guidance to make these changes happen. And that is exactly what we will be diving into in the second part of the book in part 2.

Buy the book on

Make sure that you tune in for epiode 46 where we’ll be finishing this conversation.


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