What Makes For Remarkable Retail With Steve Dennis

July 26, 2021



Our special guest, Steve Dennis, joins us to discuss the importance of centering all operations around the customer and eliminating cumbersome silos in order to enable a frictionless experience.

What are some of the ways that you think retailers can re-imagine their store layouts to accommodate modern buying behaviors? How should retailers approach measuring success for physical retail? What is Steve’s message for retailers that continue to be resistant to change?


  • We ask these questions and more of our special guest, Steve Dennis, Founder of SageBerry Consulting, retail guru, and best-selling author.
  • Steve talks about the importance of centering all operations around the customer and eliminating cumbersome silos in order to enable a frictionless experience. He brings a pragmatic view to the current retail landscape and what it takes to survive and thrive.

Conversation Rundown

[ 3:30-6:45 ] Radical reset in retail
The retail industry has changed drastically in the past decade with the rise of eCommerce. In Steve's words, it's not enough to simply be good. Hence his book, Remarkable Retail, which is an incredible read that one can't recommend enough.

[ 9:09-11:20 ] How to stand out
It's hard for retailers to stand out nowadays. Brand positioning is more important than ever with all of the competition out there. It used to be all about location. Today, it's all about the experience you create for your customers, either online or in-store. It's about being memorable, seamless, and accessible.

[ 12:38-16:05 ] Buying vs Shopping
There's a distinction to be made before buying and shopping. Buying is about having a very specific mission - it's a purely transactional process. Shopping is about discovery. The in-store experience has really transitioned from buying to shopping. If customers just wanted to check out, they can do so online, and they have a lot of options on that front. Therefore, offering a mediocre experience in-store won't cut it. A lot of investment is required, and it's an investment in particular technologies and processes.

[ 16:28-19:13 ] Store design to accommodate modern buying expectations
Retailers need to get away from being average, to quote Steve Dennis. The key to successful and memorable store design is understanding your customers and how they shop. Do they come in-store to shop? Do they come to pick orders up? Do they come to try things on before they order online? Store layout has historically been about maximizing floor space. But with the expansion of ship-from-store and BOPIS, that no longer makes sense.

[ 25:03-27:07 ] How to harmonize retail
A harmonized shopping experience is the retail holy grail. That harmony depends on your ability to reorganize around the customer. You need to become channel agnostic. You need to stop talking about eCommerce and in-store sales as two completely separate departments. And that means your KPIs and metrics need to change, too.

[ 32:33-36:31 ] How retailers can make change
Retailers need to be brave enough to take a leap. Too many retailers that do have the funds necessary to make key investments don't do it because of the risk involved. They don't want to be the first, second, or even third to try something. They want to go with the safe option time and time again. You simply can't be an innovative brand with that mindset. In retail, when you fall behind you also lose share of mind.

Meet the Expert

Kenny Anderson, start-up board advisor for unRisky Business and former Vice President of Merchandising for top luxury brands including Hugo Boss and Armani. Kenny truly believes that you have to meet your customers where they are and cater to their needs, and that can only be achieved by paying attention to behaviors and discourse

Retail Tips & Tweetables

There's a lot of investment in physical retail that is not built for modern retail.

Consumers value you today on their last best experience.

More and more retailers are realizing that stores are a great medium of advertising for their eCommerce business.

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