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Ep. 19 - Evolution of retail formats: Past, present, and future

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Evolution of retail formats: Past, present, and future. Guarin, Jindal, Ratchford, Fox, Bhatnagar, Pandey, Navallo, Fogarty, Carr & Howerton. 2021. Journal of Retailing.In this paper, the authors review current literature on retail formats and propose a new customer-centric framework for retailers to focus on as they continue to innovate and evolve. Specifically, they review the literature on how formats compare in their attributes and compete with each other; the role of customer behavior in format choice; and developments in multichannel and omnichannel retailing. They propose a framework for retail formats suggesting two paths – either reduce friction in the customer journey or enhance customer experience. They discuss the challenges faced by offline (physical store-first) and online (digital-first) retailers and elaborate on strategies each type of retailer is pursuing to address these challenges. Finally, they offer directions for future research in this domain. They conclude by calling for newer digital-first and physical-first players to continue coming up with different customer-centric formats, which they predict will slowly morph into integrated retailers, leaving space for newer players to enter the market and hence keep the wheel of retailing spinning.