Robin Presents at Cornell Distinguished Speaker Series

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Retail expert stresses that businesses will need to push goods ‘pre-emptively and perpetually’

By Ted Boscia – Cornell Chronicle

Robin Lewis delivers Nixon Distinguished Speaker Series lecture at Cornell University.

Consumer product retailers and wholesalers must rapidly transform their traditional business models to keep pace with an extraordinary shift in power from producers and sellers of goods to consumers, argued acclaimed retail consultant and author Robin Lewis before a large Cornell crowd Oct. 21 in the Statler Ballroom.

If they don’t adapt to the new realities, Lewis warned, “they will lose,” adding that “in the near future the words retail and wholesale will likely cease to exist.”

Lewis, author of The Robin Report, an influential periodical for executives in the apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty and home industries, co-author of the upcoming book, “The New Rules of Retail,” and a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, was on campus to deliver the second Nixon Distinguished Speaker Series lecture.

In his talk, “The End of Retailing — In its Third Wave,” Lewis noted that the transfer of power to consumers has been hastened by globalization, a rise in e-commerce triggered by widespread personal and mobile computing and a saturated marketplace. The result, he said, is an explosion of retailers competing for a limited pool of consumer dollars and higher costs of entry for sellers to merely achieve competitive parity.

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