The Store of the Future Is Not a Store

People don’t have to go to stores anymore, they have to want to go to stores


Author Lee Peterson EVP, Thought Leadership & Marketing WD Partners Although we've been talking about that statement for quite some time now, this year has really taken it to another level. Store and mall traffic were at all-time lows in 2019 but boy, would we take those numbers now. Many retailers were closed, literally closed...

Retail Healthcare is Here

Author Dan Stanek Executive Vice President WD Partners CVS announces 1,500 HealthHub locations. Walmart pilots Walmart Health. Walmart has nearly 5,000 locations (US). After initial testing in 20 stores, Walgreens expands primary care clinic test to 700 locations, which is to say; it’s working. What was once a minor threat to healthcare systems —a test...

How to be the Amazon of Auto Sales

Authors John Bajorek EVP, Strategic Growth & Innovation WD Partners Mark Bateman VP, Business Development WD Partners Tara Yavorsky VP, Marketing WD Partners The auto industry has seen a lot of changes in the last few years, including car shares and subscriptions, the rise of car tech and driverless cars, and the entry of “new”...

It’s Time to Reimagine the Dental Experience

Author Dan Stanek Executive Vice President WD Partners Consumerism has been traveling its way across healthcare to all tentacles of the industry. The provider/doctor-led ways of the past have finally moved toward putting the people in control. More comfortable and interesting waiting lounges, customer-friendly appointment times, virtual healthcare. All of these things have made life...

2020 Predictions—Where Are We Now?

Author Tara Yavorsky VP, Marketing WD Partners Because 2020 has been the year of "what the…", we thought it would be fun to look back at the article we published at the beginning of this crazy a$$ year and see what has come to fruition, what was a wild guess, and what still has a...

How to Reorganize Like a 21st Century Business

Authors Joanne Heyob SVP, Operations Strategy & Design WD Partners John Bajorek EVP, Strategic Growth & Innovation WD Partners Lee Peterson EVP, Thought Leadership & Marketing WD Partners We recently heard someone say that the Coronavirus didn’t disrupt retail—it actually accelerated retail. We couldn’t agree more. Brands have been catapulted into a dramatic state of...

WD’s State of Shopping Research

Author Lee Peterson EVP, Thought Leadership & Marketing WD Partners No one truly knows what will happen post-COVID, mostly because we haven’t reached the post part yet. The country has tried to make some semblance of a reopening happen to various levels, but most would agree that we’re not where we all want to be...

More Than a Store: The Grocery Store of the Future

Authors Lee Peterson EVP, Thought Leadership & Marketing WD Partners Joanne Heyob SVP, Operations Strategy & Design WD Partners The grocery industry, as a whole, has been reluctant to change. For years, brands have been comfortable knowing they provided an essential service for customers. Executives have seen innovation as an unneeded expense instead of an...

5 Ways Healthcare is Changing Forever

Author Dan Stanek Executive Vice President WD Partners It is time for the healthcare industry to embrace the change it’s facing. Think about the combination of major factors that are all affecting the industry at the same time. Technology. New competition. A global pandemic. Healthcare providers who refuse to adjust to this new reality may...

Accelerating Trends in the Physical Space

Authors Jody Wasbro SVP, Strategy & Experience Design WD Partners John Bajorek EVP, Strategic Growth & Innovation WD Partners Things will never really be the same again. We can all agree on that right? Will you ever lick your fingers before trying to pry open the fresh produce bag at the grocery store again? Will...

Best of WDCast

Looking for something to listen to as you walk the dog for the 100th time? Or maybe you need a break from hearing your kids bickering over what to watch on Netflix? Well have we got a treat for you! Meet WDCast—our bi-weekly(ish) podcast that features industry thought leaders, movers, shakers and all around wicked...

The Store of the Future is Not a Store

The following is a preview of our upcoming white paper. The last couple months have seemingly changed everything about stores. Social distancing. Employees behind shields. Customers wearing masks. And how about these stories exemplifying how quickly things have changed: Walmart’s app sees record downloads, surpasses Amazon by 20% (TechCrunch) Amazon stops accepting new online grocery...

21st Century Grocery: Open for Business

In the last two months we’ve witnessed an already turbulent grocery market explode into a flurry of activity. From safety measures, to empty shelves, to reduced store hours and all the missing toilet paper, grocers are being forced to respond and react quickly to the changing and demanding needs of their associates and customers. This...

Restaurant Solutions for Today’s Operators

The current time frame is quite possibly the biggest learning period for restaurants in history. All restaurants are learning ways to shift their offerings when dining rooms are closed. Some restaurants are learning what it’s like to open up after being closed for weeks or months. Followed by restaurants learning from those that are in...

How Consumers Are Driving the Future of Healthcare

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the trajectory and plans for many businesses into the future. While the impact on retail, travel, hospitality and food service are widely publicized, the impact on healthcare has also been quite substantial. Like retail, some trends were occurring already, and are now accelerated through this crisis. As we look to...

Grocery Operations: Your Questions Answered

The impact of COVID-19 has thrown an already turbulent grocery market into a flurry of activity. From safety measures, to empty shelves, to reduced store hours and all the missing toilet paper, grocers are being forced to respond and react quickly to the changing and demanding needs of their associates and customers. The majority of...

WDCast: What’s on the Other Side of This?

We interrupt your regular programming for more COVID-19 news! In all seriousness, we decided to create a special series of WDCast episodes (both in podcast and video form) where we talk to experts about just one thing: what comes after this? We’ve hand-selected a group of damn smart people (in our humble opinion) that also...

The Restaurant of the Future Is Not a Restaurant

You would think it would be impossible for the definition of “restaurant” to change. It’s a fairly straightforward concept. restaurant (noun) – a place where people pay to sit and eat meals that are cooked and served on the premises Well, all apologies to Merriam-Webster, but it’s not that simple anymore. Yet at the same...

Bringing Food to Life in Retail

People want food at malls and shopping centers. Not boring food courts. Real flavor-town foodie food. If you missed our white paper where people said as much, here you go. Now is the time to take food even deeper into today’s retail world. The dying brands in retail today have proven this isn’t the time...

Extreme Makeover – Retail Edition

If you know, you know. It’s a big deal to convert yesterday’s basic transactional store into a 21st century omni-optimized micro-fulfillment center. But in order to compete with the ultimate retailer that goes by the name of Amazon, retailers need to make big changes to stores themselves and the operations that makes them run like...

Competing for Brand Advocates

Of all the business concepts that made waves last year—sustainable packaging, experiential flagships, and check-out free stores, to name a few—nothing seemed to dominate the headlines (and start-up job postings) more than state-of-the-art workplaces. From WeWork coworking offices to Bark’s dog-centric spaces, employers’ quest to level-up their work environments has reached new heights. And for...

Writing the Prescription for Wellness in Healthcare

When we think about how we define “health,” increasing numbers of people are defining it well beyond “not being sick.” Our healthcare system, however, is built to treat us when we’re sick instead of keeping us well. Start-ups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists recognized the missed opportunity, and consumers found the endless wealth of wellness knowledge....

Amazon Won, Now What?

For most of the last decade, it was Amazon versus the world of brick-and-mortar. Now, the competitive challenge is no longer complicated to define: Amazon is one of the fastest growing companies in the history of American business.1 And this growth story—unprecedented, immense, rocket-like, (choose your superlative!)—does not come with a happy ending for most...

Does Walmart have a Love/Hate Problem?

It simply didn’t make sense at first blush: About half the people said they loved Walmart; the other half said they don’t. Even more confounding, such sharp customer polarization often hinged on the same metric: customer service. How did the world’s largest retailer manage to measure up to half the people, even as it failed...

The Amazon Formula for Delivering What Consumers Want

Amazon isn’t an easy competitor to predict. After all, much can be gained by analyzing how Amazon pulled such a victory off. Therefore, we want to review the three things Amazon not only did right, but the three things consumers now want most. We asked 4,000 consumers what brand attributes they consider to be most...

NYC Retail Tour

No city does retail like New York City. And Frank Sinatra was right. If you can make it there, you likely can make it anywhere. We don’t think he was talking about retail when he belted the iconic tune, but just go with it. As a major proving ground for success, just about every type...

First Financial

Gone are the days of bland, beige bank branches that only performed the standard transactional financial functions. When First Financial came to WD Partners with the desire to further engage the community and strengthen is local business relationships, we realized there was only one thing to do: Un-think the bank. First Financial wanted to shake...

2020 Predictions

A new day. A new year. A new decade! What better way to start fresh than with a list of business predictions. We gathered several predictions directly from some of our guests on our podcast WDCast. In addition, we talked to several of our thought leaders here at WD Partners. What does the next year...

Restaurant of the Future – Part 2

In Restaurant of the Future – Part 1, we explored the industry pressures and environmental trends that are impacting today’s restaurant operators, and how future-forward brands are adapting to compete. We concluded with a recommendation outlining three principles that brands will need to nail in order to be successful in the future: Serve Up Solutions...

The Holly Jolly Customer: How to Win at Retail

The adage "the customer is always right" is not new. But never has it been truer than this year. The "Uberization" of retail—give me what I want when and how I want it—has shifted the way customers expect to interact with brands and retailers and it's not going to change anytime soon. In an upcoming...

Krispy Kreme

I scream, you scream, we all scream for doughnut-infused ice cream! And where can such a thing be found? The ultimate Krispy Kreme store in Concord, North Carolina—the brand's first comprehensive store redesign in over a decade. WD was thrilled to take on this unique challenge of efficiently creating a new store to be used...

The Naughty or Nice List

As we prepare to put a bow on 2019, we thought it would be fitting to ask the experts (our own WD associates) which brands they'd put on the naughty or nice list. In no particular order, here are a few brands that are standing out for all the right or wrong reasons. Naughty Abercrombie...

No Such Thing as a Store

They don’t call them stores. They call them galleries.1 It sounds a bit pompous, but those are Elon Musk galleries. Tesla doesn’t do anything the way everyone else has always done things, which begins to explain why their 200 locations aren’t showrooms, either. And most certainly not that 20th century anachronism: "stores". Tesla isn’t really...

Restaurant of the Future – Part 1

Robot chefs. AI taking drive-thru orders. Drone delivery. A tech-influenced restaurant industry is no longer a far-off future. It’s here. And it has been brought on by some of the most disruptive industry pressures: labor shortages, time-poor consumers, interest in conscious consumption, and the overwhelming need for an elevated consumer experience. In part one of...

What If Stores Innovated Like Restaurants?

When looking at the top of the list on Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200, it’s clear the leading restaurants are constantly innovating. Here are a few examples: #9 – Domino’s As the delivery challenge continues to confound restaurants everywhere, Domino’s is the chain most brands want to be like. Today the company is more logistics...

The Rise of Recommerce

As the seasons begin to change, many people are vying to create that perfect fall wardrobe to make themselves the envy of all of their friends and followers (if you’re into that sort of thing). But let’s be honest—it’s likely that there are some pieces in their closet that haven’t seen the light of day...

How to Innovate Like a Rebel

Calling all rebels: get ready to embrace a counterintuitive approach to preparing for the future. But before we get into why this approach is essential in the modern era of reinvention, let’s recognize the elephant in the room—innovation…it’s a buzzword that is right up there with “disruption, omnichannel, synergy and work-life balance”. But why and...

Shake Shack

Few, if any, restaurant openings bring the people out like a Shake Shack opening. When a city, state or region gets its first location, the hype is real. The lines may be crazy, but customers don’t seem to mind. They’re celebrating. They’re pumped. They’re ready to finally have their dream burger spot in their own...

Got 99 Problems? Amazon Won

The competitive challenge is no longer complicated to define anymore: Amazon is one of the fastest growing companies in the history of American business.1 This growth story—unprecedented, immense, rocket-like, (choose your superlative!)—does not come with a happy ending for most retailers. Stores are closing in rapid-fire fashion. An estimated 75,000 stores—clothing, electronics and furniture—will close...

WDCast: All Business, No Jargon

After repeatedly hearing, “you guys should really do a podcast”, we decided what the people want, the people get. So we did a thing! We made a podcast. It’s called WDCast and it launched in June. The premise is simple: let’s talk about the change happening in our business and the world. Disruption is the...

Purina/Schnucks

According to a 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households have a pet.1 Whether a dog, cat, turtle, rabbit or lizard, most consider their pet part of the family. When it comes to shopping for pets, however, most stores don’t deliver an experience that a loved family member deserves. Pet parents deserve...

Stores as Fulfillment Centers

Over the past decade, we have watched companies fight tooth and nail for their survival amid the industry's metamorphic digital revolution. The retail apocalypse is raging on more aggressively than ever, and previously dominant brands are now suffering from losses that are forcing them to abandon 100s of their brick-and-mortar locations. All in all, around...

Is Amazon Retail’s Permanent Disruptor?

Disruptive. Innovative. Destructive. Transformative. All words that have been used to describe the new and ever-evolving technologies rapidly flooding every corner of the industry today. BOPIS, cashierless checkouts, digitalized shelving and robot assistants that look like they’ve walked (or rolled) straight out of a sci-fi movie are creating a retail landscape that not even the...

What If Amazon Didn’t Exist?

Birds are chirping. Bees are buzzing. Dogs are relaxed, because they aren’t worried about the Prime truck pulling up twice a day. It was a simpler time before Amazon changed retail as we know it. We were totally cool with our online order taking a week to get to us. We were just happy we...