General Session Speaker

Doug Stephens

Author and Founder
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Retail Prophet

Is retail over? Did the pandemic lead to the end of brick and mortar stores? Will ChatGPT replace our workforce? Not so fast, says DOUG STEPHENS, bestselling author and founder of a global retail consultancy. While it may not look like it used to, retail is here to stay, and customers still crave a physical—and more emotional—retail experience. The real key for business success will be learning to understand an entirely new set of social norms, behaviors, and competitive threats that we face today. Doug will show you how to identify and take advantage of these trends, preparing your business to enter a “narrow but crucial window of opportunity for brands with courage.” His savvy, dynamic, and highly engaging insights will teach you how to recognize patterns, see the big picture, and lean into the creativity that has never been more essential than right now.

Doug Stephens is one of the world’s leading retail and consumer futurists, and a top global retail influencer. His work has influenced the most widely known international retailers, agencies, and brands in the world, including Walmart, Google, Estée Lauder, BMW, Disney, and LVMH. Doug helps these organizations understand how trends in demographics, global economics, AI, and media are constantly altering the relationship between consumers and brands. In a world where consumers are now empowered with technology—becoming experts in their own right—we have to learn from consumers to ensure that we look forward, not backward, when it comes to innovative retail strategies. Doug’s insights will leave you entertained, enlightened, and inspired to put his wisdom into action.

Doug’s books have always been at the cutting edge of what comes next and what we need to know now to succeed tomorrow. His first two books Retail Revival (2013) and Reengineering Retail (2017) accurately predicted the transformation of retail in the post-digital world. His latest release is Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business in a Post-Pandemic World (2021) is even more timely and is an essential road map for how the retail industry will transform in the aftermath of the pandemic and how retail and consumer behaviors have changed forever. Doug details how consumers deal with crisis, how to succeed in an unstable marketplace, and how to determine which habits formed during the pandemic are here to stay. Resurrecting Retail  “clears the fog around a post-pandemic retail landscape, and shines a spotlight on resilient retailers who will find a way to thrive in it” (Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify).

Prior to founding his global consulting, Doug spent over 20 years in retail, holding senior international leadership roles. He sits on multiple corporate and academic advisory boards. His unique perspectives on retail, business, and consumer behavior have been featured in the New York TimesTechCrunch, the BBC, and Fast Company. As a retail and consumer expert, Doug’s views and insights have appeared in the Wall Street JournalForbesChicago TribuneFortuneBusiness Insider, and Business of Fashion.