Over the last decades, the conventional retail model underwent significant changes as technological advancement, globalization, and major socioeconomic shifts occurred. Currently, traditional shopping centers yield power to the Internet, and from activity in which word of mouth was authoritative, it transformed into one where influencers impact buying decisions. Doug Stephens’s “The Retail Revival” envisions how the retail of the future will appear. In this new unprecedented era, many professionals in the field might have become disoriented, and the book under consideration serves to provide guidance and bring clarity. Stephens investigates and portrays present and only forming shopping habits and the phenomena shaping them. Hence, the book represents a comprehensive manual into the new retail era, reimagining customary ideas about the domain.
The first chapter in “The Retail Revival” provides insight into the retail marketplace’s formation how it was known until relatively recently. Stephens begins by portraying the 1940s and 1960s and how the tastes were constructed during the time; in particular, the author assigns a considerable role in this narrative to Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart (Stephens 35). Simplicity, thrift, and uniformity in tastes were primary tendencies, which helped establish hypermarkets offering constant discounts. In the second half of the last century, another essential shift happened – the industrialization of retail. Due to the process, the quality was replaced by abundance and availability, and such concepts as personal service, uniqueness, and artful merchandising become secondary. The way people spend their money also altered, as established during the Second World War need to save, and economic sobriety was disregarded and replaced by higher rates of consumer spending. The government adopted policies to allow free cash flow, as a result of which living off credit became a notable trend. It can be said that the beginning of the book sets the stage for an exploration of current trends by describing trends of the past and how they arose.
The middle of the last century’s social and economic conditions allowed for the creation of a well-defined middle class that currently diminishes. The state of social stratification of the past, particularly the prevalence of the middle class, was also in many ways favorable for retailers. Multiple chain stores emerged and spread across the country, and new products and services were continuously introduced. The second chapter indicates how the era came to its end with the disappearing middle class. Currently, the economic strata do not play as significant a role in the retail market as they used to. Buyers’ preferences and behaviors no longer extensively correlate with the social class to which they belong, as, for instance, household revenue ceased to be a predictor for brand preference. Furthermore, the value of commonness decreased, and the average choice stopped being a popular choice. Overall, in the second chapter, the author paints a gloomy picture for mid-market retailers that primarily relied on the middle class, which for several decades has been in decline. The conclusion bears substantial implications for beginners who consider starting in mid-market retail due to its shrinking size and increasing competitiveness.
The following chapter of “The Retail Revival” continues to unravel the theme established in the previous one – the end of mediocrity in retail. Stephens describes a supposedly common misconception about target consumers whom a large number of marketers picture as a traditional upper-class family with two children and a golden retriever. Accordingly to the author, this is a grave mistake since this socioeconomic image gradually disappears. Stinchcombe’s theory explains this fallacious perception: an organization’s social system is based on social resources available at the time of its creation. Thus, the marketers envision a traditional family as their target consumer because once it indeed was – at the very beginning of their careers. The perception of average consumer formed decades ago should be changed for efficient marketing; it is recommended to operate in terms of households instead of families, since the latter concept transforms. Furthermore, the author accentuates that mediocre service and products that were not an obstacle to success when Walton founded Wal-Mart, in the present can impede it. Multiple socioeconomic circumstances changed consumers’ needs and wants, which are no longer commonplace products or services. Accordingly, retailers should learn to function in this new framework.
The fourth chapter outlines the mediums that were preferred at various stages of the retail market’s evolution. For a sizable period of the twentieth century, television was the predominant form of media. Specifically, via TV, many well-known brands managed to ascend and become monumentalized in media discourse. Moreover, television was efficient with regard to Lewis’s purchase funnel – this type of media was able to create immediate awareness and build extensive interest. Nonetheless, despite its efficiency, the emergence and evolution of the Internet and subsequent descent of television reshaped the retail market anew. The Internet drastically changed the field, allowing consumers to make more informed decisions and providing spaces to interact and directly connect with brands. More alternatives regarding choice, delivery, and pricing also emerged. Additionally, the audience that brands can reach has increased due to online stores, but the brand image became more vulnerable as transparency rose. Therefore, technological advancement and different media types that followed created favorable conditions for brand expansion and changed a unified approach to buyers to a more diversified one.
The phenomena that Stephens describes seem to be ordinarily encountered in the present retail market. To observe them, a visit to a local mall should suffice. Popular fast fashion brands seem to accentuate that they offer everyone an opportunity to choose their individual style and change it regularly, marking the shift from the period when catering to mediocrity was commonplace. Despite being mass-produced, these brands try to transmit messages regarding empowering individuality in their ads. Besides, fast fashion publicity campaigns feature a more diverse population on the surface, which differs from frequently incorporated in the past image of a traditional American family. The brands’ extensive use of social media and online interactions with customers are also consequences of the changes that Stephens described in the fourth chapter. Since currently a growing number of people prefer online shopping, the author’s ideas regarding the Internet’s role appear to be especially poignant.
Due to technological, societal, and economic transformations, the global retail market underwent dramatic changes since the middle of the last century. The first part of Stephens’s “The Retail Revival” provides an insight into this complex process. The four chapters characterize the former prevalent tendencies and reasons for their modification. The author offers recommendations and identifies some dangers that retail professionals could encounter in the new market. Stephens approaches the subject from various perspectives (cultural, social, and economic), creating a comprehensive image of the current state of retail.
Stephens, Doug. The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Hamas Commander Killing In Dubai
Introduction: Facts about the case: Hamas Commander, Mr. Mabhouh, assassinated in Dubai, was the chief Hamas operative. Pursher (Para 1) mentions that he was the main person of Hamas who used to pass on weapons from Iran to Gaza. Mr. Mabhouh was found dead in a luxury hotel on 20 January.He was the man whom Israel always wanted for kidnapping and klling his two soldiers twenty year ago (Prusher, Para 1).
In Gaza, officers of Hamas suspected that initially he died due to heart attack but there were some evidences showing that he was killed by Israeli agents (Prusher, Para 2).
The deputy director of the INSS, Ephriam Kam says that killing of Mabhouh frightens Hamas and Hizbullah. It gives them warning if they attack Israel, they will never be safe anywhere (Prusher, Para 4).
Prusher (Para 10) states though Israel’s Defense Ministry and Israel’s Defense Forces have not commented on Hamas Commander’s killing, yet a defense officer has said that Mabhouh had been followed by Israel extensively due to his involvement in kidnapping and killing two Israeli soldiers (Prusher, Para 10).
Who is responsible for the crime?
Many media channels have given reference of Dubai police that is saying that the Mossad, which is an intelligence agency of Israel, could be put responsible for the killing of Hamas commander but the killers had not been identified as they already ran away from the country (Prusher, Para 13).
Now Dubai police has requested for international manhunt. It has released names and photos of 11 member European hit sqaud who is responsible for stalking and killing Hamas commander. Their plot involves disguises of fake beards and wigs (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 1).
Dubai police authorities have suspected that the suspected killers took the same elevator which was taken by Mabhouh before he was killed in the hotel room (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 2).
But when the Dubai authorities made the names, pictures and passport details of the killers go, it raised several questions. These suspects include six Britons, three Irish and one each from France and Germany (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, 2010, para 3). Ireland denied recognizing the three Irish citizens by saying that such persons donot exist. German ofiicers claim that they donot have complete passport details of the killer suspected from Germany. These details were given to them by Dubai authorties (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 3).
Fake identities are also creating doubts about the case of killing Hamas commander (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 9).
Ireland Departmnet of Foreign Affairs said that it was not able to find the passport records and of those three people showing from Ireland and who have been suspected in this case of murder. The numbers, which they have with them are forged as these are the wrong digits without having any letters (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 10). Ireland has never issued such kinds of passports on such people’s names (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 10).
Germany’s Interior Ministry also commented that the pasport no. given by Dubai police is of five digit number, which is very short and it does not have letters (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para11).
The Dubai police identified a man as a suspect named, Melvyn Adam Mildiner and he was shocked to know about the release of Dubai police which contained his name as a suspect (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 12-14). He told that he holds a British and Israeli passport. He also confirmed his name and the passport number but he was not aware how someone took his UK passport (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 12-14).
Dubai officers have stated that they would take the help of Intepol in this case. They will also force individual nations to supprt them in finding out the suspects (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 15).
Dubai Police Chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim has menationed about some scrutiny video clips which illustrate the arrival of those suspected people at airport and their quick departures to Europe and Asia (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 16). It happened before Mabhouh’s body was found in the hotel (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 16).
Tamim mentioned that these suspects came to Dubai in different times, staked Mabhouh in the hotel, paid all expenses, used different phone cards so they should not be traced out. They were all in disguise including a woman wearing a wig, a big hat and sunglasses (Dubai: European hit squad killed Hamas leader, para 17-18).
What was the method for killing the victim?
Hamas officres suspected that he died initially due to heart attack (Prusher, Para 2). But different media sources are giving different reports as a Palestinian source said that traces of poison have been found in his body (Oweis, Para 19).
Fayek, Mabhouh’s brother told Reuters that Mabhouh was killed by squeezing his throat and taking his life out after giving him electric shock (Oweis, Para 20).
Reporting to Interpol: In my report to Interpol, I would prefer to address the chief inspector of crime and fraud that must be an efficient designatory in solving this case.
“Dubai: European Hit Squad killed Hamas Leader”. 2010. Web.
Oweis, Khaled Yacoub. 2010. “Hamas says top commander killed by Israel in Dubai”. Reuters. Web.
Prusher, Ilene R, 2010. “Israel: Hamas commander killed in Dubai was key arms smuggler”. The Cristian Science Monitor. Web.
WeWork Company’s Postponement Of Initial Public Offering
WeWork is among the leading share-workspace company in the world. It has been showing a positive rate of growth since its inception. However, in recent years, poor governance and financial performance have been a major concern, which led to the postponing of its IPO. The investors realized that the organization’s valuation was $47 billion and had been making losses (Why Wework’s Business Model Is Risky). Additionally, WeWork’s business is risky, which does not give investors an incentive to buy shares.
The WeWork business model is about renting office spaces through long-term lease contracts. It rents large buildings that are strategically positioned at cheap rates. The company then re-rents them to small businesses, individuals, and start-ups at higher charges to generate revenue. WeWork offers flexible terms to the clients, making it attractive to individuals and businesses with a non-permanent area of operation. Persons and organizations can hire the spaces ranging from hours to months. It offers different plans to its clients, including we membership, hot desk, dedicated desk, and private offices (Why Wework’s Business Model Is Risky). The business model is risky because WeWork takes spaces at a price without any guarantee that it will have customers.
It is challenging for the company to be profitable because of increasing international competition and changes in the business environment. WeWork is already operating in debts, and much of the office spaces it has rented have not been hired. The firm’s competitors and new entrants in the market, such as KNOTEL, offer similar services at more affordable and flexible terms (Why Wework’s Business Model Is Risky). As a result, the company will continue losing clients to the rivals. The rise of internet connection across countries for domestic use is an important factor hampering the demand for office spaces. Individuals can work remotely from their homes, minimizing the need for businesses to rent large workplaces to accommodate their employees. Therefore, WeWork will continue having losses since its rental fee obligations are more than ten times higher than the revenue it generates from customers.
The interesting peculiarities about WeWork are related to the way the company operates, which may have contributed to the losses it has been recording in recent years. According to the firm’s business model, they hire office spaces and rent them to the customers. Remarkably, WeWork leases buildings for an average of 15 years, whereas members’ average rate of occupancy at a cost is 15 months (Why Wework’s Business Model Is Risky). Such a plan is interesting because it shows the highest level of optimism despite the increased risks for incurring financial damage in the event of changes in the business environment, natural or human-made disasters, or such pandemics as Covid-19. The company’s hopefulness is also a remarkable phenomenon, which is evident since it continues to operate even though it recorded a significant loss in 2018, when it generated revenue of $1.8 billion and a net loss of $1.6 billion (Webb 11). Indeed, WeWork is confident that it will become profitable in the future.
WeWork’s board of directors fired Adam Neumann as a CEO because of his eccentric behavior and accusation of drug use, which was in the public domain. His lifestyle raised questions about his interests in the company. He was using expensive private jets on his trips to different countries, paid by the company, despite knowing the company was experiencing financial crisis. During the summer of 2019, he was smoking marijuana while in Gulfstream G650 private jet (Brown 1). The incident annoyed the jet owner since he feared the consequences of trans-border marijuana shipment. The occurrence was also detrimental to the company’s reputation if he continues to be the CEO. Therefore, they had to fire him to protect the WeWork status and interest of stakeholders.
Brown, Eliot. “How Adam Neumann’s Over-the-Top Style Built WeWork. ‘This is not the way everybody behaves.’”. WSJ, 2019, Web.
”Why Wework’s Business Model Is Risky” WSJ. 2019, Web.
Webb, Kevin. “11 Mind-Blowing Facts about WeWork’s Global Business as It Prepares for a Massive IPO”. Business Insider Africa, 2019, Web.