Ron Johnson loves stores but says retail is moving to ‘commerce at home’
Ron Johnson, the former CEO of J.C. Penney (that didn’t go well) who also ran Apple’s retail business and was vice president of merchandising at Target (two resume burnishers), thinks the retail industry is moving towards a major disruption arising out of technological advancements and a subsequent shift in the way consumers shop.
He calls this paradigm shift “commerce at home” in an opinion piece published yesterday on Fortune.
Mr. Johnson asserts that commerce at home is already underway. He cites a readiness on the part of consumers to shop differently, with three-quarters, according to McKinsey, having tried new ways of shopping since the pandemic hit the U.S. last year.
“Over the last several years, we have turned our homes into hotel rooms, our cars into taxis and our spare bedrooms into fitness studios,” writes Mr. Johnson, who asserts that all three examples are representative of commerce at home.
Mr. Johnson writes that consumers are already constantly deciding whether to go to a store or to place their orders online. He thinks that stores will become less relevant as retailers are able to offer customers “the products they love accompanied by a high-touch, in-home experience tailored just for them.”
He points to his Apple experience as support for his thesis. “One of the most frequent compliments I heard from customers leaving the Genius Bar was: ‘I wish I could take you home with me.’”
Mr. Johnson’s current venture, Enjoy, has been described as a “Genius Bar on wheels.” He called Enjoy “a personal commerce platform” when he launched the company in 2015.
He doesn’t believe that consumers will have to keep making the choice between convenience, a major benefit of current online shopping, and high-quality experiences, typically associated with stores.
Consumers, today, demand convenience and no longer tolerate poor experiences. Commerce from home represents a logical progression from where retail stands now. Getting to that next place is something worth embracing and celebrating when it happens, he concludes.
- Apple and Target retail guru Ron Johnson: Commerce at home will change the way we shop – Fortune
- Will Ron Johnson ‘Enjoy’ his comeback? – Retailwire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see retail in the future combining the convenience of online shopping with high quality experiences in the homes of consumers instead of in stores? Are consumers and retail already heading in this direction and what will it take to get there?