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Steve Dennis

President & Founder/Senior Contributor at SageBerry Consulting/Forbes

DALLAS, United States

16925 Followers

Steve Dennis is a consultant, keynote speaker and author focused on retail growth and innovation. He has been named a top global retail influencer by multiple organizations and his thoughts on the future of shopping are regularly shared in his role as a Forbes Senior Contributor.

During a 30 year career as a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers–and more recently as a strategic advisor–Steve has worked with dozens of retail, consumer, luxury and social impact brands to inspire, catalyze and design their journey to remarkable results.

As a sought-out keynote speaker, Steve has delivered talks on six continents, sharing his unique perspective on what it takes to reignite customer growth in a world of constant change and shifting consumer preferences.

He has contributed commentary to Bloomberg/Business Week, the BBC, CNBC, CNN, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal, among many others.

Steve is currently the President of SageBerry Consulting. Prior to founding SageBerry, he was the chief strategy officer and SVP, multichannel marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group.

Steve received his MBA from Harvard and a BA from Tufts University.

His first book, Remarkable Retail: How to Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Digital Disruption, will be published in April, 2020.

Available For: Consulting, Influencing, Speaking
Travels From: Dallas, TX
Speaking Topics: Retail, Innovation, Ecommerce

Steve DennisPoints
Academic0
Author159
Influencer169
Speaker11
Entrepreneur0
Total339

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Service Provider

Areas of Expertise

Analytics
Business Strategy 32.59
Change Management
CRM
Customer Experience 37.49
Design Thinking
Digital Disruption 34.16
Digital Transformation 32.30
Entrepreneurship
Innovation 30.08
Leadership
Management
Marketing
Open Innovation
Predictive Analytics
Retail 65.54
Startups
Customer Loyalty 30.29

Industry Experience

Professional Services
Retail
Wholesale Distribution

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Publications

59 Article/Blogs
Retail Predictions For 2019: A Midyear Status Report
Import from forbes.com
July 31, 2019
Retailers that fail to pick a lane and execute against the essential elements of remarkable retail are on their way to the retail graveyard.

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Tags: Retail

Has Amazon Hit A Wall?
Import from forbes.com
July 30, 2019
While most companies would kill for what counts as "bad" growth rates at Amazon— and one quarter does not amount to a trend—pay attention when growth trends slow and margins start to compress.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Innovation, Retail

The Toys Are Back In Town: A Reimagined Toys ‘R’ Us Returns
Import from forbes.com
July 22, 2019
As it turns out, reports of Toys 'R' Us' death may have been greatly exaggerated.

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Here We Go Again. Can Barneys Survive In Luxury's New World?
Import from forbes.com
July 18, 2019
Many wonder whether the iconic Manhattan-based luxury retailer might be destined for the retail graveyard.

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What We Get Wrong Every Year About Amazon Prime Day
Import from forbes.com
July 14, 2019
You don't need to know any so-called retail prophets to be certain that the volume will be massive and that sales will be up considerably over last year.

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With The RealReal's Blockbuster IPO, Is 'Recommerce' Retail's Next Big Thing?
Import from forbes.com
July 01, 2019
The luxury reseller raised $300 million in its initial public offering and saw its shares soar nearly 45% before settling in at at a market capitalization of $2.4 billion. Recommerce brands are garnering lots of attention, but what does the future hold?

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Pier 1 Imports: From Bad To Worse To Dire
Import from forbes.com
June 28, 2019
The company, which only last week completed a 1-for-20 reverse stock split to avoid its shares being delisted, delivered an abysmal 15.5% drop in sales and its operating losses nearly tripled.

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Retail Delivery Wars: Smart Strategy Or An Inevitable Race To The Bottom?
Import from forbes.com
June 27, 2019
As Target, Walmart and Amazon keep adding more, faster and cheaper delivery the consumer is the obvious winner. But what does this all mean for retailers' profits?

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Neiman Marcus Kicks The Can Down The Road. So Now What?
Import from forbes.com
June 12, 2019
With the restructuring of its heavy debt load, Neiman Marcus has bought time to improve its operations. But as a mature brand in a changing luxury environment, the company is challenged to perform in ways it hasn't in more than a decade.

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Tags: Retail

Forbes Contributor Site
Forbes
June 03, 2019

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Tags: Retail

Omnichannel Is Dead. The Future Is Harmonized Retail
Import from forbes.com
June 03, 2019
Omnichannel is dead. Over-used, ill-defined and never the panacea it was made out to be. It was never about being everywhere. It's about showing up where it really matters in remarkable ways, eliminating discordant notes and amplifying the wow. This is harmonized retail.

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Tags: Retail

Kohl's, JC Penney And The Relentless Collapse Of Retail's Boring Middle
Import from forbes.com
May 21, 2019
Kohl's and JC Penney both reported poor sales and earnings in the most recent quarter. We shouldn't be surprised. Retail's bifurcation continues apace, and the middle continues to collapse.

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Tags: Retail

Bed, Bath & Beyond Boring: The Challenges Facing The Retailer As CEO Temares Steps Down
Import from forbes.com
May 13, 2019
Bed, Bath & Beyond stuck to its category-killer strategy even as the rest of retail moved on, becoming the poster child for both poor execution and an inability to respond to the collapse of the boring and mediocre middle. A radical rethink is required, or it risks falling into irrelevance.

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Tags: Retail

Nordstrom's 'Local' Expansion Has National Implications For All Of Retail
Import from forbes.com
May 02, 2019
Nordstrom's expansion of its Local concept to New York City suggests a national roll-out may be in the offing. But the bigger lesson for all retailers is to rethink the customer experience and to reimagine formats to maximize growth.

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Tags: Retail

Succeeding In Retail Is All About Experience -- Here's What That Means
Import from forbes.com
April 25, 2019
Experiential retail is all the rage, generating experiments on the part of many retailers and garnering plenty of media attention. Unfortunately we lack a useful working definition of what we delivering on "experience" means and the steps to create remarkable outcomes.

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Tags: Retail

Will Story Help Macy's Launch An Exciting New Chapter?
Import from forbes.com
April 15, 2019
Last week Macy's launched Story shops in 36 stores. The move comes less than a year after Macy's acquired the Story brand and made its founder Rachel Schechtman its new brand experience officer. Are the new concepts enough to just start a revival at the iconic but struggling department store chain?

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Tags: Retail

Is Canada Goose Luxury Retail's Next Highflier?
Import from forbes.com
April 11, 2019
Digitally native vertical fashion brands may garner the most attention, but luxury outwear brand Canada Goose is generating strong growth with plenty of untapped global potential. And, unlike many so-called unicorns, they are making tons of money.

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Tags: Retail

Despite Defying The 'Retail Apocalypse,' At Home Reportedly Puts Itself Up For Sale
Import from forbes.com
April 08, 2019
Despite concerns over the "retail apocalypse" At Home has demonstrated robust store, sales and margin growth. But recent weakness has cast doubts about future performance and turned the company into a possible takeover target.

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Tags: Retail

Sears Tries Small Stores -- Again. Here's Why They'll Fail -- Again
Import from forbes.com
April 05, 2019
This week Sear announced a new off-the-mall format to showcase its once dominant home brands. Alas, it's a repeat of many things that were tried unsuccessfully in the past and it's clearly too little, too late.

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Tags: Retail

Wayfair Joins The 'Online-Only' March Into Physical Stores
Import from forbes.com
March 31, 2019
The e-commerce home furnishings giant finally announced the opening of its first store, joining the march of once-online-only brands into brick-and-mortar. It's unlikely to be its last. But physical stores by themselves won't address the challenging issues in Wayfair's underlying business model.

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Tags: Retail

Go Big Or Go Home: Restoration Hardware's Radical Approach Is Paying Off
Import from forbes.com
March 29, 2019
Not long ago, Restoration Hardware looked like it was a dead brand walking. In recent years, it has not only avoided the retail graveyard but turned into one of the more remarkable and profitable specialty retailers by going big when others were trying to shrink to prosperity.

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Tags: Retail

Another Store Bites The Dust: Why Retailers Like Shopko Fail
Import from forbes.com
March 22, 2019
Mass store closings and wholesale liquidations are hardly news these days. While the big contraction in retail seems to support the broader retail apocalypse narrative, the reality is that almost all the trouble is concentrated in retailers stuck in the boring middle.

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Tags: Retail

Ulta And Sephora Keep Defying The 'Retail Apocalypse'
Import from forbes.com
March 18, 2019
Despite the retail apocalypse narrative many brick-and-mortar dominant retailers are not only surviving they are thriving. So what explains the widening gap between retail's winner and losers?

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Tags: Retail

Four Truths And A Lie From This Year's ShopTalk
Import from forbes.com
March 08, 2019
ShopTalk was once again proved to be the must-attend retail event of the year, while revealing a few key truths about where retail stands today, and at least one big misconception.

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Tags: Retail

Macy's And JC Penney Earnings Offer Evidence Of The Stall At The Mall; Here's How They Can Get On Track
Import from forbes.com
February 28, 2019
Macy's and JC Penney's fourth-quarter earnings reports underscore that they remain stuck in the middle and keep resorting to closing stores and reducing expenses when their primary challenge is to become more customer relevant and remarkable.

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Tags: Retail

Despite A Booming Stock Price, Wayfair Is No Amazon
Import from forbes.com
February 26, 2019
Wayfair's stock is up dramatically on the heels of booming sales growth. But most of this growth looks to be coming at too high a cost, and many fundamental issues remain.

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Tags: Retail

Barneys And MedMen Hope 'High' Fashion Will Be A Big Hit
Import from forbes.com
February 18, 2019
In the past week Barneys New York and MedMen both announced apparel and accessory offerings inspired by the "cannabis lifestyle." While taking different approaches the two retailers may be on to an exciting new market opportunity.

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Tags: Retail

Sears Lives To Die Another Day
Import from forbes.com
February 08, 2019
Eddie Lampert has managed to pull another rabbit out of the hat, buying Sears out of bankruptcy. But the iconic retailer lacks any reason for being, and this latest move appears to only delay the inevitable.

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Tags: Retail

Why Are Some Retailers Only Now Realizing They Have Way Too Many Stores?
Import from forbes.com
February 05, 2019
Mass store closings continue to rock the retail world. Some of it makes sense. In other cases, the impact of shifting consumer behavior and digital disruption have been known for years, and the failure to act earlier suggests weaknesses in executive and board leadership.

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Tags: Retail

The Stores Strike Back
Import from forbes.com
January 31, 2019
The death of physical retail is not only exaggerated, but many "traditional" retailers are having a rebirth, recognizing that investing in their brick-and-mortar locations while harmonizing the overall experience can be the antidote to Amazon.

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Tags: Retail

Retailers' Pointless Pursuit Of The Promiscuous Shopper
Import from forbes.com
January 29, 2019
Promotional retailing is not new. But the relentless pursuit of promiscuous shoppers by traditional and digitally-native vertical brands is making much of retail increasingly unprofitable.

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Tags: Retail

NRF's Big Show: Addressing The Knowing-Doing Gap
Import from forbes.com
January 21, 2019
Each year the NRF Big Show contains dozens of useful sessions and opportunities to learn what's new in retail. Yet too much information is rehashed and not enough knowledge actually turns into action.

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Tags: Retail

Out On A Limb: 14 Predictions For Retail In 2019
Import from forbes.com
January 10, 2019
For the second year in a row I offer up 14 retail industry predictions for what is worth paying extra attention to in 2019.

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Tags: Retail

Blake Nordstrom: Gone Too Soon, But His Impact On Retail Will Long Be Remembered
Import from forbes.com
January 03, 2019
The death of Blake Nordstrom, the co-president of the storied retail chain, at age 58 is a real tragedy. Yet his contributions to the industry will long be remembered.

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Tags: Retail

Was 2018 The Best Shopping Season In Years? Let's Wait And See
Import from forbes.com
December 31, 2018
Holiday sales look to be very strong. But it's important to remember that sales aren't the same as profits, the holiday season isn't quite over, and individual retailers' performance will vary—often widely.

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Tags: Retail

The 3 Big Problems With Omnichannel Retail
Import from forbes.com
December 26, 2018
For at least 5 years "omnichannel" has been all the rage. Yet too many retailers chased a be everywhere the customer is strategy without a clear focus, and without realizing the dilutive earnings effect such efforts can cause.

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Tags: Retail

My 'Provocative' Retail Predictions For 2018: How'd I Do?
Import from forbes.com
December 20, 2018
Early last year I made 13 "provocative" predictions for the retail industry in 2018. I recap how I did for each of them.

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Tags: Retail

Dead Brand Walking: Sears Is Going Out With A Bang
Import from forbes.com
December 17, 2018
Sears managed its first comparable store sales increase in many years. Despite this seemingly positive sign, the reality is that Sears is in deep trouble, and recent news does not suggest any chance of a turnaround.

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Tags: Retail

Forget Black Friday And Cyber Monday -- For Most Retailers, It's Really About December Sales
Import from forbes.com
December 10, 2018
The importance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday continues to be overblown and misunderstood. For virtually every retailer, the action is really in December, and in particular, the second half of the month.

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Tags: Retail

Cyber Monday And The World's Easiest Retail Prediction
Import from forbes.com
November 26, 2018
Predictions that Cyber Monday sales will set a record take no insight whatsoever. And the decision by retailers to discount heavily takes no strategic insight. Chasing the promiscuous shopper and riding the growth of e-commerce is easy. Becoming truly remarkable is hard.

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Tags: Retail

The Mass Hysteria We Call 'Black Friday'
Import from forbes.com
November 23, 2018
Black Friday continues to be more hype than substance. Yet year after year we all seem to buy into the hysteria.

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Tags: Retail

Nordstrom: No Good Deeds Go Unpunished
Import from forbes.com
November 20, 2018
Nordstrom continues to perform well, but its stock has mostly gone nowhere. Nordstrom remains one of the best performing and most remarkable retailers around, yet it often doesn't get the respect it deserves.

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Tags: Retail

The Critical Question For Struggling Retailers: Too Much Store Or Not Enough Brand?
Import from forbes.com
November 16, 2018
Few, if any struggling retailers, can shrink to prosperity, yet massive downsizings are becoming commonplace. The idea of optimizing space has concept appeal, but usually its drivers have more to do with brand issues that real estate problems.

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Tags: Retail

Pure-Play E-commerce's Scaling Woes Continue
Import from forbes.com
November 09, 2018
Despite the narrative that e-commerce is eating the world, it turns out that the underlying economics are often channeling and several high profile pure-plays are struggling to make their models work at scale.

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Tags: Retail

Are Private Brands Key To Beating Amazon?
Import from forbes.com
November 01, 2018
As Amazon continues to gobble up market share in most product categories, many retailers find themselves on their heels desperately seeking an antidote to Amazon's growing dominance. In addition to improving digital shopping many retailers are turning to private brands as a potential antidote.

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Tags: Retail

We've Created A Monster: Retail's Growing Returns Problem
Import from forbes.com
October 30, 2018
The high cost of product returns has been an issue for many years. As e-commerce continues to grow rapidly—and free shipping offers become nearly ubiquitous—the impact on retailer's bottom lines is reaching a breaking point.

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Tags: Retail

Strange Bedfellows? Legacy Retailer And Disruptive Brand Partnerships Are On The Rise
Import from forbes.com
October 23, 2018
Partnerships between innovative and disruptive direct-to-consumer brands and more stodgy established retailers may seem strange at first. Yet there are powerful underlying reasons why they make sense of more companies to explore.

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Tags: Retail

Retail's 'Halo Effect': New Stores Boost A Brand's Website Traffic By 37%, Study Finds
Import from forbes.com
October 17, 2018
There are many reasons that the death of the physical store is greatly exaggerated. As a new study from the ICSC illuminates, one of the reasons is the critical role that physical stores play in driving e-commerce success. And vice versa.

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Tags: Retail

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls, It Tolls For Sears
Import from forbes.com
October 10, 2018
Sears Holding is reportedly about to file for bankruptcy. While shocking in some respects, the now-decades-long struggles of the retailer are well documented, and any hope for a reversal of "the world's slowest liquidation sale" has seemed highly unlikely for years.

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Tags: Retail

Will Amazon 4-Star Live Up To Its Reviews?
Import from forbes.com
October 01, 2018
Amazon surprised most observers with the opening of 4-Star, a physical store featuring a selection of the retailer's best sellers. In translating what works online to brick-and-mortar retail brands need to be careful not to overplay their digital experience.

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Tags: Retail

The Retail Lesson Of The Last Decade: Disrupt Or Be Disrupted
Import from forbes.com
September 28, 2018
Retail history--and the retail graveyard--is littered with brands that failed to see how disruption was likely to effect them and watched while they should have been acting. The dynamics of the mattress industry are yet another lesson in how

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Tags: Retail

Plot Twist: Amazon's Future May Soon Be Tied To Brick-And-Mortar
Import from forbes.com
September 21, 2018
The first two decades of Amazon's explosive growth and disruptive power have been all out about online shopping. As they get further into their third decade a deeper brick & mortar presence will be key to unlocking market share in certain large categories.

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Tags: Retail

Nordstrom Ups The Ante With New Loyalty Program
Import from forbes.com
September 14, 2018
Nordstrom is introducing a new loyalty program. Some aspects are merely playing catch up. Others hold the potential to move the retailer from average to remarkable.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Retail, Customer Loyalty

Physical Stores: Assets Or Liabilities?
Import from forbes.com
September 07, 2018
For several years the narrative was that physical retail was dead. Recent reports suggest a resurgence. Yet the reality is more nuanced. Winning retailers don't approach it as a black and white question but leverage the pieces of brick-and-mortar retail that bring a competitive edge.

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Tags: Retail

Here's What Investors Are Missing About The Sears-Amazon Partnership
Import from forbes.com
August 28, 2018
The news that Sears is expanding its tire partnership with Amazon sent the company's shares sharply higher. For the most part, this is much ado about nothing as it does little to change the inevitable continuing decline of the storied retailer.

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Tags: Retail

Retail Earnings: The Best Of Times And The Worst Of Times
Import from forbes.com
August 23, 2018
As retailer earnings reports roll in, a few things are becoming more clear. Physical retail is not dead, but boring retail is. The difference between the haves and have nots is becoming more pronounced. And better is not necessarily the same as good.

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Tags: Retail

Eddie Lampert Just Can't Stop Picking At Sears' Carcass
Import from forbes.com
August 20, 2018
Eddie Lampert, Sears Holdings' CEO and primary shareholder, seems destined for the Chutzpah Hall of Fame as his hedge fund scoops up Sears' once highly valuable assets.

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Tags: Retail

Sorry, Alexa: Voice Shopping Is Mainly Hype -- For Now
Import from forbes.com
August 10, 2018
Is voice-activated commerce the next big thing in retail or mostly hype? A new study suggests any notion of a shopping revolution is premature.

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Tags: Retail

Mickey Drexler And The De-Schlepping Of Retail
Import from forbes.com
August 06, 2018
An increasingly important driver of online shopping growth is, as former J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler has coined it, "de-schlepping." The consumer value of having bulky and heavy items shipped is clear. Whether retailers can make the economics work over the long term is another matter entirely.

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Tags: Retail

2 Books
REMARKABLE RETAIL: How to Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Digital Disruption
Lifetree Media
December 09, 2019

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Tags: Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Retail

Remarkable Retail: How to Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Digital Disruption
LifeTree Media
November 22, 2019
Despite the clickbait headlines that warn of a “retail apocalypse,” many brick and mortar retail brands are enjoying strong growth and profits. Others, however, are destined to become obsolete because they offer merely convenience, decent prices, or an okay shopping experience. In Remarkable Retail, industry thought leader Steve Dennis argues that retailers can no longer count on scarcity to drive sales, or settle for providing indifferent in-store experiences, because customers live online and have a wealth of choice and information at their fingertips.

In the book, Dennis unpacks the trends that are squeezing traditional stores and presents eight essential strategies for visionary retail leaders who are prepared to reimagine the customer experience in the age of digital disruption. A remarkable retailer is digitally enabled, human centered, harmonized, mobile, personal, connected, memorable, and radical.

In most retail categories, digital channels are now central to the consumer’s journey, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t also shopping in stores. Packed with illuminating case studies from some of modern retail’s biggest success stories, Remarkable Retail shows retailers and those in adjunct industries such as manufacturing, marketing, and tech, what it takes to create big buzz around the in-store experience.

In an age where consumers have short attention spans and myriad options, Remarkable Retail is your crucial roadmap to creating a powerful retail experience that keeps your customers coming back for more.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Digital Disruption, Retail

2 Keynotes
Steve Dennis Keynote at Inside Retail Live 2018, Melbourne, Australia
youtube
March 25, 2019
Steve Dennis Remarkable Retail keynote

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Retail

Steve Dennis Keynote at Total Retail Tech 2018
youtube
March 25, 2019
Keynote on Remarkable Retail at Total Retail Tech, Dallas TX

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Retail

1 Panel
PREA Panel
youtube
March 16, 2019

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Retail

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Steve Dennis