America, as we are regularly informed, is a nation divided – politically, economically, socially and culturally. But it’s also separated commercially. Increasingly, these not-so-United States are just as divided in terms of the way we shop.
The polarization of retail has been a topic of discussion for many years. Back in 2005, IBM Business Consulting Services published a seminal paper entitled “The retail divide: Leadership in a world of extremes”. The authors forecast a time in then far-off 2010 when “the retail market effectively splits into two extremes, with huge megaretail formats dominating one end of the spectrum and focused specialists dominating the other”. Undifferentiated retail that is “lost in the middle” will “stagnate and fade into irrelevance”, the paper speculated.
This treatise on the “retail divide” encouraged business leaders to flip their thinking from considering typical “bell curves”, where the money is in the middle of the market to “well curves”, Read more