Retail in the Age of ‘i’: A Framework for Retailers and Solution Providers

Retail in the Age of ‘i’: A Framework for Retailers and Solution Providers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology


I wrote my latest book, which was released earlier this year, to help retailers and the broader industry address the challenges of disruption and faster and faster innovation. The premise of the book is that the world is increasingly tailored to each of us individually and there are significant implications for retail. The customization and personalization that we have come to expect - and now take for granted - in the digital world is quickly migrating to the physical world both in marketing and increasingly in physical goods. 

Understanding this, I have offered to retailers that there are five ‘i’s that should be focused on moving ahead. The need to market and serve the individual customer. Big data intelligence that’s needed to be contextually relevant to each customer. The systems integration required to deliver immersive shopping experiences. And, of course, constant innovation.  

In a recent presentation that was part of a CART Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program event at a well known regional retailer I suggested that the retailer’s team use the five ‘i’s as a framework to evaluate all the new capabilities they would see during the event. Try to understand how a new solution can help the retailer serve the individual customer, provide intelligence, immersive shopping, and smoother user experiences. These are the battlegrounds going forward.

For the solution providers, I suggested that they consider how the capability they are bringing into the market can help the retailer with any of the ‘i’s and think about how their innovation will assist the retailer in the battles ahead.

About the Author

Gary Hawkins is the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) and leverages his unique knowledge and view to new technologies to shape the future of FMCG retail. He can be reached at

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