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The Shopping Revolution

How Successful Retailers Win Customers in an Era of Endless Disruption

Barbara E. Kahn


Featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg, and Vox, The Shopping Revolution offers a “brilliant analysis of the disruptive effect that Amazon is having on the retail industry [reveals] how stores can fight back in order to survive,” according to Forbes’ Walter Loeb.

Amazon disrupts everything it touches and upends any market it enters. In the era of its game-changing dominance, how can any company compete?

We are just witnessing the start of the radical changes in retail that will revolutionize shopping in every way. As Amazon and other disruptors continue to offer ever-greater value, customers’ expectations will continue to ratchet up, making winning (and keeping) those customers all the more challenging. For some retailers, the changes will push customers permanently out of their reach—and their companies out of business. 

In The Shopping Revolution, Barbara E. Kahn, a foremost retail expert and professor at The Wharton School, examines the companies that have been most successful during this wave of change, and offers fresh insights into what we can learn from their ascendance.

Kahn, also the author of Global Brand Power: Leveraging Branding for Long-Term Growth, examines:

  • How did Amazon become the retailer of choice for a large portion of the US population, and how can other companies work with them or compete with them? 
  • How did Walmart beat out other grocers in the late 1990s to become the leader in food retailing, and how must they pivot to hold their leadership position today?
  • How did Warby Parker make a dent in the once-untouchable Luxottica’s lucrative eyewear business, and what can that tell start-ups about how to unseat a Goliath?
  • How did Sephora draw customers away from once-dominant department stores to become the go-to retailers for beauty products, and what can retailers learn from their success?
  • How are luxury and fast-fashion retailers competing in the ever-changing, fickle world of fashion?

Building on these insights, Kahn offers a framework that any company can use to create a competitive strategy to survive and thrive in today’s—and tomorrow’s—retail environment.

Featured Author Image

About the Author

Barbara E. Kahn

Barbara E. Kahn is the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She served two terms as the director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. Prior to rejoining Wharton in 2011, Barbara served as the dean and Schein Professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Miami, Florida. Before becoming dean at UM, she spent 17 years at Wharton as Silberberg Professor of Marketing. She was also vice dean of the Wharton undergraduate program. Barbara is an internationally recognized scholar on retailing, variety seeking, brand loyalty, product assortment and design, and consumer and patient decision-making. She has published more than 75 articles in leading academic journals. She is the author of The Shopping Revolution: How Successful Retailers Win Customers in an Era of Endless Disruption and Global Brand Power: Leveraging Branding for Long-Term Growth. She is also the coauthor ... More


“A brilliant analysis of the disruptive effect that Amazon is having on the retail industry and how stores can fight back in order to survive.”

—Walter Loeb, Forbes

“A brisk and thought-provoking anatomy of shopping in the 21st century.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Barbara Kahn has captured what is at stake for those of us who serve customers: As retailers compete for their attention, their expectations will continue to increase, and meeting—not to mention exceeding—their expectations will become an ever-higher bar that many will fail to reach. Fortunately, in The Shopping Revolution, Kahn reveals what has enabled today’s most successful retailers to thrive in the face of these challenges. An essential read for anyone who wants to keep pace with their customers and anyone who wants to understand the massive changes underway in retail.”

—Neil Blumenthal, co-CEO and co-founder, Warby Parker

“In The Shopping Revolution, Barbara Kahn zeroes in on how a few formidable retailers have gained ascendance and offers advice to retailers on how to develop their own winning strategies. This is relevant for anyone who wants to compete with the retail superpowers of today and earn loyal customers. How retailers and brands engage with customers is undergoing a profound transformation and The Shopping Revolution provides a thoughtful framework on how to innovate in the new world of retail.”

—Oliver Chen, Managing Director, Cowen and Company

“As Barbara Kahn powerfully argues, it is possible to compete in the era of rapidly changing shopping behavior. In The Shopping Revolution, Kahn dissects the strategies of leading retailers and offers powerful examples of how success can be achieved. A must-read for anyone who aspires to reach customers today—and tomorrow.”

—Marc Lore, CEO, Walmart eCommerce US

“A masterful storyteller, Barbara Kahn expertly unpacks the strategies of today’s seemingly unbeatable retailers. In the process, she shares their successes and failures and offers easy-to-implement takeaways. The Shopping Revolution is an indispensable guide for anyone who has a product to sell in the retail world.”

—Stuart Weitzman, Founder, Stuart Weitzman LLC

The Shopping Revolution is a comprehensive and fascinating read on the challenges facing retailers in these disruptive times. Sharing the stories of successful companies, Barbara Kahn offers a framework to structure strategic thinking and set the path for success. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand how to compete in retail—now and in the future.”

—Pierre-Yves Roussel, Member of the Executive Committee, LVMH (Louis Vuitton – Moët Hennessy)  

The Shopping Revolution is ideal for those who want to gain insight into the dynamically changing retail industry. This great read covers the mechanics at play in a straight-forward manner and will help readers understand the direction retailers must take to succeed.”

—Al Sambar, Managing Director, Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy

“The disruptive forces bearing down on retailers leave little room for error. Yet those very forces have created a vibrant marketplace filled with opportunities. In her new book, The Shopping Revolution, Barbara E. Kahn reveals how leading retailers are generating strong growth and offers strategies for competing in an ever-shifting marketplace. I highly recommend The Shopping Revolution to anyone who wants to understand the changes in retail and learn how to outperform the competition.”

—Thomas Kingsbury, CEO, Burlington Stores


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