MNB reader Tom Murphy wrote:

A client asked me the other day what I thought the most important innovation in retail will be over the next 5 years.  I’ll admit, lots of shiny objects went through my mind, but I finally settled on “The Store”.

This is the store that works for a given retailer, with a given customer strategy, with a given ecommerce & supply chain model, in a given market segment, against a given set of competitors.  Many of today’s stores are dead…they are too big, jammed full of commodity products and poor services, located in the wrong places, overcome by a poor customer experience, bored employees and operational disciplines from the 1970’s.

The store of the future (“The Store”) is alive and vibrant, a community and meeting place, a location chocked full of unique experiences and desirable products, staffed by people who care and lead by those who understand that success is fleeting for those who can’t change fast enough or innovate continuously.
Most retailers need to ask, which store is mine?

Got the following email from MNB reader Tom DeLuca:

Regarding the MNB Walmart Watch report of Walmart working on "new food pairings as well as “creating new fruits and vegetables to better compete with Amazon,” as a resident of the greater Bentonville area and shopper of Walmart (necessity, not choice), I am appalled that Walmart is reaching for higher-level offerings when they can't even get the core right.  No pun, but my wife often laments that she wishes she could buy fresh, not rotten or bruised apples once again (like we used to do when we lived in ports elsewhere).

In my humble opinion, a grocer isn't a location that sells limited selections of shelf-stable "franken-foods", rather, has an expansive selection of fresh fruits and better for you meal solutions.

On the subject of “smart home” innovations, one MNB reader wrote:

While our household is intrigued by these smart home innovations, we remain nervous about the security implications, especially when it comes to door locks or alarm systems.
Hooking up all of our appliances to the internet just seems like an invitation to get hacked. For now the lure of convenience doesn’t outweigh the potential security risks we face from these developing technologies.

Finally, we had a piece the other day about how Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos “let his four kids play with knives at age 4 and power tools since age 7 or 8 … Because allowing them to take risks and be self-reliant teaches resourcefulness — a key trait both in business and in daily life” … Bezos said that being resourceful is a skill “that he and his wife have instilled in their children, ages 12 to 17. His wife's rationale, Bezos says jokingly, is that she ‘would much rather have a kid with nine fingers than a resourceless kid,’ which he the CEO believes is a ‘fantastic attitude about life’.”

I commented, in part:

There are a lot of things that make Bezos different from me, and now I’ve discovered another one. We have a neighbor with a table saw, and years ago he offered to help my son Brian with a school project … and I had to walk out of the room because I was no nervous about him being near such a sharp tool.

This is a character flaw on my part, I concede. (Though, to my credit, I did teach Brian how to make risotto.)

One MNB reader responded:

There are many ways to be resourceful.  While folks that can fix things are great, I would never turn my nose up at someone who makes great risotto.

Thank goodness that Mrs. Content Guy feels the same way.