Douglas Stephens

Retail and Consumer Futurist; Founder of Retail Prophet

Request Booking Info
Douglas Stephens | Retail and Consumer Futurist; Founder of Retail Prophet
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Douglas Stephens is one of the most influential retail futurists on the planet. His talks are required listening for any company that orbits the retail world. In fully customized and thoroughly researched keynotes, Stephens shows you how to stay ahead of the changing mega-trends in demographics, economics, and technology that are resetting your industry—and, what it takes to be truly innovative. 

The founder of Retail Prophet, and rated among the Top 50 global Retail Influencers by Vend, Doug Stephens is one of the world’s foremost retail and consumer futurists. His research and insights have helped major organizations—such as Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, Walmart, Disney, Google, and Intel—understand exactly how mega-trends in demographics, economics, technology, and media are forever altering consumer/brand relationships. And he explains what they need to do to adapt, evolve, and innovate. Drawing on over 20 years of experience, Stephens analyzes media trends, financial climates, demographic shifts, emerging technologies, and everything in between to provide an unrivalled insight into consumer trends.


“It doesn't matter what type of retail you do—if you sell something, somewhere, you need to read Doug Stephens’ The Retail Revival. Packed with powerful insights on the changing retail environment and what good retailers should be thinking about now, The Retail Revival is easy to read, well-organized and provides essential food for thought.”

— Gregg Saretsky, President and CEO, WestJet

Too often, companies make the mistake of reacting purely to what’s going on right now, instead of working to understand what’s going to happen. Douglas Stephens gives his audiences a clear view of what’s on the horizon. Stephens’ thinking has influenced many of the world’s best-known retailers and brands, including BMW, Citibank, HP, Crayola, and Microsoft. Prior to founding Retail Prophet, Stephens spent 20 years in retail, holding senior international roles, including the leadership of one of New York City’s most iconic retail chains. He is co-host of the popular retail-focused web series The Future in Store; the syndicated retail columnist for CBC Radio Canada; and appears regularly on North American and international radio and television shows. Stephens also sits on the advisory board of David Sobey Centre for Retailing and Service Excellence.


Stephens is the author of the book The Retail Revival, which documents the rise of an incredible new era of consumerism leading to a complete redefinition of what retail is. His other writing is often featured in publications such as The Wall Street JournalForbes, the National PostThe Globe and Mail, Chicago TribuneFortune Magazine, Business Insider, Daily Beast, and the Toronto Star, among many others worldwide. His second book is now in the works.   


“An outstanding discussion this morning. Best executive series I’ve attended. Thank you for sharing.”

SVP Global Processes, Walmart Inc.

“Your contribution to our conference was immeasurable and by far the most well received presentation.”

Reed Exhibitions Australia

“I just wanted to share with you that the feedback I got from Intel is that Doug was fantastic! It was clear that the extensive amount of time he spent on the phone with them, and in his own research and preparation, made a real difference. They found the engaging, upbeat nature of Doug’s talk and content to be the perfect close for this weary group of conference-goers. And for the icing on the cake, Terry shared with me that he found Doug to be a heck of a nice guy, very humble and genuine. Not sure I can think of a nicer compliment.”


“Doug’s passion for retailing and connection with consumer trends, attitudes and behaviors brought a fresh perspective and energy to Citi Retail Services annual leadership conference. We valued his willingness to push the boundaries on how retailers can better serve their customers and how our company could be a strong partner in ensuring their success.”


“Thank you for delivering such a thought provoking and engaging speech! Both the chain executives and suppliers raved about it!”

Connecting Point Marketing Group

“Doug recently presented at a product launch for leaders in the retail world. Doug’s presentation was relevant, funny and eye-opening. The audience was captivated.”

TD Bank

“Doug Stephens’ keynote delivery and the insight he shared with our audience was dynamic, bold, thought-provoking, relevant and an ultimately fascinating experience. He’s an inspiring and forward-thinking presenter.”


“You were the talk of the evening with all agents realizing that change is inevitable. You hit the key points which forced all of them to look in the mirror and ultimately adjust moving forward.”


“Doug’s presentation was one of the highlights of our recent Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit. He loaded it with historical detail and context, and delivered it with confidence and style. He’s also an expert panel moderator. It has always been a pleasure and a privilege working with him, and I look forward to many more years of doing so.”

Retail Customer Experience

“Doug was invited to speak as part of our program. Doug’s was one of the most talked about presentations. He was engaging and the information he presented was fresh and insightful. I would highly recommend Doug as a speaker.”

North American Retail Hardware Association

“Many speakers say they will tailor their comments, but it’s the exception that I work with someone who actually does. Doug Stephens was definitely the perfect kickoff to our conference. He easily picked up on the challenges facing our stores, and not only gave them insight, but inspired them to act. His style is completely engaging, and his content just what we need. We couldn’t have asked for anything better!”

National Association of College Stores

“You did an excellent presentation, and one of my colleagues said you were the best futurist he’s seen…high praise since many of us see a lot of sessions and speakers!”


Speech Topics

What’s In-Store?

Douglas Stephens is an expert on retail business strategy, and he brings his wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge to your company in this highly customizable keynote. What are the latest retail trends within your industry or category? How are demographic and technological shifts affecting your customer base? What can your company do to stay ahead of the curve? To help your company excel in the ultra-competitive realm of retail, manufacturing or consumer packaged goods, Stephens is constantly collecting data and case studies—in a variety of fields—to give you strategies that are broad in scope, yet focused in purpose.

Millennial Shoppers Connecting with a New Generation of Consumers

Millennials are now the largest single generational segment on the planet. By 2017, their spending will exceed that of Baby Boomers, representing unprecedented opportunities for brands that adapt and innovate to engage them—and an existential threat to those that don’t.  

In this unique take on the Millennial shopper, Doug Stephens delivers cutting edge insight into this generation, their economic reality, social needs, their unique traits and preferences as shoppers, as well as the surprising essence of their relationships with brands. Stephens also shares the broad generalizations about Millennials that brands would be wise to avoid. This enlightening and unconventional keynote is a must-see for business leaders looking to connect with this all-important generation of consumers.

Big Data
Big Data and the Retail Revolution

90 percent of the data that exists today was created within the last two years. And while the sheer volume and velocity of data is definitely astonishing, what’s even more compelling is our growing capacity to gather, analyze, and make sense of it all. From social media streams, videos, and reviews to weather, traffic, and machine-to-machine communication, each day a virtual universe of data is being created. Smart brands are honing their understanding of that data and its potential impact on every aspect of their customer’s experience with their brand. This talk will provide a clear view into the future of retail by examining this new and amazing data deluge, and how pioneering brands around the world are turning it into a new world of opportunity.

The Future of Consumerism

In this fascinating talk, Doug Stephens tackles the future of consumerism. He sheds light on the key shifts in economics, demographics, technology, and media that are completely transforming the consumer landscape, and the very essence of how we buy. Who the consumer is, in addition to how, where, and even why they shop, is changing rapidly and forever. The way our stores look—and how we interact with them—are constantly in flux. Mobile technology, social commerce, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, virtual reality, big data, and a deluge of developing technologies are all conspiring to forever change how we buy. How do we cope with all these transformations? Stephens shares what smart brands are doing today to re-imagine their businesses and capitalize on these historic changes.

Innovation & Creativity
Lessons from the World’s Most Innovative Companies
In a world where mediocre will no longer cut it, what are the common strengths that the world’s most dominant brands bring to market? How exactly do top companies innovate to create uncontested market space? Most importantly, what pitfalls do great innovators avoid that most others fall prey to? Referencing years of research, this inspiring talk examines the surprising links between the world’s most successful businesses and provides actionable ideas and steps to emulate their success. It’s an uplifting and mind-expanding peek into the realm of radical innovation and strategy.