On the kick-off day of the NADA Convention in Las Vegas on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, I will be participating as a panelist in the discussions of retail disruption in the wake of electrification, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles and digitized technology taking shape in the future of transportation.

No one really knows what awaits the retail industry in the future of mobility transformation. But one thing is for sure, that this segment of the automotive industry is taking digital transformation and consumer trends lightly and not doing enough about it. When it comes to retailers trying to become customer-centric they are only scratching the surface. Utilization of data and digital technology, along with artificial intelligence is now a different dimension that retailers did not recognize and or know about. Because the idea is to slam the customer in a car once they show up on the showroom floor. When we talk about transformation, people usually think that we predict the auto sales to stop all of a sudden and be replaced by another form of concept that takes the place of owning automobiles. Well, in theory it is not that far-fetched, however there is a step in between that we call evolving from being a scale- based metal mover to a customer-oriented business first. This is the talk of the town among all millennials that we had a hard time identifying with in the first place. Guess what, they drive the bus now, or you can be all alone in Wrightsville.

The next thing the retail industry needs to do is stop acting like an Ostridge, by burying their head in sand and pretend that they are hiding. So, we may be a little off with the timing, but make no mistake change is coming and it will hurt the retail industry if not in the next decade definitely in 15 years. So, what is the purpose of resistance to not acknowledging the impact and protect your assets proactively. While the rest of us are digging our heels to defy the change, more and more examples are showing up to prove us wrong, we said that stage 5 autonomous ride had still too many technical issues, and they do but they are diligently working on it. GM just announce that they will build “Cruise Origin”, an autonomous ride hail shuttle in Detroit by 2022.

In the interest of reducing congestion on the roads, helping the environment and also being economically prudent, on demand shuttles are growing as an alternative to city busses and ride hail providers.

Our only motive is to entice you to take pro-active action to protect your assets and your investment and search for proactive alternatives to catapult your businesses to the new world of mobility. You have a lot of opportunities to do so if you take a proactive approach and form alliances with your fellow retail competitors by putting your differences aside and working together to form coalitions. Legendary coach John Wooden once said, in a relay competition your teammates become your most fierce competitors.

Think about it.

See you in Vegas,