Why Retailers Must Help Rebuild Society

**Why Retailers Must Help Rebuild Society**

As you prepared for work today, did you do so believing your company was working to save humanity? If you’re like most in the retail sector, the answer would be “no.” Yet, I am here to convince you that your company indeed holds the power to do just that. This isn’t a moral plea but a business case, one that argues your retail enterprise may have no choice but to change its course for humanity.

Competition in retail has always been fierce, traditionally fought on lines of customer service, convenience, and price. But we are entering a new era of competition where these pillars will crumble, replaced by a necessity to contribute to society. For example, Amazon is now creating its own green hydrogen fuel, projecting a shift from carbon-based fuels by 2030. This move is not just environmentally friendly but strategically advantageous, offering a long-term cost advantage and signaling a new competitive tactic that other retailers can’t easily replicate.

Retail’s modern landscape is a product of post-World War II economic systems. Investments in education, job creation, and domestic industry led to an era of prosperity. However, today’s political climate, marked by partisanship and economic disparity, shows a stark contrast. Public trust in democracy wanes, and capitalism no longer works for the average worker. The median wage stagnates while costs soar, leading young people to forgo dreams of home ownership and family.

Yet crises bring opportunities. Walmart, for instance, is raising wages and offering stock grants to associates, acknowledging that by empowering their workforce, they are nurturing their customer base. Similarly, General Electric is reshoring production, recognizing that saving money by paying more locally leads to greater overall efficiency and investor confidence.

Innovations in corporate academic institutions, like Target offering tuition benefits and Google providing affordable certifications, highlight how retailers can contribute positively to society while creating proprietary talent pools. An educated public supports a healthy democracy, fostering better business environments.

The future competitive advantage lies in a mindset shift. It’s about recognizing the critical fork in our societal and business pathways. Business strategies must evolve to contribute to society, creating a more stable and sustainable future. Implementing these changes is not just guesswork. It’s about building the future we want.

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