Twenty years ago, I landed a job as advertising and promotions manager for a well-known department store chain. Little did I know that this job would mark the beginning of a lifelong career in the dynamic and exciting field of retail. Through the years I have seen the rise and demise of many players in this industry, along with great changes in their technology, marketing and management practices. After 20 years in this industry, here are 10 revolutions that I have personally witnessed in retail:
 
1) The Rise and Rise of SM
 
As a child, I remember going to Shoemart department store in Makati to buy my Gregg shoes for school since they were the only source of the “must have” brand.  I recall how the shoes would magically appear from the ceiling, which was also the stockroom.  Today, SM is a retail conglomerate like no other.  As of last count, it is comprised of 208 stores broken down into 47 department stores, 38 supermarkets, 37 hypermarkets, and 86 Save More neighborhood stores.
 
 2) The Specialty Coffee Revolution
 
Before 1997, most people who drank coffee did so at home or in the office.  Instant coffee was de rigueur.  Only the most discriminating coffee drinkers would actually go through the trouble of brewing their own coffee.  When the first Starbucks opened in 6750 in Ayala, a veritable star was born.  People began to drink coffee at all times of the day.  Coffee concoctions such as Frappuccino became part of the daily diet and vocabulary of young and old alike.  A new coffee lifestyle was born.  Today Starbucks has over 160 stores throughout the country.
 
3) The Hypermarket Revolution
 
Another retail format opened its doors in Filinvest Alabang in 1998: the hypermarket, by Shopwise. Shopwise offered a one-stop-shopping experience where one could buy not only groceries, but also home appliances, apparel, and other necessities in a free-flowing shopping cart environment. This new shopping destination gave new meaning to one-stop-value shopping.
 
4) The Global Invasion
 
Rustan's has brought some of the best brands in the world to the Philippines, such as Cartier, Zegna, Ricci, and Rykiel. Its sister company, Store Specialists, expanded the presence of even more international brands in the country through free standing boutiques for brands like Prada, Lacoste, Ferragamo, and Gucci.  Lately, however, we have seen the influx of international mid-scale brands that compete directly with the local players.  These brands include popular names like Zara, Payless, Uniqlo, Forever 21, and soon, of Old Navy and H&M.
 
5) Differentiation, Differentiation, Differentiation
 
The first rule of retailing, “Location, Location, Location,” has given way to a brand new rule:  Differentiation, Differentiation, Differentiation.  As competition across retail formats heats up, players are beginning to realize the importance of retail branding to create distinction in the marketplace.  Location is a given. Differentiation is imperative.
 
 
 
 
6) The Loyalty Effect
 
Today, there is a proliferation of loyalty cards, co-branded credit cards, and other card programs intended to win customer loyalty. Points, discounts, exclusive events, and other privileges are dangled in front of customers to win a share of their expenditures. With limited space in one's wallet, only a few cards can be accommodated.
 
7) The High-Technology Revolution
 
Internet retailing, mobile apps, and social media are all redefining how, when, where, and even what we shop or pay. Corporate reputations can be made and lost in an instant through social media.  In this wired world, the new channel captain is the consumer. 
 
8) Mall as Cure All
 
"Malling" is now an accepted verb in our colloquial language, indicating activities done there such as shopping,  watching a movie, strolling, and so on. Malling has become our national past time. Malls are our new parks, museums, and self-contained, air-conditioned, mini-cities where one can do nearly anything.
 
9) Fashion for All
 
Through innovations in supply chain and distribution systems, cost re-engineering, and product and design development, the latest fashion is now available for all at an affordable price not only throug local players such as Bench, Penshoppe, and Folded & Hung, but also through international players such as Zara.
 
10) The Green Revolution
With the effects of global warming becoming more apparent and hitting close to home, being green has become a necessity. From banning the use of plastics, promotion of reusable bags, and the use of new technology to reduce carbon emissions, being green is definitely in.
 
These revolutions have changed the retail landscape. Which revolutions are you in?
 
Frances Yu is the Chief Retail Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. She will be running the all-new special Mansmith programs entitled, Retail Trends: Changing Winds and Turbulent Waters on July 5, 2016, click here for details.