Calling 'next game'

Retail futurist Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet talks about ordering a New York Yankees baseball cap from eBay Now and having it delivered to him on a New York City park bench (for the complete interview, visit I snapped this picture (far right) of an eBay Now deliveryman about a block from my house during Labor Day weekend.

There is no question that the way people shop has changed. Here in New York City my apartment building has a special block of refrigerators in the lobby to handle FreshDirect deliveries when residents aren't home.

For years, when I would tell people that I sometimes shopped for groceries that way, many chalked it up to some crazy urban fad that really wouldn't play outside of Manhattan. While FreshDirect may control about 80% of the local market its biggest competitor here, Ahold's Peapod division, is growing its footprint significantly throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England regions. By the end of August, the company was up to 47 in-store pickup locations: 20 in Giant Food stores and 27 in Stop & Shops (for more photos visit / Photos.)

This isn't a fad — it never really was. It's getting harder and harder to get customers to engage with your brand. In this issue, DSN takes a look at how savvy retailers and CPG companies are utilizing game-based technologies to grow trips, build brands and help move the customer relationship from a transaction-based to a consumer-engagement model.

Does your brand have its game face on? Tell me how your company is using gamification to engage customers or grow talent. Email me at

Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News and DSN Collaborative Care magazines. You can contact him at


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