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The Future of Retail


The Future of Retail with Paul Leinwand and Samrat Sharma on WVU Marketing Horizons

During the pandemic, we’ve all been watching with horror as stores close and shopping behavior has turned upside down. Amazon’s sales are up 40% in the last 12 months. What’s the future of retail, we have to ask? Join us for an engaging discussion with Paul Leinwand and Samrat Sharma from PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s as they discuss the future of consumer markets and where the consumer shopping experience is headed. Paul Leinwand is global director of the Strategy& unit of PwC based in Chicago and teaches strategy and management as an adjunct at Kellogg Graduate School of Business. Samrat Sharma also works at Strategy& and has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon.

Three takeaways:

  • Look at the pandemic as a crisis that can also provide us with an opportunity. We’ve seen that retailers are actually embracing some of the digital opportunities and thinking differently about how to serve their customers.
  • This is not a time for the faint of heart. Digital commerce will increase by 300% by 2022, but you have to embrace a true digital transformation and go all in to succeed.
  • Consumers are driving everything and we can come up with our own great ideas, but unless you have consumer need as the base, you are likely not to be successful. That's something that is easy to forget in the rush of day to day marketing but it's such a fundamental marketing principle.

About our Guests


Paul Leinwand is a thought leader on strategy, growth, and capability building for Strategy&, PwC's strategy consulting group. Based in Chicago, he is a principal with PwC U.S. Paul advises clients on the topic of strategy, growth, and capability building, with a focus on the consumer product and retail sectors.

He is the co-author of three books, Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap (Harvard Business Review Press, 2016), The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010) and Cut Costs and Grow Stronger (Harvard Business Review Press, 2009), as well as several articles in the Harvard Business Review and strategy+business.

Paul earned an MBA with Distinction from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Washington University. He currently teaches at Kellogg as an Adjunct Professor of Strategy.

Samrat Sharma

Samrat Sharma is the US Enterprise Strategy & Growth Leader with Strategy& and PwC and the global leader of CMO Advisory, where he specializes in developing new business models to drive growth and reduce costs for CPG clients. He has roughly 20 years of consulting and industry experience in North America and emerging markets.

His wealth of expertise includes growth strategy, innovation and business transformation, go-to-market capabilities development such as marketing, revenue management, customer/channel management, and digital transformation with focus on commerce, data & analytics.

Samrat has been featured in publications like Harvard Business Review and Strategy+Business. He earned his Bachelors in Commerce from University of Delhi, and his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Meet the Hosts

Cyndi Greenglass

Cyndi W. Greenglass is a founding partner and president at Livingston Strategies, a data-informed, strategic consulting firm that helps clients develop, execute, and measure their customer communications with a close focus on results. Cyndi has razor-sharp strategic skills matched by impeccable on-the-ground savvy and tactical abilities. She is an Adjunct Instructor in the Data Marketing Communications online master's degree program from West Virginia University.

Greenglass has twice been named into the Top 100 Influential BTB Marketers by Crain’s BtoB Magazine and was the 2012 CADM Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for BRAND United and has taught, trained and presented at over 50 conferences throughout the world.

Ruth Stevens

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, for business-to-business clients. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.

Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the ERA business accelerator in New York City.

WVU Marketing Communications Today: Horizons is presented by the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, which offers renowned online master’s degree programs in Marketing Communications. Interested in growing your career with a master's degree in Data, Digital or Integrated Marketing Communications? Request more information today!