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The Metail Economy

Six Ingredients for Transforming Your Business to Thrive

Shep Hyken interviews Joel Bines, managing director and global co-head of the Retail Practice at AlixPartners and the author of The Metail Economy. They discuss how to meet the growing expectations of the smart and savvy Me-centric customer.

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Top Takeaways:

Joel Bines shares the six ingredients for transforming your business to thrive in this Metail economy: curation, customization, category expertise, cost, convenience, community.

  1. Curation: The art of defining and producing a set of experiences (products, locations, digital, physical, etc.) so that the person thinks that someone picked all of these things just for them.
  2. Customization: Consumers want to have a say in the products they want to spend their money on. Because of technology, it’s never been easier to customize some experience component. That doesn’t mean it has to be bespoke. You can provide the illusion of customization by finding things that give the consumer the sense that they are customizing something. Add one or two more, and you’re fine. You don’t have to build one thing at a time.
  3. Category expertise: Expertise means that any question that customers might have is easily answered by the person they are talking to.
  4. Cost: If you are going to use cost as a competitive advantage, then it has to be the lowest cost at all times because consumers are smart and savvy with technology. It’s easy to find a lower cost if there is one.
  5. Convenience: The question you need to ask when thinking that convenience is an advantage is, “Who is it convenient to?” Too often, company executives start with convenience for the company. If the answer is not “convenient for the customer,” then you’re doing convenience wrong.
  6. Community: If you’re going to build a community of people, you have to make sure that every part of your organization is set up to serve that community. It is very difficult to build a community, but losing a community is very easy.


“Customers’ tolerance and friction level for customer experience are lower than ever. Customers know what they want. If the companies they do business with cannot give it to them, they go somewhere else.”

“If you maintain convenient access to the things that people want, you will win the loyalty of the customers who are attracted to that type of convenience.”

“Every incremental interaction with a customer should be with the goal of making your customers happy.”

“You can choose which customers you want to make happy and don’t want to make happy. But, you have to understand that in choosing, you’re going to create a group of people who will no longer want to be your customers. Be intentional.”


Joel Bines is a managing director and global co-head of the Retail Practice at the business consulting firm AlixPartners. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading operational strategists with a 30-year track record of improving performance at retailers, brands, and consumer companies.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What is the Metail economy
  2. What is a new Me-centric consumer?
  3. How do you create a customer-centric approach?
  4. How can businesses thrive in the Metail economy?
  5. What are the six ingredients for transforming your business?

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