clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The investor behind startups with billion dollar exits explains how retail needs to change

Kirsten Green, founder of Forerunner Ventures, breaks down the retail landscape.

If you buy something from a Vox link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures onstage at Code Commerce in New York Keith MacDonald
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

The retail world is in transition: Brick-and-mortar stores are losing customers to e-commerce, and consumers are expecting more from the traditional shopping experience. Retail has to rethink itself.

That’s the message Kirsten Green, founder of VC firm Forerunner Ventures, gave today during a presentation to Code Commerce attendees in New York City.

Kirsten Green, founder of VC firm Forerunner Ventures, slides from Code Commerce.

To illustrate the tricky situation, Green noted that 43 percent of consumers admit “owning today feels like a burden.” Additionally, 77 percent of people say social media is the main source of inspiration for the products they buy.

Green knows what she’s talking about. Her firm has had uncanny success backing e-commerce startups. It was the lead backer in Dollar Shave Club, which sold to Unilever for $1 billion, and it invested in, which Walmart acquired for $3.3 billion.

Kirsten Green, founder of VC firm Forerunner Ventures, slides from Code Commerce.

Green noted in her presentation that mall traffic is shrinking but consumers are still buying. These are confusing stats to navigate but Green thinks there’s plenty of hope, as evidenced by the $45 billion pop-up industry, in which retailers or brands create a temporary shopping experience.

She also pointed to in-store augmented and virtual reality displays, concierge-style services and made-to-order merchandise as ways that retailers can elevate ho-hum shopping to the level of an experience.

You can find all of Green’s slides below and watch her full presentation.

This article originally appeared on