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The Future of Retail

February 4, 2021

Retail is in the midst of a renaissance. In order to survive and thrive to make it through this new age, retailers now more than ever, need to consider a new set of services, experiences and business models that will enable new capabilities within their businesses. The implication of this development means that retailers will need to redefine propositions, set up ways to test and measure their success and create tactics that will align to what their business can look like in the future – all while ensuring that they are able to adapt to changing customer needs and market conditions.

Adapting to this new age means that the right approach to deliver these new ways of working needs to be considered, whereby businesses can focus on unlocking value today while also setting the strategic pace for what tomorrow will become. Fundamental to this is establishing the foundations to shape what those future needs will look like. This can be built in a modular fashion, unlocking quick benefits while ensuring long term agility.

Capgemini Invent works with numerous retailers from varying verticals and with this insight we’ve identified and collated 6 key trends we expect will come to shape the future of retail and the way it will operate. These trends vary from operational models to physical spaces and even the products retailers choose to provide to their customers.

  1. Experiential Spaces: The role of the physical store is changing, shifting from shopping destinations to experiential spaces. Using customer data to tailor both online and physical stores to adapt to customers’ needs and preferences. Not only will customer experiences be enhanced by this tactic, but it will contribute to customer loyalty as they receive direct communications and experiences tailored especially for them.
  2. New Retail Channels: omni channel customers are forcing emergence and evolvement of the traditional store and online experience to become one. Through AR, VR, new digital spaces; new opportunities and additional touchpoints are becoming more readily available – businesses can build deeper insights and understandings of their customers all while delivering messages in new ways to garner higher engagement and interaction with their most loyal customers.
  3. Choice Paradox: Customers are burdened by limitless choice, expecting retailers to sell them solutions not products. Providing customers with bundled offers enables customers to find an all in one solution that’s fully curated to their needs and provided to them by retailers based on the insight collated. Delivering customers with the products and services that they need makes for a smoother and improved customer experience.
  4. Data as currency: Now more than ever, customers understand the value of their data and are driving retailers to create new value exchanges to be prepared to share. With access to far greater amounts of data, customers expect more than the bog-standard personalised marketing and product recommendations; they’ll look to find products, services and packages tailored specifically to them based on their own personal data profile a retailer holds.
  5. Purposeful Consumption: In a world where products are heavily commoditised, consumers are now choosing retailers based on their values not their range. This in turn is forcing retailers to review their supply chain operations and source responsible products. Customers value perception of products will become a much more emotional investment, where they actively seek products and services that meet these requirements that are both good for the planet and for the wallet
  6. Untapped Ecosystems: The retail value chain is fragmenting with consumers, suppliers and new entrants alike playing increasing roles in the e2e value chain of shopping. Therefore, there will be a time when collaborating with partners and suppliers will become essential in order to continue delivering products and services that customers will come to expect. Deeper collaborations will see more of customers needs being met through one retailer as opposed to many, giving these all-round retailers the edge over their competitors

Capgemini, SharpEnd and The Drum have joined forces to create a live retail store – CornerShop. It is a conceptual representation to illustrate the store of the future. Customers and clients alike can expect real life products, the latest technology and personalised experiences based on the insights gathered during real life transactions that take place in store. Find out more here.


Steve Hewett