Global Powers of Retailing 2018

Transformative change, reinvigorated commerce

The 2018 Global Powers of Retailing highlights a number of trends that will no doubt resonate with Irish retailers. Transformative technological change continues to reshape the sector, with a more demanding consumer expecting a seamless retail experience regardless of whether they are purchasing online or in store. Shoppers are in the driver’s seat as they have access to unprecedented levels of choice. This has created highly competitive markets which, combined with lower economic growth in recent years, has led to a difficult macro environment for retailers. The net result has been lower growth for many of the retailers featured in this report.  

However, technological change also presents many opportunities for retailers with the vision and capability to take advantage of it. In the 2016 report The New Digital Divide, Deloitte found that digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in bricks-and-mortar stores, up from 36 cents just three years prior. Furthermore, people who shop using different methods—including online, mobile and visits to a physical store — spend more than double those who only shop at bricks-and-mortar stores, according to Deloitte’s The Omnichannel Opportunity study. This means retailers must adequately and holistically plan, strategise, and execute across all channels, regardless of whether the ultimate sale happens in-store or online.

The report shows that leading retailers are now acting on this advice, and outlines a number of examples of collaborations between ‘traditional’ retailers and digital players. It also outlines the importance of creating unique in-store experiences, as well as showing how emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and augmented & virtual reality are helping reinvent retail. In the rapidly changing retail landscape, being able to take advantage of these technologies to create a unique and individualised retail experience will be a key source of competitive advantage.       

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