The new digital divide

The future of digital influence in retail

Today there is almost universal recognition among retailers that digital has reshaped customer behaviour and shopping forever. Deloitte’s New digital divide report, deepens our exploration of the growing gap between the digital experiences that brick-and-mortar retailers are delivering and the experiences that their customers actually want.

Even as digital influence has risen, retailers’ ability to influence the purchase journey has decreased. Why? Because the large e-commerce players, as well as digital platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest, are operating at such scale now that they are shaping customers’ definitions of what a great customer experience is. Not only that, but they are also simply more connected (often in real time) to the customer’s needs than the typical brick-and-mortar retailer. As a result, almost universally, customers’ preferred method of locating, buying, and receiving products in-store has been redefined by their online experiences.


Brick-and-mortar retail companies face formidable competition from e-commerce players; yet traditional retailers need not give up the battle for growth. By seeking an in-depth understanding of their own customers and by using their physical assets to their advantage, retailers can put in place strategies for customer engagement that allow them to thrive.

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