Consumers are making radical demands – and retailer must respond, strategists warn

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Retailers must react quickly to customers’ radically evolving expectations and demands to remain relevant and successful, according to a thought-provoking new white paper for retail industry strategists published today by Fujitsu.

Fujitsu Future Insights – Digital Transformation in Retail” argues that the changing retail landscape even includes a growing rejection by Millennials and Generation Z customers of the conventional mass-production/mass-consumption economic model that has prevailed for more than a century. Implementing successful digital transformation as a solution to challenges of this magnitude will determine which retailers survive and which competitors cease to remain relevant, says the report.

As well as the changing nature of consumption, the report identifies four other “megatrends” retailers can leverage to create differentiating strategies for the future.

  • Discontinuity in the values and behaviour of the consumer:By 2030, there will be six concurrent generations of consumers, each with differing values and behaviours influenced by different experiences of technology. Retailers need to shape offerings into micro-segments that are even more differentiated than these generational categories.
  • Regaining control of data by consumers:Transactions are increasingly driven by personal data, giving digital platform retailers huge advantages or even a de facto monopoly. Retailers must develop services that enable individuals to control their own information better, using technologies such as blockchain to rebuild trust.
  • Diversifying relationships between people and machines:Retailers are entering the era where the role of employees will change – as machines take care of the more mundane tasks. This will create new values and drive greater demand for professionals with skills in managing AI and other digital technologies, as well as opportunities in creative areas, for example professional stylists.
  • Human centric ecosystems:Cross-industry ecosystems are emerging in many other industries, including financial services, mobility and healthcare. Retailers with a solid customer base will become key players in these new ecosystems, contributing to realise a sustainable society.

The Fujitsu Future Insights series introduces the company’s thoughts about global digital transformation trends, providing deeper analysis of challenges and the impact of technologies in specific fields. It also introduces possible future scenarios and strategies related to those areas. In the “Digital Transformation in Retail”, Fujitsu describes its vision for the future of digitalised retail services and proposes how retail and other industries will be transformed by its digital technologies.

Richard Clarke, Vice President, Executive Director, Global Retail at Fujitsu, explains: “Society is evolving and this is invalidating many of the basic assumptions on which mass-market retailing was built. The future will belong to those retailers who understand and respond to consumer concerns about trust and social responsibility. However, retailers that don’t recognise the need to transform will find themselves increasingly sidelined, and unable to regain losses in market share or credibility. As a digital transformation partner for some of the biggest names in global retail, Fujitsu is committed to developing human centric innovation and trust in retail via co-creation with its customers, ultimately contributing to a sustainable and prosperous society.”

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