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Too much, too fast? Retailers under pressure for digital transformation

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European retailers are under pressure to move towards digital transformation, but most believe they are playing catch-up and that they don’t have a proper strategy in place, a new study suggests.

The Fujitsu study, Walking the Digital Tightrope, questioned 600 IT decision makers in Europe about their digitalisation decisions – and found that retailers were the most likely group among those questioned to believe they lacked a clear strategy in reaching their goals. Four in five said they wanted to move faster towards digital investment, but 83% admitted they were gambling with their digitalisation investments, and almost three quarters said they were playing digital catch-up. One in three think they are overspending on digital projects, while one in four is ‘extremely confident’ about making the right choices.

“As online and physical worlds come even closer together, the development of ‘the connected store’ will become a key differentiator for retailers,” said Richard Clarke, global retail director for strategy adnd business development at Fujitsu. “Retailers are under extreme and constant pressure to head down the ‘digital express aisle’.

Fujitsu research finds that four in five retailers want to move faster toward digital adoption. They agree that failing to digitalise fast enough will lead to sweeping penalties including reduced market responsiveness, higher relative costs impacting pricing and revenues, not to mention problems with customer retention and loyalty.”

One chief executive told Fujitsu: “A simple homepage or online shop is no longer enough. The buzzword is omnichannel, as the customer decides when, where, how and which distribution channel is used.”

Clarke adds: “Customers want the same personalised service in-store that they get online, whether that’s through their smartphone or a store device. However, the lack of clear digital ownership across all channels and conflicting priorities are a barrier to success.

“Fujitsu´s connected retail strategy focuses on supporting its retail customers on their journey to omnichannel digital transformation and in enabling them to achieve balance, both in order for them to thrive in a digital world as well as to transform their businesses without disruption.”

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