As the ways in which customers make purchasing decisions continue to multiply, retailers are at a crossroads. 

Retailing is a low-margin business, so companies have to expand rapidly if they wish to remain attractive to investors. The retail world with its single digit margins and relentless big bets on fashions, trends and timing has never been a place for the faint-hearted. Add digital technology disruption, emerging market opportunities and changing customer trends to put more variables in flux than ever before. Because of the unrelenting pressure to grow, many globalisation gambits are opportunistic and jeopardise carefully crafted strategies.

One of the key reasons for operating a bricks-and-mortar store was to build a strong, distinctive brand experience which no longer seems as relevant. Due to the rapid rise of social media and corporate transparency, customers wield tremendous influence in shaping retail brands. The once dependable competitive edges enjoyed by bricks-and-mortar retailers are eroding, which means they can no longer afford to assume any inherent advantages over their online competitors.

Whether the general picture from the high street is good or bad, some retailers seem to thrive while others struggle. Thriving retailers are those that use technology to do the basics well. Retailers need fresh talent from other industries and infrastructures to help them create and manage flexible supply chains, understand and respond to customer needs and exploit their brand effectively.

Our thinking

Retailing in the
21st Century

Don’t Re-engineer `
– Reinvent

Whose business is IT?


View other insights in this series >>

Fashion and retail industries operate in the fast moving market, yet most retailers use old processes and practices >
Retailers need fresh talent and next practices from other industries to remain relevant
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