Thrive in Digital Retail As E-Commerce Redefines Retailing, Customer Expectations Grow, While Brick and Mortar Evolves to Meet New Demands 


E-commerce continues to command the spotlight and the headlines. The king of e- commerce – Amazon – recently surpassed Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer, based on market capitalization, although Wal-Mart’s annual sales are still far greater than Amazon’s. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba looms on the horizon as the next great retail disruptor, one that could challenge Amazon for global dominance. These shifts have coincided with consumers gaining strength in their relationship with both retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.

Today, consumers expect much more when it comes to the retailing experience. Consumers have unprecedented reach via mobile devices, expect a vast array of choices driven by the World Wide Web, and through social media possess a megaphone to make their feelings heard. These digital technologies have made low prices, continuous sales, preferred treatment, a wide selection, and anywhere, anytime delivery the norms that consumers expect and demand from the brands they interact with. These digital shifts are pushing the retail experience to the edges of the supply chain network, where the consumer and his or her location are. Whether consumers want their homes, cars, delivery lockers or geo-locations to be the focus of the retail experience, the retail supply chain must follow. Retailers must strategize on how they can take advantage of all their assets as well as constantly push their supply chains to meet these consumer trends.

This report examines how digital disruption has shifted the consumer–retailer relationship. The consumer now holds greater power, and that has brought the retail experience to the edges of the supply chain network. How have retailers been creating new business models for their physical assets within this new environment? Finally, this paper discusses the systems and business processes CxOs must take into consideration if they are to not only survive this transformation but also flourish. 

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