World retail survey indicates now is a time for transformation

  • News
  • April 27, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
World retail survey indicates now is a time for transformation

Frequent technological upheavals have left retailers struggling with a need to constantly reinvent themselves, says global accounting firm PwC. It’s for this reason that the company has structured its 2017 Total Retail Survey around the investments retailers will need to make to remain competitive.

The survey covered more than 24,000 shoppers in 29 territories. While New Zealand is not listed in the results, much of the world is, so we combed through it for applicable insights.

Of the 24,000 shoppers surveyed by PwC, fully 56 percent shop at The ecommerce giant has just confirmed it will come to Australia, and is currently scouting for locations for its first logistics facility. It’s also seeking a local CEO.

The Total Retail Survey reports that 28 percent of respondents say they shop less often at retail stores because of Amazon. The same patterns apply to China and its local equivalent, Alibaba-owned, which induced 24 percent of Chinese respondents to shop less often.

Increased global competition with Amazon and the attempts of prod uct manufacturers to build their own direct-to-consumer networks, plus sluggish consumer demand worldwide and pressure to provide an omnichannel experience for customers are all weighing on retailers, the survey found.

Using data from the Total Retail Survey, PwC crunched the data to identify 10 key areas for retailers to invest in:

  • A mobile site. Mobile shopping is growing fast, and has plenty of room for growth as experience-based constraints are soon to be corrected.
  • Talent. Physical stores aren’t disappearing, and the importance of the in-store customer experience is only growing.
  • Big data insights. The key point here is insights, not just data collection – retailers are collecting an enormous amount of customer data, but there’s a need to process that into actionable insights.
  • Amazon strategy. Yes, a specific strategy just for dealing with Amazon. It’s that threatening.
  • Telling the brand story. Traditional advertising is no longer attractive to much of the global population. Instead, customers want authentic information that’s easily found.
  • Secure platforms. Cyber breaches continue to be a threat that’s on everybody’s radar, and trust is an important component of retailers’ relationship with customers.
  • Loyal customers. Reinforcing the loyalty of existing customers could pay off, especially online.
  • Showrooms. This investment is about customer experience – investing in showroom-style stores rather than the whole network could be a solution to consumers’ desire for in-store features.
  • Authenticity. Authenticity of branded goods is a huge issue, especially for products whose supply chains involve developing markets.
  • Health and wellness. Retailers are starting to emerge as new entrants into the field of non-traditional healthcare.

For more information, see the full report here (PDF).

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