PwC report identifies 10 investment areas for retailers

March 23, 2017 - India

The 2017 Total Retail Survey report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has identified 10 different types of investments retailers can make to invest in their futures. With the continuing shift in customer preferences, a lingering low-growth environment and an unforgiving global marketplace, some retailers are facing threats to their very existence.

The investment areas listed in the report include mobile site. Shoppers favour mobile apps for augmented rewards and loyalty points from retailers, but view mobile sites as far more convenient. Since then, there is a good deal of evidence for the superiority of the mobile website, as well as severe app overload.

The report also suggests retailers to invest in talent. "The physical store is not in danger of disappearing any time soon. At the same time, the digital experience is all-important to consumers. Retailers need to consider both dynamics in their search for talent," it states.

One of the top issues for retailers is parlaying the enormous amount of customer data they generate into actionable insights and thus, they need to consider investing in big data insights. Investment in an Amazon.com strategy is also on the list of investment areas in the report.

Invest in the 'story', not traditional advertising, says the report. More and more of the global population is not attracted to traditional advertising— they want authentic information they can find at their fingertips: what are their friends doing, which brands are hot on social media, what is trending with their favorite influencers. The retailers are also advised to invest in more secure platforms.

Retailers also need to make investments in retaining their already loyal customers. Investing in showrooms and not the entire store network is another advice for the retailers. "While the store is not going away anytime soon, its purpose is evolving. There is compelling evidence that people want the physical experience of trying things, but aren’t that happy with aspects of the in-store customer experience," adds the report.

Authenticity of branded goods is a huge issue for retailers, particularly for products made and sold in developing markets or whose supply chains wind through developing markets. Thus, it is necessary for retailers to invest in the authenticity of branded goods. PwC report also suggests investing in healthcare offerings.

"The ten areas of investment described in this report cover a range of areas, including digital infrastructure, offline retail network, communication strategies, analytics capabilities, customer loyalty, and talent. The variety reflects the increased business complexity that retailers are facing. Since business models differ and budgets are not unlimited, the priority and urgency of the proposed investments will vary by company," concludes the report. (KD)