2020 was a market-shaping year for the retail industry. The contactless shopping experience has led to dramatic and dynamic changes to retail operating models. While some retailers achieved record earnings, many struggled to adapt and at least 50 major US retailers entered bankruptcy. In an industry with already paper-thin margins, retailers are faced with consequential decisions as they reimagine the consumer experience and supply chain models.
According to a 2021 Deloitte analysis of retail C-suite executives, the top investment priority is digital acceleration. Yet, digital touchpoints are now table stakes for consumers and retailers alike.
For example, retailers are reimagining person-to-person interactions digitally with the use of live streaming and many are leveraging customer data and analytics to customize interactions and offerings and better anticipate fulfilling customer expectations. These shifts place more value on customer data, artificial intelligence and partner services and integrations (web and supply chain) for retailers. They also place strong emphasis on an important bond between consumer and retailer around trust and data privacy and protection. Today, however, research conducted by Deloitte on consumer perceptions of data privacy and protection concludes retail customers feel vulnerable. A data privacy and protection trust gap exists which retailers need to address as part of their post-pandemic transformation strategy.