The new scenario opened after the health crisis and the impact it has had on the world economy has redefined in a matter of months the medium and long-term business strategies of the retail sector. According to the study "The challenges of retail in 2021: Opportunities to make a new vision for the sector come true", carried out by Esade Creapolis, the Esade innovation park, with the collaboration of the technological consultancy Seidor, 8 out of 10 Retailers consider that the main challenges in the sector are: improving the consumer's vision, managing omnichannel and digitizing the physical store.
"This report seeks to provide knowledge and be a source of reflection for the sector and shows that only those who manage to overcome the challenges presented will be able to transform and endure over time in a sector as dynamic as retail," said Oriol Alcoba, director of Esade Creapolis.
Based on 1,500 questionnaires to companies in the retail sector in Spain and 20 interviews with prominent players in the industry, the report also highlights the concern, especially on the part of manufacturers, about the transition from B2B to B2C, the achievement of traceability of their production and logistics chains and advanced customer segmentation.
Comfort and sustainability
Pre-pandemic trends such as convenience as the norm and the experiential store and shopping experience continue to be at the top of mind in the industry. 74% of the companies surveyed claim to have recently incorporated digitalization technology from physical stores and only 8% of retailers affirm that they will not incorporate technology to improve the experience or the need to improve the customer's vision.
Likewise, sustainability is consolidating itself as a fundamental pillar of business growth. The data from the latest CGS Trade and Sustainability report shows this trend, 68% of those surveyed consider that the sustainability of the product / service is a very important factor in their purchase decision and 47% would be willing to pay more for products sustainable.
Technology as a lever towards opportunities
Digitization and the use of technology are considered intrinsic in the short and medium term to respond to all the challenges for 2021. 62% of retailers say they are using CRM platforms to integrate and use consumer data and 48% are using analytical technology at the point of sale. Only a minimum 5% are currently using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence tools.
According to Javier Alonso, Marketing & Commerce Senior Advisor at Seidor, "technology will play a fundamental role in meeting these challenges, allowing more information to be obtained about customers and managing their data."