As consumer expectations change, can retailers deliver?

By

Andrew Cosgrove

EY Global Consumer Knowledge Leader & Lead Analyst

Consumer futurist. Strategist with global FMCG experience. Storyteller. Photographer. Father.

2 minute read 10 May 2019

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Retailers recognize that consumer expectations are driving change. Many are embracing the opportunity to test innovative ideas. But transforming at scale is proving to be the bigger challenge. 

Empowered by technology, consumer expectations are disrupting retail. But the disruption we’ve seen in the last 10 years is nothing compared with what’s to come. Glimpses of the future are to be seen in our world today, but choosing what will become a future reality takes bold confidence. 

When it comes to implementing change, companies without a legacy have the luxury of agility. But for retailers with hundreds or thousands of physical stores, the challenge is more daunting. Retailers are now highly motivated to rethink their business models, there’s no shortage of innovative pilots and concept stores, but how to implement the best ideas profitably and at scale is fast becoming critical. 

Exploring the future of retail

EY is helping retailers anticipate tomorrow’s consumer needs and build the transformation road map.  Together with World Retail Congress, retailers and futurists, we’re exploring the question “What kind of retailer will you become?”,  supporting retailers to identify future retail scenarios at the World Retail Congress' Hacks

Each hack is a unique environment for retailers to challenge their own assumptions about the future and immerse themselves in future world scenarios that anticipate the needs of future consumers. And, crucially, start building the road map to help them take action to create competitive advantage for tomorrow. 

Retailers need to do more than just brace themselves through this time of considerable disruption. They need to embrace the opportunity disruption brings. Many recognize that they are in transition, but at the start of that transformation journey. What they will become and how they will transform at scale profitably are front of mind, but remain unclear. These Hacks are an opportunity to explore plausible, possible and probable futures, understand what’s relevant and plan how to deliver it. By testing their thinking and shaping their strategy, retailers can prepare their business today for success tomorrow.
Andrew Cosgrove
EY Global Consumer Lead Analyst

Winning the future consumer

Building on the EY FutureConsumer.Now program, our on-going collaboration with over 200 business leaders, futurists and industry experts, we've modelled a 360-degree view of the future consumer and how their needs could change in a variety of “future world” scenarios.  From this work, we've identified five key imperatives that we believe will help retailers reshape their business so that they appeal to smart consumers of tomorrow:

For more on each one, read "Are you protecting yesterday's competitive advantage or shaping tomorrow's?" and ask yourself "what will it take to win?". 

Summary

Retailers are set to respond to consumer tech empowered expectations. Fundamental decisions are required right across the business to rethink and roll-out strategy if they’re to stay relevant to consumers.

About this article

By

Andrew Cosgrove

EY Global Consumer Knowledge Leader & Lead Analyst

Consumer futurist. Strategist with global FMCG experience. Storyteller. Photographer. Father.