Once retailers have resolved their liquidity challenges, overcoming these barriers will need to be top of mind to succeed in the new normal.
Beyond: As consumer behaviors shift, technology will take on new significance. Will all retailers take advantage?
As retailers prepare for a post-pandemic world, their technology vision will assume new significance, particularly in the context of accelerated changes in customer behavior. For example, we have seen grocery retailers adapt at rapid pace to keep society fed. Having proved their ability to adapt, they now need to continue to tap into this energy.
Retailers also need to remember that technology is significant beyond digitization. Retailer respondents in the EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer cited sustainability as a key challenge. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to increase expectations around the sustainability agenda. In the EY Future Consumer Index, 40% of respondents view sustainability as more important when shopping compared with their views a month ago. Furthermore, 75% believe that company behavior is as important as what it sells. Technology will be a key enabler for retailers to respond to the sustainability challenge and to drive consumer engagement and create long-term value.
Across the sector there are significant opportunities for organizations with the funds and ability to take advantage. Although slightly more than half of retailer respondents have already embedded or have made good progress against their transformation plans, more than one-third have only taken initial steps or are only considering how to transform. Given how fast consumer behaviors are changing (accelerated by COVID-19), those further behind in their transformation initiative are running out of time, let alone to take advantage of these opportunities. They need to pick up the pace, or risk being left behind.