While the internet has had a huge impact on shopping during the past two decades, the pandemic greatly accelerated the transformation of the retail experience and has driven a permanent shift in consumer expectations. A large off-price retailer in the United States wanted to understand these changes and their ramifications – along with the digital technologies that were enabling them and how other leading retailers were responding.
The company engaged Wipro as a strategic consultant to help it understand how to embrace the new world of retailing as it developed a roadmap to the “store of the future.” In particular, the company wanted insights about how it could use data and analytics to understand customer expectations more deeply, to improve the customer experience, and uncover new sources of in-store efficiency – all of which will drive growth and profitability.
Wipro, in collaboration with a retail consulting firm, worked with the retailer’s strategy team to define priorities, ideate, plan, and execute this engagement successfully. Primary research involved interactions with more than 1,000 shoppers, which created a new understanding of their expectations of in-store convenience. Retail competitors were benchmarked and best practices were identified. The effort led to defining initiatives designed to enable the company’s stores to be future-ready accompanied by a business case analysis and an execution roadmap.
This strategy-focused project identified many useful insights, including many low-tech solutions that can improve convenience, like an easy returns process, comfortable fitting rooms, and personable in-store staff. Moreover, the project articulated the evolutionary nature of convenience – once considered primarily a function of location – but now embodying ideas like self-service, flexibility, and store organization. Naturally, digital technologies like RFID (radio frequency identification) for seamless checkout and returns and big data analytics will play important roles in the chain’s future.
The effort also involved evaluating and recommending technology solutions to support the retailer’s futuristic goals and capabilities. The research findings and outputs of the engagement were presented to the board of directors to secure funding for the “store of the future” program. With board approval, the client has embarked on a multi-year program, starting with solutions to improve store associate productivity and inventory management. The capabilities and use cases provided during the assessment helped accelerate the technology selection and prepare an optimized roll-out plan.