European retail business leaders agree that omnichannel digital transformation is critical to their future success, yet research by Fujitsu reveals that most retailers lack a clear strategy for reaching this goal. In fact, European retailers are more likely than any other sector (83 percent) to believe they are gambling with their digitalization investments. With nearly three-quarters of retailers admitting to playing digital catch-up, speed of response is critical and they can count on Fujitsu to help seamlessly connect new digital front-end experiences to their back-end systems and infrastructure.
"As online and physical worlds come even closer together, the development of 'the connected store' will become a key differentiator for retailers," says Richard Clarke, Global Retail Director for Strategy & Business Development at Fujitsu. "Retailers are under extreme and constant pressure to head down the 'Digital Express Aisle.' Fujitsu research finds that four in five retailers want to move faster toward digital adoption. They agree that failing to digitalize fast enough will lead to sweeping penalties including reduced market responsiveness, higher relative costs impacting pricing and revenues, not to mention problems with customer retention and loyalty."
This year is widely tipped by industry pundits as the 'year of digital transformation' with, for example, IDC predicting that: "By 2018, 80 percent of European business-to-consumer companies will have created immersive, authentic omni-experiences for customers, partners and employees." As one CEO told Fujitsu: "A simple homepage or online shop is no longer enough. The buzzword is omnichannel, as the customer decides when, where, how and which distribution channel is used." Although there is widespread recognition that digital transformation impacts the top line in terms of how retail organizations optimize customer experiences while maximizing efficiency, Fujitsu's research uncovers huge disconnects in terms of strategic priorities for digital projects. Among the key findings:
- Only one in three respondents agrees that digital priorities are fully aligned within their organization
- Retail executives disagree about who is the digital driver – only a quarter believe it is the CEO
- One in three business leaders think they are already over-spending on digital projects
- Only one in four is 'extremely confident' in making the right choices
Fujitsu defines transformation as bridging the digital disconnect through the seamless integration of new front-end experiences with processes and information at the core operational level. This process is fundamental to future business, yet many companies – including retailers – fail to appreciate the risks of attempting a poorly-planned implementation.