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Retail of the future: between tradition and innovation

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Spending on digital innovations in Retail accounts for approximately 20% of total investment, but this is still less than 1% of the revenue of the top stakeholders. Among top retailers, innovations to support the customer experience in the point of sale, such as kiosks, touch points and innovative payment acceptance systems, are increasing (91% of respondents have implemented at least one), followed by back-end technologies, led by CRM and systems for monitoring clients in-store. For leading retailers in Italy, the biggest challenge for the store of the future will be to offer an efficient and engaging customer experience to consumers with multiple different needs and behaviours. In this frame of reference, innovation to develop the store of the future is spread over four different construction sites: omnichannel integration between the bricks-and-mortar store and digital initiatives (cited by 57% of the sample), developing new services (more or less) related to the core business of the retailer (23%), introduction and development of digital innovations (13%) and designing and launching new store formats (7%). Digital transformation impacts considerably on the acquisition costs of clients, and as a result, on the need to invest in their “loyalty”. More precisely, the challenge for innovative retailers lies in new dimensions of time and space in their relationships with consumers who are increasingly fast, hyper-informed, intelligent, opportunistic and, rightly so, critical. The 2017 Research has identified four models of Infinite Customer Journey, no longer depicted as a linear sequence of “stages”, but as a fluid experience, supported by digital technologies that engage the client continuously, both in-store and outside of the store.

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