Are you ready for connected retail?

PwC Belgium survey, in cooperation with The Retail Academy (Gondola Group), shows that customers are calling the shots and it’s time for retailers to get fit for the digital age

Targeting the ‘phygital’ shop

Connected retail is more than a buzzword… it’s a clear call to action to remain competitive and be successful in today’s market. Both retailers and suppliers are convinced that the omni-channel approach is not the final answer and believe that a more integrated approach is necessary in order to be able to respond to new consumer trends.

They do, however, have low self-esteem in terms of the targetability of goals and what to prioritise. Both retailers and manufacturers understand that the ‘phygital’ shop (physical + digital) is a key target, though integrating the remainder of the value chain seems to have been forgotten. Connected retail still appears to be in the early stages of a major trend and actual organisation model.

Are you ready for connected retail? offers insights from recent surveys and discussions conducted by PwC Belgium and The Retail Academy with consumers and retailers on the topic of connected retail, and highlights key facts and considerations on the next retail reality

woman holding phone and multiple shopping bags

"A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is "

Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit

Addressing the gap: where retailers are failing to meet customer expectations and how they can get fit to drive growth 

Our findings have highlighted seven key facts that amount to a ‘call to action’- it’s time to evolve or be left behind. 

  1. Retailers aren’t yet offering a seamless experience across channels 
  2. Retailers aren’t interpreting data fast enough into actionable insights 
  3. Connecting the dots across various customer touch-points is now a core skill 
  4. Retail loyalty programmes are not dead but do require a serious re-think 
  5. Be VERY aware of the social media-savvy consumer 
  6. CEO’s are concerned that they aren’t using technology to the best effect 
  7. While technology is the enabler, few have managed to define and execute an effective roadmap fit for the digital age

Belgian retailers don’t feel ready for digitisation

In 2014, over 40% of retail managers felt ready for digitisation. At that time, there were primarily two concepts linked to ‘digitisation’. Firstly, retailers thought the value chain needed to be digitised; retailers considered it to be sufficient to lay the work with the manufacturer, with a clear need to digitise their product information and make it available to the value chain. And, digitalisation was often seen as synonymous with ecommerce. 

In 2015, just over 20% of retail executives believed their company was ready for digitisation, but it was unclear to them whether digitalisation entailed more opportunities or threats.

In 2016, only 7% of retailers believed that their company was ready to keep pace with digitisation, notably considering finding the right (out)sourcer(s) to be a source of frustration.


Four imperatives for retailers of doing business in the digital age

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Create a customer-centric organisation



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Ensure that all customer interactions are personalised and relevant across channels



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Use customer data to deliver personalised engagement and interaction


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Optimise technology and integrate it in the digital value chain

Contact us

François Jaucot

François Jaucot

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 473 65 89 84

Mathieu Van De Poel

Mathieu Van De Poel

Director, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 499 56 77 51

Kristof De Coster

Kristof De Coster

Director, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 476 56 13 23

Connect with PwC Belgium