Jean-Baptiste Branquart

Jean-Baptiste Branquart

Senior Vice-President, Consulting Services, Retail

In my previous blog, I talked about the pandemic accelerating the impetus for retail, consumer and services organizations to become truly digital. I also shared how this was a tremendous opportunity to reshape the future and offered six recommendations for retailers to accelerate their digital journey.

Since then, I’ve had numerous conversations with clients to understand how they continue to pivot to new market realities. My recommendations have resonated with these clients as they quickly and effectively want to build agility and resilience into their organizations to deliver growth.

Advancing retailers’ transformation

Accelerating their digitization by investing in cultures, operating models and technology to drive business transformation lies at the heart of these strategies. For instance, FashionCube aims to maximize synergies and achieve operational excellence across its ecosystem of six leading European fashion brands through managed IT services.

With CGI’s help, a number of organizations also are investing in data to better understand evolving patterns of consumer behavior and transform decision-making. Adeo, a global DIY retailer, for example, is moving all its data warehouse environments to the cloud*, while another global apparel company is renovating its data architecture and using offshore teams to manage its data. Both companies are looking to use data to improve decision-making, optimize operations and provide greater value to the business.

New customer behaviors are driving change

According to estimates, about 20% of the workforce will remain remote. In this hybrid work reality, it’s become critical to reevaluate store strategies to identify which stores to keep open and why. At the same time, underlying trends accelerated by the pandemic, such as home delivery, pick-up options and conscious buying, continue to gain traction. This poses two key questions for retailers: How do I offer better services in-store, and how do I improve agility to deliver goods to my customers?

To offer unified experience at better cost, retailers are opting for comprehensive approaches (vs. piecemeal initiatives) to simplify and optimize operations. For a global cosmetics company, this includes CGI helping them move all store apps to the cloud and implementing a single solution for all customer services. Similarly, we are helping Mr.Bricolage, a French DIY retailer simplify store back-end process and enable digital services like click and collect to improve in-store efficiency and customer experience.

Leveraging strategic partnerships that span the entire value chain also is helping retailers drive service innovation. One example is finding ways to use technologies such as automation, Bluetooth and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to solve the challenges of reverse logistics. With the uptick in ecommerce, handling returns with efficiency and speed is vital. Here’s where a collaborative innovation approach can help.

Insights to inform your investments and strategies

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to put pressure on retail, consumer and services organizations to be more adaptive to change. Industry leaders have been advancing their digital journey for many years, but while close to a third have enterprise-wide digital strategies, few say these digital strategies are producing results. These insights are gathered as part our Voice of Our Clients program and are part of a larger, comprehensive knowledge-base of findings that provide a valuable global antenna for clients—based on facts, not hype—to benchmark best practices. In my experience, these insights, which include trends and priorities and leading best practices across our global client base, enable you to assess where you are in your digitization journey vis-à-vis peers, and equally importantly vis-à-vis digital leaders. This helps inform your organization’s investments and strategies.

Co-creating the future through shared value

Our Voice of our Clients program provides the deep insights required to further capitalize on the progress you have already made to continue your reinvention.  The shared value that comes from understanding your trends and priorities also enables us to better align our investments to support your needs.

I invite you to learn more about the Voice of Our Clients program and contact me for available insights and benchmarking. Also, watch out for news on the upcoming 2021 program’s insights and our perspectives on them coming out in June.

*Read more about Adeo’s data-driven strategy to drive digital transformation in our interview with Laurent Ostiz, the company’s Chief Data Officer.

About this author

Jean-Baptiste Branquart

Jean-Baptiste Branquart

Senior Vice-President, Consulting Services, Retail

Jean-Baptiste is responsible for managing key client engagements with retail organizations in the North of France. As part of his role, he also supports CGI Retail Suite implementations worldwide.