According to the Deloitte annual retail, wholesale and distribution outlook, stores and human employees remain core to retail sector growth, although an omnichannel environment requires new business models and human capital modernization to maintain profitability.
New partnerships, IoT and digital supply networks can help retail success, Deloitte indicated, but store footprint rationalization and multi-use scenarios such as fulfillment centers, store-within-a-store and center-store reinvention will be necessary to maintain viable operations.
E-commerce growth and store closures will remain part of the retail picture. Still, consumer spending and the outlook for retail growth this year remain strong. Consumers increasingly expect digital and store experiences to work in concert, Deloitte noted, pointing out that retailers stand a 75% chance of converting a desktop or laptop shopper into a purchaser and that they have a 59% probability of converting a smartphone shopper into a customer.
Bolstered by a stronger labor market, retailers should anticipate confident spending in 2018. However, retailers have to anticipate growth challenges in a global environment with increasing choices that will elevate consumer expectations.