Deloitte: Retailers Need To Expect Uncertainty

The world is a shaky place today, and, according to Deloitte’s 2020 Retail & Distribution Industry Outlook, uncertainty is the most certain thing about what’s ahead in 2020.

The presidential election and all that comes with it aside, economic turbulence could play a significant role in retail over the year ahead, with a recession possible and fallout from tariffs roiling the marketplace.

As such, Deloitte noted, retailers should have a flexible game plan in place so they can adjust as needed. Retailers should consider four actions, the firm suggested, to get ahead of events: determine why they matter; build a war chest to invest in growth; embrace technology and automation to better leverage growth; and look outside the box, literally and figuratively, to embrace partnerships.

Other factors to consider:

  • Growing consumer expectations bring tough choices. Given the rapid pace of technological advances and social transformation, retailers face elevated expectations for outstanding customer service and experience. To stay competitive, retailers must make difficult choices to remain profitable, including ongoing considerations about what products to offer.
  • Digital and brick-and-mortar continue to merge. More digital natives moved into physical stores during 2019, while traditional retailers rolled out digitally-powered physical buildings to better enhance the in-store experience and engage customers. In 2020, retailers will need to deliver more convenience to prompt consumer shopping and to satisfy customers.