During the pandemic, we’ve all been watching with horror as stores close and shopping behavior has turned upside down. Amazon’s sales are up 40% in the last 12 months. What’s the future of retail, we have to ask? Join us for an engaging discussion with Paul Leinwand and Samrat Sharma from PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s as they discuss the future of consumer markets and where the consumer shopping experience is headed. Paul Leinwand is global director of the Strategy& unit of PwC based in Chicago and teaches strategy and management as an adjunct at Kellogg Graduate School of Business. Samrat Sharma also works at Strategy& and has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon.
Cyndi Greenglass: Can you describe what you mean by the store of the future?
Samrat Sharma: You know, this is a great topic, we're having a ton of discussions with a lot of our clients today. As difficult as disruption can be, it often nudges us. We were already going through a trend where the store was being redefined to be more omnichannel, to be more experience rich in a really fusing the physical and digital world way. If at all, the pandemic just accelerated that. So, what does that mean? In a practical sense, it means technology will continue to revolutionize or enable both online and physical retail, forcing a real change, a real shift in business models, but, primarily driven by the consumers because what consumers like you and I are really looking for is a frictionless, completely tech enabled experience. The retailers and, quite honestly, the manufacturers, are trying to respond and serve the consumers where they meet the consumers, where they want to be met. As a result of that, traditional channels will continue to blur as retailers and manufacturers both embrace this whole direct to consumer model. The fulfillment experience will become an increasingly critical point of differentiation, execution and as a result of the pandemic health and safety, will continue to be a key component of the loyalty that any retailer will be able to drive in the future.