Digital Transformation in Retail: Ten Trends Accelerating Disruption

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods put the world on watch: The Digital Transformation of the largest segment of consumer spending1 is about to begin. Pundits have been offering their hot takes on this truly disruptive deal—home delivery, big data analytics, robots in stores, or simply a strong demographic alignment between the high income of Whole Foods' shoppers and Amazon Prime. But the real story is one of key trends in retail and how much faster these trends reshape the industry.

While retail was one of the first industry segments to "go online," to date we have yet to see the industry shifts experienced by Financial Services, Transportation, Hospitality, Energy, and Media. In the United States, only 8.5% of all retail sales were conducted online in the latest quarter2. Europe holds the same percentage as a whole (though UK and Germany are well ahead of this pace). Amazon, by the way, accounts for 53% of that share, as well as much of the overall growth of the American retail sector. Alibaba's dominance in China tracks in parallel.

Retail is ripe for digital transformation. The 10 emerging trends presented here will likely define the new state of how we buy and sell. They will no doubt separate leaders from laggards, and those that build even higher levels of loyalty from those that cease to exist.

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