Disruptive influences: Three key trends transforming the face of retail

Disruptive influences: trends transforming retail

How leading retail disruptors are capitalizing on changing customer needs and expectations.

Jan Karasek KPMG in Poland

Partner, Management Consulting, Strategy & Operations

KPMG in Poland

Mobile shopping for groceries

The last few years have been a period of significant and far-reaching change in the retail sector. New technology, regulatory reforms and a transformed economic environment combined with changing consumer needs, expectations and demographics, have created unparalleled opportunities for businesses with fresh ideas and new business models to change the game in fundamental ways.

What’s more, there is no sign that the next few years will be any different. If anything, the pace of change is likely to increase. Three-year plans are being replaced by three-month plans as businesses grapple with the seismic shifts taking place.

Today’s consumers are looking, above all, for value, convenience and a unique experience. These three trends are driving disruption to existing markets and business models on an unprecedented scale. Retailers who fail to respond to these trends are being punished — often severely. Retailers who deliver on one or more of these trends, however, are being rewarded — often handsomely.

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Who are the winners in this brave new world, and what can we learn from them? In this paper, we look at some of the disruptors who are taking advantage of, and profiting from, these changes in consumer expectations.

They include newcomers such as Warby Parker (established 2010), HelloFresh (established 2012) and Thread.com (established 2012), who have enjoyed rapid growth and snatched market share from incumbents on the back of a new approach and new choices for consumers. But long-established businesses are also winning by adapting their business models to the new retail zeitgeist.

However retailers respond to the disruptive influences of value, convenience and experience, neglecting to respond is not an option. To achieve any kind of sustainable growth — and increasingly, to ensure their survival — retailers must find ways to differentiate in at least one of these areas. Of course, identifying an opportunity is one thing — being able to execute on it is another.

In this paper we also explore some of the operational implications associated with being a disruptor.


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