From omnichannel to ubiquitous commerce

Megatrends in Retail: Huge shakeouts on the horizon

During recent years, the global environment has proven challenging for retail marked by considerable competitive pressure and the continuous rise of digital players such as Amazon and Alibaba.

For incumbent retail players, the current retail market transformation presents many threats. These can also offer major opportunities for those who leverage the blurring of the physical and digital worlds to secure customer engagement and find new avenues for growth…

Download the Retail Look Out 2020+ Paper

sales will be made by retail in 2020


of people check online before purchasing


new consumers will come online by 2022


of smartphone owners use their phones instore

With globalization and rising competition from digital platforms, incumbent retailers must not only develop in-depth synergies between physical and digital channels but also invent the ubiquitous commerce of tomorrow.

Terry Lobel,

Senior Vice President CPG & Retail, Atos

Four transformation challenges and opportunities for the future of Retail

the ubiquitous customer journey

With digital natives now making up two-thirds of the world population, digital has changed retail forever. What’s now at stake for retail players: getting to know customers intimately and interact accordingly, leveraging data and technology to precede rather than to follow customers’ expectations.

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Become lean & agile
with automation

The rise of AI and robotics bring further advances that are increasing competition and driving the development of new ecosystem platforms, which are providing multi-sided marketplaces and logistic innovations at scale. Joining or creating these platforms will be at the heart of tomorrow’s challenges for merchants.

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Develop innovative
business models

The digital world is changing the very nature of retail and profoundly disrupting value propositions as well as value chains. To succeed, retailers need to completely rethink their positioning, alliances and models in transforming ecosystems. Those that seize the best business model will be the tomorrow’s winners.

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absolute trust & compliance

With competitors just a swipe away, trust is more vital than ever for retailers in today’s virtual world. Adopting the right security measures are not only a question of prevention against the $ 1 trillion cost of cybercrime but also a fantastic competitive advantage lever.

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Take a look at the key technologies that will shape the future of Retail:


Hybrid Cloud is reviving Cloud initiatives by enabling seamless integration of private and public Cloud platforms. With this model, organizations can exploit the benefits of public Cloud: pay-per-use, ‘infinite’ bursting resources, agility and innovation. Retail players must adapt their IT processes and prepare for related security implications.


Data Management Platforms enable retail players to analyze customer behavior and manage interaction across all channels and touchpoints. Well beyond marketing applications, they should consider making it a cornerstone for their next-generation digital service platforms, ultimately enabling ‘segment of one’ or ‘B2Me’ marketing.


Robotic Process Automation brings virtual workforces to manage repetitive tasks, reducing the cost of administrative and regulatory processes by at least 50% while improving quality and speed. Retail players should standardize processes to facilitate automation.


Instant Payments - with the move towards a cashless society and ever more connected devices - is making the payments sector evolve rapidly, driven by data and better customer experiences. Retail players must explore Instant Payments and other game-changing technologies launched via social networks, chatbots or virtual assistants.


Artificial Intelligence promises to second human cognitive capabilities with virtual assistants, chatbots, knowledge engineering, smart machines and autonomous vehicles. It will impact customer experience, business models and operations along the entire value chain. Retail players must prepare for the business, human and legal impacts.


Blockchain is a potential game-changer for conducting business with parties without prior trust relationships. In Retail, it could revolutionize payments, supply chain management, product traceability, automated contracting and the micro-service economy.


Prescriptive Security uses real-time dark web monitoring, AI and automation to detect potential threats and stop them before they strike. Applications range from cyber-protection to fraud management and compliance. Retail players should explore integrating it into their Security Operation Centers.


Augmented and Virtual Reality are blurring real and virtual worlds, allowing customers, partners and employees to engage with digital services within the context of their current environment. Retail players should explore potential use cases in the manufacturing shop floor, in sales or service gamification and in virtual or physical stores.


Smart Machines have the potential to accelerate and simplify logistics between production and stores, with freight transportation and platooning, warehouse and shipment management and also last mile delivery. Autonomous roving vending machines and delivery drones are already being trialed in the field and should be considered by retail players.


3D Printing does not just facilitate rapid prototyping but also enables low volume and fully personalized production in multiple domains. It is even being applied in food, allowing unprecedented control of flavor, color, texture and nutritional content. Retail players should evaluate potential applications in their industry.

1Hybrid Cloud 2Data Management Platforms 3Robotic Process Automation 4Instant Payments 5Artificial Intelligence 6Blockchain 7Prescriptive Security 8Augmented Reality 9Smart Machines 103D Printing
  • Mainstream
  • Early Adoption
  • Adolescent
  • Emerging

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