Digital Retail in the Pandemic - Lessons Learned on the Journey from COVID-19 to Digital First

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[co-author: Ralph Fernando]

Retail and consumer organisations have been forced to adapt rapidly over the pandemic. Lockdowns, furlough schemes, remote-working, health and safety, cost-cutting, government backed financing, supply chain changes, rent-deferrals and customer engagement have all been in the mix, typically underpinned by hurriedly devised and launched digital initiatives. As we slowly emerge from COVID-19’s shadow, Ralph Fernando (Agile Change & Transformation Leader at FTI Consulting) considers what we can learn from retail’s recent digital initiatives.

Jesper Brodin’s celebration of retailers’ curiosity expressed in 2018, embodies both prescience and optimism – two qualities in short supply over the past year. For some, the forces unleashed by the pandemic have proved too powerful, with weak propositions, poor customer experience, misaligned channel strategies, fragile supply chains and threadbare balance sheets providing insufficient defence. However, this is not true for all - alongside the well-documented fables of failure, there are also many inspiring stories of success.

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