Retail’s responsible reset

The five imperatives for retailers as they refocus on post-pandemic profitable growth.

The future of retail

No one could have predicted a year quite like the one just experienced. And yet some retailers have shown remarkable resilience, using the crisis as a catalyst to accelerate digital innovation and pivot to new business models.

What does that mean in practice? We’ve identified five imperatives—digital, fulfillment, sourcing, talent, and data—that we believe are essential to enable retail success and growth in the post-pandemic world.

These must be complemented with a genuine and purpose-led commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and underpinned by modern technologies, enabled by cloud.

Now the focus shifts to the future. And while much remains uncertain, it’s clear the pandemic has transformed many of the priorities and operational realities of the retail industry. It’s vital that retailers now reset their businesses—and create an agile culture of “continuous reset” and reinvention that enables them to maintain a focus on sustainable and profitable growth.

Retail Customer engagement

Reset digital

Align your brand for channel-less shopping, while protecting profit and exceeding customer expectations.

Retailers need to rethink the full suite of digital commerce capabilities—ensuring digital sales do not mean less profit.

Engage customers with your brand

With the pandemic accelerating digital adoption by several years, the channel-less retail shopping future arrived sooner than expected. Retailers must rethink how they engage customers with their brand.


2021 worldwide digital shopper penetration

Retail Supply chain

Reset fulfillment

Activate local fulfilment and use assets (either yours or through partnerships with others) to make it profitable.

Retailers should embrace local fulfillment to meet customer needs and expectations in a more profitable, transparent and sustainable manner—strengthening brand and customer relationships.

Predict and optimize with data

Getting products to customers has become increasingly costly and complex. Retailers should use intelligent data analytics to predict how best to serve the most profitable, highest value customers—and keep them coming back.


Almost half of retail executives agree their organization is meeting customer expectations for order fulfillment.

Sustainable sourcing

Reset sourcing

Rethink the supply base, focusing on value expansion, sustainability, transparency, and surety of supply.

Retailers need to reset their sourcing strategy to ensure supplier pairings that feel authentic and on-brand—and that meet both the retailer’s need for surety and its commitment to responsibility, while continuously creating enterprise value.

Collaborate across the ecosystem

Customers want transparency, which creates a new value equation for retail—to balance supplier cost against service levels, sustainability and resilience. By treating vendors as true partners, retailers can benefit across the value chain.


of global consumers report shopping more responsibly now compared to pre-pandemic.

Retail workforce

Reset talent

Empower a digitally enabled, data fluent, and diverse workforce and culture to enable growth.

Retailers must prepare their people for the future of work in ways that serve individuals and communities as well as their business.

Create a future-ready workforce

Retailers need to think how their culture and employee value proposition can be used to retain and attract talent. This includes defining a purpose-driven culture that sustains equity and diversity, where everyone feels they have a chance to thrive.


Only 21% of retail executives say big data analytics is used extensively across their organization.

AI in retail

Reset data

Treat data as a strategic asset—and use it to drive decision-making at speed and scale.

Retailers need to improve the data maturity of the organization and data literacy of the workforce ensuring it is prioritized by senior leadership to drive the most value for the business.

Focus on the data that matters

Continually making decisions with data at scale and speed—and finding ways to monetize data effectively—requires a significant shift in approach for most retailers. Only a handful of companies have made headway on this journey so far.


Fewer than 5% of the Global 1000 have made significant headway on the data journey so far.

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The big read

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Full report: Retail's responsible reset

To thrive in an uncertain future, retailers must reset and reinvent responsibly and get ready for constant change—find out how in our new report.


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Infographic: Retail's responsible reset

Find out about the five imperatives for retailers as they focus on post-pandemic growth.

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