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Adaptive retail: Redefining the role of the store to improve competitiveness

Adaptive retailers are rethinking the role of the store to maximize profitability and be competitive.


Stores are making a comeback, but they are different in format, feel and function. Today, some stores play the role of showroom; others serve as a distribution center and some stores are a multi-channel hub that connects physical and online experiences.

No matter what the role of the store, adaptive retailers have refreshed their thinking about how the store can boost multi-channel success.

Explore a four-point strategy for integrating stores and online quickly to bolster competitiveness.


Key Findings

Stores are taking on new roles:

Showroom. Stores are becoming an interactive place where retailers can tout their wares and deliver an elevated customer experience. Adaptive retailers are using 3D displays, interactive fitting rooms and checkout on mobile devices, among other in-store features.

Distribution center. For some retailers, the store will become part of the wider distribution network and serve as a distribution and pick up center. According to Accenture research, 36 percent of shoppers would wait for the store to open the next day to pick up, and only 32 percent of shoppers are willing to wait more than five days for their goods to be delivered.

Multi-channel hub. As retailers bring new, engaging, digital experiences to the store, they must also consider what role the store plays alongside e-commerce and mobile to create multi-channel engagement.


Retailers must become adaptive to this new era of consumer behavior, integrating stores and online quickly.

  1. Understand your customer

  2. Make decisions based on your core customers and products, and develop multi-channel options that resonate with them.

  3. Evaluate your store base/distribution network

  4. Take time to assess potential for varied store formats.

  5. Model the revenue and the cost side

  6. Take a collective, holistic view of your business to unearth new ideas for how to save costs.

  7. Choose the migration and format strategy

  8. Select a multi-channel strategy that best serves your top and bottom line by keeping in mind holistic impacts.




Accenture Jay Hentschel
Jay Hentschel
Managing Director

Jay Hentschel is a managing director in Accenture Strategy’s Retail Industry practice. He has over twenty years of experience working with retail clients on significant, multi-year transformational programs. Jay also volunteers on the Retail Advisory Committee for the New York City Investment Fund and has authored numerous article. He holds an MBA with distinction from Columbia University and is based in New York City, NY.