Future of Retail - Operating Models of the Future

Last year’s report on the Future of Retail, developed for the Annual Meeting in 2017, projected that consumer-centric industries will go through more change in the next ten years than they have in the last forty. It also explored the ways in which the Fourth Industrial Revolution will accelerate, introducing gamechanging technologies, enabling once-impossible business models, and further empowering consumers. This report explores the implications of that acceleration.  It offers research-driven counsel on why organisations in the industry need to change, the features of the operating models that they should adopt, the associated challenges for employees, and the societal actions needed to best manage the scale of disruption to come. The operating models of the future will be designed to support legacy and new business models. At the core of how they operate will be ‘consumer-obsession’, a relentless focus on creating growth through holistic consumer value, delivered across the lifecycle of consumer engagement. As consumer needs and demands shift, so will the company – developing and scaling new businesses that disrupt and ultimately cannibalize existing businesses.  These changes in operating models are also driving changes for workers and how work gets done.  To succeed in the coming years, many workers will need support to overcome the challenges that technological disruption will bring and successfully transition to new roles. With automation threatening over 40% of consumer goods jobs and at least 20% of retail jobs in the next ten years, workers must be supported to master new technological, analytical and collaboration skills, embrace new ways of working and build their intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial awareness.  Companies will need to change how they approach training, learning and recruitment.  Governments, education and civil society leaders will need to work together to gradually shift how they prepare workers and leaders to be successful in the operating models of the future.  The time to act together and move towards a positive and equitable shared future is now.

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