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What can we learn from the retail industry in Italy?

  • Posted on January 10, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
retail in Italy
At Avanade, we balance global trends and industry changes with the unique aims of each of our clients and our own personal and local team abilities. So, when the Digital Market Observatory in Italy published its 2017 Report on Retail of the Future, the two of us looked at it with an eye to identify what was unique to Italian retail and what was universal.  

Here are a few of the lessons gleaned that we trust will help you engage more deeply with your retail customers in 2018, wherever they are.

Retail in Italy is very similar to other countries: 
Omnichannel is a given: 57% of retailers surveyed are already working to integrate stores and digital channels.
To act digital outside, you need to be digital within: In 2017, top Italian retailers worked on one or more back-end digitalization projects from CRM, to ERP, to automated warehouses, to RFID tracking.
The store of the future is the future: It's what everybody is thinking about, talking about, as depicted in the infographic below.
store of the future objectives
But like every geographic community in the world, retailers in Italy also have very special features. Some will be relevant for the community you are serving, others may be so different that they will prompt you to think of brand new insights just by dint of sheer contrast. 

Retail in Italy is unique in several ways:
High number of Italian retailers: The report focuses on as many as 300 "top" retailers in Italy (one for every 200,000 citizens) and an additional sample of 200 "small" retailers to give a sense of what's going on among first and second-tier stores and shops.
Artificial Intelligence: The Italian report is silent about AI's place in the "Store of the Future." Avanade sees data-powered AI at the core of retail innovations, both for the store workforce and for customers. In fact, Avanade will be presenting AI in Retail at the 2018 NRF event this month
Innovation appears to be slowing down: Italian retailers report that they are planning less innovation in 2018 than they did in 2017. We believe what is really happening is a step change in innovation: 2018 will be the year of fewer, deeper implementations and broad roll-outs, after 2017 was teeming with experiments and pilots. 

Are you seeing the same retail trends in your country with what's happening in Italy? What's different, and how? Which of these findings can help you engage with your retail customers more closely? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section on other ways that add value for customers. 

Then, come and visit us as we design with our clients how Avanade will be changing Retail together in 2018.

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