Accenture and Fast Retailing join forces to develop digitally enabled consumer services

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(Source: Retail in Asia | June 16, 2015)

Fast Retailing, the parent company of Japanese fashion chain store Uniqlo, is forming a joint venture with management consulting firm Accenture to accelerate the digital innovation of consumer services for its customers globally.

Expanding on a long-standing relationship, the two companies will explore ways to expand their collaboration to deliver personalised customer experiences across all of Fast Retailing’s retail channels.

Fast Retailing – which has operations across Asia, Europe and the United States – owns seven major brands: Uniqlo, GU, Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Helmut Lang, Princesse tam.tam and J Brand. To improve the personalised multi-channel experience for Fast Retailing’s customers, Accenture will help the retailer develop new digital business models that embed customer innovation, data analytics and digitised operations in product development, merchandising, production, logistics, marketing, sales and customer service. This should enable consumers to select, try, purchase and receive products and services anytime and anywhere, which is a key objective of Fast Retailing’s operating model.

As part of the initiative, Accenture will help Fast Retailing build a cloud-based technology platform, including supply chain and customer relationship management systems, to collect actionable customer insights that will enable the personalisation of the customer experience. The technology, including supply chain and customer relationship management systems, will be fully transformed as a cloud based infrastructure. Accenture Digital will provide the digital commerce, mobility and analytics capabilities needed to transform the customer experience.

Under the joint initiative, Accenture will also help Fast Retailing train and recruit the talent necessary to build an enhanced customer experience team, seeking candidates with skills in digital technologies including mobility, analytics and cloud. In addition, the two companies will establish an advisory panel that includes leading academics, opinion leaders and start-up companies to help shape Fast Retailing’s future digital services for its customers.

“We are pursuing a coherent strategy to establish an innovative business scheme that seamlessly combines real and virtual markets and to take the lead in the changing retail industry,” said Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President and CEO, Fast Retailing.

“Through this collaborative framework with Accenture, Fast Retailing will globally present and introduce the possibility of an innovative business model beyond the retail industry and accelerate developing the world’s leading direct business model. Fast Retailing, partnering with Accenture, will enhance store strategy, create a state-of-the-art supply chain network and develop innovative talent to meet the consumer demands in the era of digitalisation.”

“Today’s retail customers are a formidable force with shifting expectations, demanding a seamless experience – whether in stores or online – that is on their terms. Leading retailers know that digital is the key to creating the seamless experience customers want, and we will work with Fast Retailing to ensure they are making smart investment choices to create new value while ensuring efficient and effective operations across their entire organisation,” said Gianfranco Casati, group chief executive, Growth Markets at Accenture.