Top 7 trends in retail digital transformation and innovation for 2021

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By: Retail Dive

From contactless services to cost optimization strategies, retailers are building adaptable business models in response to COVID-19, writes Gartner’s Kelsie Marian.

Editor’s note: Kelsie Marian is a senior research director at Gartner, Inc. Views are the author’s own.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation is accelerating at unprecedented speeds across the global retail industry, requiring retailers to build adaptable, composable business models to scale in disruptive environments. The crisis has also made clear the importance of technology to the industry: According to the Gartner 2021 CIO Survey, nearly two-thirds of retail CIOs believe their relationships with their CEOs have been strengthened during the past year, as CIOs have helped guide their businesses through significant disruption.

This year, capitalizing on the momentum of transformational activities — especially in physical locations — will be critical to building and maintaining the flexibility that is demanded of doing business today. For the foreseeable future, changes in consumer behavior will have a greater impact on value in retail than any other single factor.

To provide excellent customer experiences and, in turn, solidify customer trust, here are seven key trends that Gartner has identified to inform retail technology investments and other strategic decisions moving forward.


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