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The future of retail is in consumers’ hands

How should retailers adapt?

Three steps that retailers can take to survive in the era of consumer-to-business—an individualized, increasingly digitized, and complex shopping experience led by the buyer rather than the seller.


Our financial and strategic analysis of 100 retailers from 11 retail subsectors demonstrates how recent customer experience trends—including an individualized, increasingly digitized, and complexified shopping experience led by the buyer rather than the seller—are compounding a margin crisis that was already playing out before the pandemic. Welcome to the era of consumer-to-business.

How should retailers adapt?


Here are three steps retailers can take to embrace it.

  1. Remove friction. Make shopping easier by offering various purchasing formats, such as text, livestream, social media, and web as well as fulfillment options like “buy online, pick up in store.”
  2. Redefine service. Treat consumers like merchants in their own right: Offer more thorough product descriptions. Expand return options, potentially including other retail partners.
  3. Organize your operations by customer segment. Create a designated customer management team for each segment, charged with owning that segment’s data and smoothing their experience across touch points.

For more of Deloitte’s insights on the consumer-to-business model, read The retail profitability paradox published by MIT Sloan Management Review.

Deloitte Consumer Industry Center


Technology is changing rapidly, and so are consumers, radically altering how companies do business. The Deloitte Consumer Industry Center delivers insights that help leaders in the automotive, consumer products, retail, transportation, hospitality, and services sectors better understand their business environment and where it’s heading.

Learn more

Cover image by: Victoria Lee

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