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  5. Digital Express Aisle: Four in Five Retail Digital Transformation Projects ‘a Gamble’ According to Fujitsu Research

Digital Express Aisle: Four in Five Retail Digital Transformation Projects ‘a Gamble’ According to Fujitsu Research

Fujitsu UK & Ireland

News facts:

  • Retailers are under pressure to digitalise faster, despite a quarter having no clear strategy in place
  • Competing priorities undermine digital transformation success, exposing retailers to competitive risk
  • Study of more than 600 IT decision makers in Europe1 reveals widespread agreement that digital transformation is vital, yet highlights huge disconnects in terms of strategic priorities
London, February 23, 2016

European retail business leaders agree that omnichannel digital transformation is critical to their future success, yet research1 by Fujitsu reveals that most retailers lack a clear strategy for reaching this goal. In fact, European retailers are more likely than any other sector (83 percent) to believe they are gambling with their digitalisation investments. With nearly three-quarters of retailers admitting to playing digital catch-up, speed of response is critical and they can count on Fujitsu to help seamlessly connect new digital front-end experiences to their back-end systems and infrastructure.

“As online and physical worlds come even closer together, the development of ‘the connected store’ will become a key differentiator for retailers,” says Richard Clarke, Global Retail Director for Strategy & Business Development at Fujitsu. “Retailers are under extreme and constant pressure to head down the ‘Digital Express Aisle.’ Fujitsu research finds that four in five retailers want to move faster toward digital adoption. They agree that failing to digitalise fast enough will lead to sweeping penalties including reduced market responsiveness, higher relative costs impacting pricing and revenues, not to mention problems with customer retention and loyalty.”

This year is widely tipped by industry pundits as the ‘year of digital transformation’ with, for example, IDC predicting that: “By 2018, 80 percent of European business-to-consumer companies will have created immersive, authentic omni-experiences for customers, partners and employees”2. As one CEO told Fujitsu: “A simple homepage or online shop is no longer enough. The buzzword is omnichannel, as the customer decides when, where, how and which distribution channel is used.” Although there is widespread recognition that retail digital transformation impacts the top line in terms of how retail organisations optimise customer experiences while maximising efficiency, Fujitsu’s research uncovers huge disconnects in terms of strategic priorities for digital projects. Among the key findings:

  • Only one in three respondents agrees that digital priorities are fully aligned within their organisation
  • Retail executives disagree about who is the digital driver – only a quarter believe it is the CEO
  • One in three business leaders think they are already over-spending on digital projects
  • Only one in four is ‘extremely confident’ in making on the right choices

Clarke adds: “Customers want the same personalised service in-store that they get online, whether that’s through their smartphone or a store device. However, the lack of clear digital ownership across all channels and conflicting priorities are a barrier to success. Fujitsu´s connected retail digitalisation strategy focuses on supporting its retail customers on their journey to omnichannel digital transformation and in enabling them to achieve balance, both in order for them to thrive in a digital world as well as to transform their businesses without disruption.”

Business leaders who participated in the research summed this up in their own words, saying: “Our customers demand speed and convenience, so we’ve had to become (digitally) mature” … “There’s a strategy but it should be clearer. We’re moving with the innovations sent our way” …”Certain people would keep everything as it is. The resistance to change is strong, as is generally the case in mature sectors.”

Fujitsu defines transformation as bridging the digital disconnect through the seamless integration of new front-end experiences with processes and information at the core operational level. This process is fundamental to future business, yet many companies – including retailers – fail to appreciate the risks of attempting a poorly-planned implementation. Achieving the right balance is unique for every organisation, instead of being a linear process or about doing one thing or another.

What’s more, in order to be truly digital, organisations must be digitally-enabled from end-to-end, by building new digital front-end experiences and seamlessly connecting these to the back-end systems and infrastructure that enable them.

  1. Walking the digital tightrope: A study into the digital maturity of organizations across EMEIA was commissioned by Fujitsu and carried out by independent research company, Censuswide, in October 2015. The study covered the UK, Germany, Spain and Sweden and consisted of two parts:
    • A quantitative survey of 643 IT decision makers in the retail, finance, manufacturing and public sectors, examining how many companies are exploring the adoption of a two-speed IT strategy; the factors driving this adoption and the barriers to its success
    • A series of qualitative interviews with 16 CEOs in the same countries and sectors
    • A quantitative survey of 172 IT decision makers from retail sector
  2. IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2016 Predictions — Impact on Western Europe, February 2016, Doc # EMEA40967016

About Fujitsu Global

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 159,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.8 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu in the UK & Ireland

Fujitsu employs over 14,000 people in the UK & Ireland, with total revenues exceeding £1.8 billion. Offering an integrated product and service portfolio, we deliver consulting, applications, technology products, systems integration and managed services, including cloud-based solutions, for customers across both public and private sectors, including retail, financial services, telecoms, government, defence and consumer IT. For more information, please see

Daisy Onida

Phone: Phone: +44 (0) 20 7861 2800
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Graham Goulden

Phone: Phone: + 44 (0) 843 354 9568
E-mail: E-mail:
Company:Fujitsu UK & Ireland

Date: 23 February, 2016
City: London


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