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Why an adaptive mindset is essential for retailers in today’s climate


Fortune has not been kind to retailers lately. As if they were not challenged enough before, the pandemic has made market conditions more dire for many companies. Now each decision or lack of action is more important and carries a greater potential for advantage or consequence.

It is clear that this disruption has changed the industry, potentially forever. We believe customers will be different, as their preferences and shopping habits have altered. Each person’s spending tendencies have changed to some degree and, with the reality of social distancing for the foreseeable future, retailers have yet another challenge to overcome in meeting the needs of customers when revenue is more urgent.

Many retailers have permanently closed a number of stores. For these companies, an adaptive mindset is crucial to have a chance at recovery in today’s business climate. With a greater emphasis on safety, more and more shopping has gone online – a trend that will remain. The effectiveness of the traditional model with its chain through stores, distribution, and fulfillment centers is impaired. Supply chains have also been strained with a disproportionate demand for certain foods and supplies, and shutdowns of manufacturing plants only serve to add insult to injury.

These are enormous challenges for retailers. The ones coping best are those who adapted their operations the most. A case in point: some grocery chains are using their stores as fulfillment centers, understanding that curbside delivery is not just an asset but an essential capability now and in the future. Look inside these stores and you will see employees going up and down aisles with lists and carts. It is a different approach, requiring a different skillset from employees.

Consider the increased number of online orders, calls, and queries and it is clear that retailers are presented with one opportunity after another to adapt to the new reality of shopping, and a whole new way of doing business.

This is where technology comes in, especially in a highly affected industry like retail. Now, SAP S/4HANA is more than a talking point. Since it provides a “single version of the truth” behind supply chain, consumer behavior, financial data, and current and emerging trends, SAP S/4HANA has become an essential tool for agility. Companies have much greater control over their business and are better able to respond to change.

Capgemini has a long-standing partnership with SAP, and together with our retail-sector expertise and proven track record, we can help retail companies adapt to these troubling times. Because adapt we must.


Author details

Steve Tietjen is a Principal at Capgemini, assisting clients in the retail and apparel industry. Formerly with SAP, Steve has the experience to understand how the right solutions can make a positive impact on the business even in times of disruption. He can be reached at