Reimagining the retail store of today: PwC’s Retail Agility Challenge

22 May 2017

Retail is ever changing and with continued online consumer growth we are seeing a decrease in visits to physical stores. Our ‘Total Retail’ report suggests that retailers should ensure an optimised and enhanced in-store experience is created to aid shopper conversion. However many retailers still face daily challenges such as stock transparency, brand consistency between locations and real-time performance analytics, thus limiting their ability to meet customer expectations. A client recently brought these inefficiencies to life, outlining that they still produced 4 million pieces of paper annually to manage basic transactions, simple communication, task management and hazard reporting.

We wanted to reimagine the store of today and with that thought, ‘The Concept Store’ was born. In this we showcase how a cloud based technology, Google’s G Suite of apps, could be used as a foundation to drive efficiency and productivity gains whilst enhancing the overall customer experience. We built an immersive pop-up department store on the ground floor of our More London office to bring this retail experience to life. The store showcases how by empowering employees, creating a smarter, more connected workforce and enabling easy and seamless communication between the store, back of house and head office, retailers can create an enhanced customer experience.


The store has been very well received, with excellent feedback from more than a hundred clients that have been through the experience. Key operational challenges have resonated with retailers throughout the immersive experience and the store underpins that these business challenges can be solved in a seamless way.

Our modular solutions are designed to bridge the gap between online and in-store, whilst simultaneously empowering employees with an increased ability to collaborate, and creating a smarter more connected workforce. For many clients, the compelling proposition is that the G Suite of Apps can sit on top of existing systems and extract the relevant data, rather than requiring a complete complicated and expensive overhaul. Ultimately, the store helps clients imagine an integrated retail experience from shop floor to the boardroom.

Taking real-time delivery tracking as an example. When visiting the store, one of the UK’s largest food retailers outlined that they have no live delivery tracking system in place. They are solely reliant on communication between warehouse, driver and store to provide delivery times, which is inherently inaccurate and inefficient. In ‘The Concept Store’, this challenge is solved by leveraging a Google Maps integration to keep an eye on incoming items, so that store employees can be prepared for deliveries and better utilise their time in the interim.  The result of introducing a real-time tracking system can be significant. PwC’s analysis has found that digitising supply chains and improving visibility can lead to efficiency gains of 4.1% while boosting revenue by 2.9% annually (Strategy&: Industry 4.0).

Although designed specifically for retail clients, the challenge lends itself comfortably to other industries. The technology is flexible in its application and we have been able to adapt the example use cases to the needs and goals of the client.

Giles Orr, PwC’s Google UK Practice Leader, has said 'what's really interesting is how rapidly it is possible to build these solutions. The flexibility of the Cloud based solution allows us to build “modules” on top of existing technology and quickly address issues. By using Agile development, we are able to create solutions in as little as 6 weeks.’

"Ability to bring buyers and sellers back together... to share ideas, get feedback.. grow sales and have fun doing it."


"Very thought provoking. An easier way to share than we have seen before. How do we get everyone to "get" it?"

Pentland Brands

"A great catalyst to revolutionise communication within business to make it digital and instant."


To find out more about the Retail Agility Challenge, please contact Giles Orr or Antoinette Kyuchukova.

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