Retail Trends: The Shift To Online

The Corona pandemic has impact user behaviour no end, and now research from bodies such as Yandex.Checkout and Accenture indicates that the consumer shift from offline to online might not be a short term behavioural trend.

In a new study named “The New Era in Customer Engagement Study”, Accenture predict that by 2025 there will be 30% fewer physical retail outlets.

According to the report, the Corona pandemic has led to significant permanent shifts in people’s behaviour, indicating that businesses should look to reorient their processes to communicate directly with the end consumers of their products and engage in greater levels of digital transformation.

The report warns that previously effective business models may cease to work in the near future, and the processes taking place in the world should become a catalyst for the transformation of companies. Accenture analysts have identified three steps to take right now.

Andrey Skorochkin, the Managing Director of the Strategy Department at Accenture in Russia & Kazakhstan, has been quoted alongside the report:

The transfer of employees to a permanent remote format will become a difficult issue both for businesses around the world and for Russian companies. A new workforce balance needs to be found, taking into account the changing roles of the customer communications staff. To do this, it is necessary to work out standards regarding who will work from home and who will work in retail outlets. Taking this into account, we will have to rebuild the system of motivation, training and even corporate ethics – after all, you cannot just mechanically move traditional processes into a remote working environment.

Okhotny Ryad underground shopping mall, near Red Square may change forever.

The Accenture report predicts that new customer acquisition models will significantly impact retail outlets.

Meaning that by 2025, the number of stores and branches will decrease by 30%, while the number of stores in new experimental stores that provide “experiences” versus a traditional retail environment will increase by 20%.

It is also predicted that the total amount of retail space will fall by 30%, whilst retail employees will be 70% less likely to perform checkout functions, and about 50% of the staff (if not more) will be engaged in building customer relationships and providing customer service beyond base sales and returns functions.

Accenture detail in the report three core considerations for businesses when building and planning for the next five years, these being:

  • To accept unpredictability and that customer expectations have now changed forever
  • To look to build more flexible customer service teams and be prepared for more customer service touch points (such as through VK and other social media channels)
  • To focus on creating sustainability and fall-back within the supply chain and fulfilment processes

You can read the full report (in English) here.


Photo Credits

Okhotny Ryad underground shopping mall, near Red Square taken by flowcomm, and used under CC 2.0 License.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of