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Capgemini’s CornerShop: Redefining physical retail shopping in the post-pandemic environment

Evolving the customer experience

In February Capgemini, in partnership with connected experience platform SharpEnd and global media platform The Drum announced the CornerShop. Physically located in London, the CornerShop is a retail innovation store designed to transform shopping and customer engagement post-pandemic. CornerShop works as a live testing environment for brands, retailers and shoppers to reimagine the shopping experience through new technologies.

Utilizing the management consulting and digital design capabilities of Capgemini Invent and insights from research and data analysis, Capgemini will enable retailers and brands to evolve the customer experience, improve in-store operations and help customers rediscover in-person shopping with new engagement options in physical stores. TBR sees CornerShop as closely aligned with Capgemini’s Inventive Shopping offering, which addresses customer-related challenges such as new ways to engage, shop and build loyalty.

Partnering for post-pandemic retail

Overall, Capgemini utilizes advisory and digital design capabilities — some of which came through acquisitions, such as that of Idean and Lyons Consulting Group in 2017 and LiquidHub in 2018 — and Salesforce Commerce Cloud capabilities to win deals.

Last November Capgemini announced the completion of a personalized and data-driven e-commerce initiative for the U.S. website of Italy-based sportswear manufacturer Fila. Capgemini provided digital marketing, e-commerce, experience design, application integration and support services, improving the client’s ability to support online sales after the onset of the pandemic and closure of physical stores. The website, built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, also uses Salesforce Service Cloud and MuleSoft to integrate the digital ecosystem. In July 2020 Capgemini completed the implementation of a new business-to-business face mask program for Gap Inc. Capgemini created a website in less than five weeks and a solution enabled by Salesforce Commerce Cloud to help Gap quickly add nonmedical cloth face masks to its online store offerings.

Expanding its industry-specific solutions by selecting priority industries for its portfolio development, such as consumer goods and retail, improves Capgemini’s ability to address pandemic-driven challenges specific to each business and industry segment. Consumer goods and retail, which accounted for 12% of revenue in 2020 and declined 0.1% year-to-year in constant currency, is on a path to recovery from the negative effects of the pandemic. Revenue in the segment declined 5.5% year-to-year in 2Q20 and 2.4% year-to-year in constant currency in 3Q20 but increased 4.3% year-to-year in 4Q20, indicating the challenges tied to store closures, supply chain interruptions and social distancing are easing up. Transforming the shopping experience through the CornerShop will help Capgemini increase activities with retail clients as they gradually ramp up sales and open physical locations as the pandemic abates.

TBR’s coverage of Capgemini includes quarterly detailed reports on the company’s financial performance and strategies related to go-to-market, resources, alliances and acquisitions. Capgemini is also covered in TBR’s quarterly IT Services Vendor Benchmark and semiannual Management Consulting Benchmark, and the company is featured frequently in our monthly Digital Transformation reports. 

East meets West: A comparative tale of two e-commerce giants placing big bets on the cloud

Alibaba Cloud, AWS focus on build-outs of global footprints via infrastructure investments in 5G and expansion of data center and edge locations

While the growth of the two globally dispersed e-commerce giants Alibaba and Amazon is largely fueled by retail, both businesses have showed marked dedication to the growth of their respective cloud empires, focusing on infrastructure to fuel global expansion and investment in augmenting their respective portfolios. The investment in cloud is evident as the backbone driving each business as they compete on the global stage to become leaders in digital transformation (DT).

Alibaba Group’s aforementioned profit margins, fueled by its B2B operating model, have enabled a hefty investment of $28 billion dedicated to the cloud business. As the world was gripped by the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic back in April, the parent company announced the allocation of the sum, which stands as a massive proclamation of the company’s dedication to cloud and related technologies as the core drivers toward the enablement of DT. The sweeping investment, coupled with new leadership and an expanding partnership strategy, solidifies Alibaba’s intent to position its cloud business as a viable contender against AWS, especially in APAC. Alibaba is clearly placing a large majority of its bets on cloud and the future of DT, as the investment equates to 40% of its total 2019 revenue and is 5.7x the revenue of Alibaba Cloud.

The investment will have a profound impact on Alibaba Cloud’s ability to execute on strategies around DT, infrastructure build-out and R&D, and came at a time when the world could not have been in more need of capabilities such as increased bandwidth and enterprise and SME support. The focus in the medium term is a multifaceted push to gain scale globally, attract new customers and expand wallet share with existing customers, and much of this growth will be propelled by the expansion of Alibaba Cloud’s infrastructure backbone with the build-out of data centers and investment in 5G across EMEA and APAC.

Since solidifying its dominance in China and garnering competitive positioning on the global stage, Alibaba has been frequently referred to as the “Amazon of China.” Both companies have anchored their businesses as e-commerce platforms and have demonstrated parallel growth trajectories, becoming mainstays in the lives and businesses of customers globally. The uniqueness of their respective journeys, which have been significantly shaped by their foundations as e-commerce giants, does not overshadow the companies’ similar strategies. Over time, Alibaba and Amazon have evolved rapidly into diversified companies with a distinct focus on technology and digital transformation. While the companies are in different phases of their growth, in terms of size and global footprint, and have different operating models, the investments in and focus on their respective cloud businesses to drive growth are evident when comparing their evolutions and forward-looking growth strategies.