PwC’s Retail & Consumer Roundtable

Promotional Excellence & Indoor Tracking in Retail – How CPG Companies and Retailers benefit from Qick Wins

Data analytics and its benefits are the overarching theme of our next Retail & Consumer Roundtable. Our first presentation will cover Promotional Excellence. Trade spending has increased dramatically in most European countries over the past few years, reaching a share of sales in the high double digits on average. Despite significant investments, neither manufacturers nor retailers have a clear understanding of its return or of how to squeeze the most value out of each investment. At the same time, our project experience shows that up to 15% of overall trade spending could be either saved or reallocated thanks to better planning and control of execution. Analysing the data that retailers already have within their POS systems results in more effective promotions and prevents CPG companies from giving away margins unnecessarily.

Retail and consumer goods companies are increasingly investigating advanced analytics capabilities. However, the core questions of how to assess the value of data and how to best tap into it often remain unanswered. In our second input presentation we will offer insights into potential solutions for gaining access to precise instore location data, share advanced use cases, e.g. how to connect an online to offline consumer journey, and discuss the path towards building leading analytics capabilities.

Our breakfast roundtable is a platform on which retail and consumer practitioners and PwC experts can interact and discuss hot industry topics. The event starts with a breakfast that offers ample opportunity for networking. Two short input presentations are then followed by an open discussion.

Register online

Date & Location:

Friday, November 17th, 2017
07.30 – 09.00

Restaurant Au Premier
Zurich Main Station
Bahnhofplatz 15
8001 Zurich


Download the detailed agenda by clicking on the link.

Contact us

Dr. Christoph Walser
Director, Head Consulting Retail and Consumer, Zurich
+41 58 792 12 78

Chatbot Revolution in Switzerland: A New Era of Customer Engagement

New chatbot survey reveals huge potential for banks, insurers and retailers that make the first move

What sounded like sci-fi a few years ago is now a reality in many industries: chatbots. Digital programs that conduct conversations with people are triggering a revolution in customer engagement. But not yet, it seems, in the Swiss banking, insurance, retail and consumer industries.

PwC’s new survey of chatbots, conducted in partnership with the University of St. Gallen/CEMS, reveals huge opportunities for players in the banking, insurance, retail and consumer industries that use their intelligence and dare to make the first move.

Banking: a rosy future for chatbots

The survey shows that banking, in particular retail, has enormous potential for using chatbots to transform the customer experience. Customers are dissatisfied with existing ways of communicating with their bank, and a large proportion could easily imagine chatbots as a supplement to their e-banking service for routine account and credit card business. With only 30% of surveyed customers saying they prefer human contact, there’s clearly a lot of headroom. Banks themselves also see the potential, initially for simple tasks such as granting small loans, but ultimately for more complex services such as opening new accounts, trading stocks, and investment decisions.

Insurance: chatbots a dead cert

Insurers have so far failed to capitalise on chatbots. But with our survey showing that only 20% of customers want personal service, 85% already use phone or email to communicate with their insurer, and 60% willing to deal with chatbots to handle their insurance affairs, it seems like a no-brainer. Customers realise that chatbots are quick, convenient and available 24/7. Insurers themselves acknowledge that they’re a great way of reducing handling costs.

Retail and consumer: the most impressive potential of all

With only 18% of customers surveyed having a preference for personal service and 75% (both the younger and older generation) saying they favour chatbot-based channels for communicating with retailers, this is the industry with the most impressive potential of all. Another plus-point revealed by the survey is that privacy concerns are fairly low down the agenda of customers in this industry, while companies are already able to assure a relatively high level of data integrity. The stage is set for a chatbot revolution in retail and consumer!

So what are banks, insurers and retailers waiting for?

The survey suggests that making the first move is crucial. As tech companies gradually find ways of luring customers away from traditional providers in the financial services and retail industries, established players can stay competitive by moving fast on chatbots. The survey also suggests, though, that it’s not enough to copy a model from other industries, as chatbots fulfil needs that are very specific to customers in a particular market. Fortunately there are already mature chatbot technologies available for these industries. Also, chatbots perform best if they’re part of a fully integrated ecosystem, so you have to make sure your data and processes are integrated. A proper roadmap is crucial as well: chatbots work best when they’re back by a long-term strategy.

These are the key points. For more detailed insights, we invite you to check out the whole survey:


Chatbot Revolution in Switzerland


It’s a must-read for companies in the banking, insurance, retail and consumer industries that want to use chatbots to stay competitive by transforming the experience of their customers.


Holger Greif
Partner and Leader Digital Transformation
+41 58 792 1386

Dominic Olonetzky
Co-Head Consulting, PwC Digital Services
+41 58 792 2926

Otto Hieb
Senior Manager Financial Services, PwC Digital Services
+41 58 792 4743

PwC’s Retail & Consumer Roundtable – A Success

«Digitization and Transformation of the Swiss Retail Sector»

On June 30, 2017 PwC Switzerland organised the first of a planned series of Retail & Consumer Breakfast Roundtables at the “Au Premier” in Zurich main station. In his introductory remarks Dr. Andreas Plattner, Director Transactions pointed out that against the background of constant negative press headlines on the state of the Swiss retail industry one could easily despair. Yet, the current fundamental transformation of the sector – largely driven by the fast paced digitisation of the retail value chain – does create opportunities and thus, a silver lining on the horizon.

Dr. Christoph Walser, Director Retail & Consumer Consulting, elaborated on selected highlights of the 6th PwC’s Total Retail Survey, a global consumer study with more than 24’000 respondents from five continents in 29 countries. In his presentation he explained how investment in six areas can help retailers master the challenges ahead and, thus, be better prepared for the future. The central piece of good news for most participants was that stationary retail in Switzerland is not doomed to vanish. However, the future retail store will look distinctly different.

Briefly touching on the need to define an strategy for both retailers and consumer goods manufacturers – irrespective of whether or not Amazon finally enters the Swiss market – Christoph built the bridge to the second input note. Dominic Olonetzky from PwC Digital Services (PDS) explained the evolution and growth of electronic market places both globally and in Switzerland. Revealing how various merchandise categories will be affected differently by these market places Dominic stressed the importance of a clear strategic direction. Direct-to-consumer business models and in-store digitisation, moreover, offer attractive opportunities for Swiss retailers and consumer goods manufacturers alike.

During the following open discussion participants explored in-depth some aspects of the retail transformation and continued the exchange in lively one-on-ones with the presenters after the official end of the event. Judging by the encouraging turn-out rate and positive feedback received from participants the topics presented were spot on and the PwC Retail & Consumer Roundtable a success.

Save the date: the next PwC Retail & Consumer Roundtable is scheduled for November 17, 2017 from 0730-0900.

The team

Dr. Christoph Walser
Director Retail & Consumer Consulting

Fashion’s way Forward: An action plan for the hard-hit fashion industry

_MG_0210For Western fashion companies, the last few years have provided a sobering reminder of the perils of making the wrong investments. Many companies in Europe and the U.S. increased their retail store space; others invested heavily in their e-commerce websites, believing that direct sales from their own branded stores would be essential to their success. Not all of these bets were right for every company, and companies that got it wrong have been penalized heavily. Many of them are struggling with the resulting high fixed costs and diminished retail store productivity.

This is an important time for fashion companies to make sure that their strategies are clear and differentiating.

Read the whole action plan for the hard-hit fashion industry.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to hear from you.

Fashion’s way forward: An action plan for the hard-hit fashion industry

Executive summary

For Western fashion companies, the last few years have provided a sobering reminder of the perils of making the wrong investments. Many companies in Europe and the U.S. increased their retail store space; others invested heavily in their e-commerce websites, believing that direct sales from their own branded stores would be essential to their success. Not all of these bets were right for every company, and companies that got it wrong have been penalized heavily. Many of them are struggling with the resulting high fixed costs and diminished retail store productivity.

Develop digital abilities and opportunities

To take advantage of the industry’s fast-emerging digital ecosystems, fashion companies need to develop agile IT platforms. An agile approach to IT means greater flexibility and scalability and an ability to link to external partners and interfaces quickly. The real-time processing of internal and external data that will be enabled by these external linkages will significantly increase transparency and the accuracy of forecasting. It will also enable fashion companies to operate Strategy& 13 more efficiently across their supply chains, making step changes in speed and flexibility at a cost that is justified by the benefit. As an example, leveraging real-time sell-out data from gatekeepers’ websites helps to manage reorders and avoid out-of-stock situations.

The other capability, besides agility, that is needed as fashion companies move to fulfill their digital sales potential is a deep expertise in data analytics. Data analytics can help fashion companies figure out what happened, why, and what might work better, and make adjustments to their business. For instance, the U.K. fashion retailer Next, with £4.1 billion (US$5 billion) in annual revenue, uses Blue Yonder, an analytics software company, to help it find new customers. Data analytics can also be used to implement dynamic pricing, the on-the-fly adjustment of prices to capitalize on seasonal, time-of-day, and individual user dynamics. And a few players are pushing the boundaries of digitization even further. Google and Zalando recently showcased a pilot in which an artificial intelligence system creates a virtual design of a piece of clothing for consumers based on the consumers’ input.

Download the full report here.

Brexit from a retail and consumer perspective

R&C Trendwatch - BrexitThe UK’s historic vote on June 23 to leave the EU surprised many, both in Britain and mainland Europe. Businesses are coming to terms with the implications, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the exit process and how this will change the UK’s relationship with the EU and its other trading partners. From a retail and consumer goods sector perspective, the implications are not clear cut. There will be both challenges and opportunities, depending on a company’s structure and the extent to which it relies on access to Europe’s single market for trade and labor. This report describes how the Brexit process is likely to evolve and how Brexit will affect four areas of concern for retail and consumer businesses: the economy, trade, tax, regulation and legislation, and people and organizational strategy.

Download here the full report.

Geldwäschereiprävention: die neuen Pflichten für Händlerinnen und Händler

Ab 2016 werden die Geldwäschereisorgfaltspflichten auf Unternehmen und Berufe ausserhalb des Finanzbereichs ausgedehnt.


Die Gesetzesänderung mit Bezug zur Geldwäschereiprävention, welche in Januar 2016 in Kraft tritt, schreibt für die natürlichen und juristischen Personen, welche gewerblich mit Gütern handeln und dabei Bargeld ab einem Betrag von CHF 100’000 entgegennehmen, strengere Regeln vor. Diese Bargeldzahlungen unterliegen neu einer verschärften Abklärungspflicht, und die Händlerinnen und Händler,  z.B. Immobilien-, Kunst- oder Edelsteinhändler, müssen, in Bezug auf diese Zahlungen, Sorgfaltspflichten wie Finanzintermediäre einhalten, ohne dass sie selber über eine Bewilligung für die Tätigkeit als Finanzintermediär verfügen.

Erfahren Sie mehr in unserem Informationsblatt:

Geldwäschereiprävention: die neuen Pflichten für Händlerinnen und Händler

Unsere Experten – Ihr Kontakt:

Susanne Hofmann

PwC | Legal Compliance Leader Switzerland | Director
Birchstrasse 160 | Postfach | CH-8050 Zürich

Michèle Hess

PwC | Assurance Director
Birchstrasse 160 | Postfach | CH-8050 Zürich

Swiss Retail in the Age of Disruption – Total Retail Switzerland 2015

_MG_0210Digital disruption has taken hold of the retail sector. In light of this, for the third consecutive year PwC has asked Swiss consumers about their shopping preferences. Our discoveries are noteworthy.

  • The Swiss are ordering online less frequently. Consumers say they making fewer purchases online than in previous years. For specific product categories such as groceries, they even seem to be returning to brick and mortar retail.
  • New segments are embracing digital. Silver surfers are growing increasingly interested in e-commerce and online social activity. And unlike Digital Natives, this demographic has the purchasing power to make a large impact on Swiss e-commerce.
  • Swiss brands are failing to embrace consumer engagement. Though many retailers maintain brand pages on social media, two-way interaction between customers and retailers in Switzerland has not taken off. Shoppers do not believe that their voices are being heard – and because of this, social media is not yet a major part of the Swiss customer experience.
  • Mobile commerce is yet to gain popularity. Though mobile use is booming, market players have been slow to reap the benefits of this development. Consumer interest in mobile commerce is low. This is largely due to meagre service offerings, which fail to convince consumers who are wary of privacy concerns.

These are some of the key findings of PwC Switzerland’s third annual Total Retail Report. This year’s publication is digital and allows you to export and play around with PwC data on consumer preferences. Visit our website to find out more. You’re in for a fascinating and stimulating experience!

If you have any questions, I’m happy to hear from you.