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Case Study

Define future retail opportunities for telecom stores in 2030

Bell Canada is one of the country's largest mobile, internet, television, and phone providers. BCE is also one of Canada’s biggest retailers, with more than 6,000 retail points of distribution across Canada.

Retail behaviour is changing rapidly. Bell needs to know what role retail locations will need to fulfill in the future. They needed to understand the ways in which consumer behaviour, new technologies, and customer experience will transform in the next decade.

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Because online retail has become so easy, younger consumers expect a highly-refined and personalized experience in stores. They expect to get higher quality service in stores than anywhere else.

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Bell’s goals:

  • Predict how retail will change in the future and how stores must adapt

  • Pinpoint which retail technologies will be necessary to meet the CX demands of the future

  • Prioritize where to invest to best prepare Bell and retail stores for the future

This strategic foresight project would accomplish this by:

  1. Learning from the innovation initiatives of industry-leading telecom providers and startups around the world

  2. Analyzing academic reports about how consumer behaviour is and will change

  3. Determining possible future scenarios that will change Bell's retail landscape

  4. Evaluating the current Bell retail experience to determine gaps and opportunities

  5. Mapping speculative roadmaps for how Bell can best meet the demands of the future

We approached this project in four stages:

  1. Research

    • We conducted an ecosystem trend scan that looked at signals within Telecommunications and Retail both within and outside of Canada, and at related and relevant adjacent industries. 

    • We also looked at overall trends and signals related to consumer behaviour. 

    • We followed this up with in-store audits and interviews with sales associates to understand the current context and pain points.

  2. Scenario Planning

    • We developed 3 distinct scenarios for what the future of telecommunications retail could be, including strategic recommendations for how this could be implemented within the limitations and potentialities of Bell's business.

    • This included identifying the technology considerations to enable these futures without costly upgrades in the near-term.

  3. Workshops

    • We workshopped these trends with the client across three sessions to ultimately align on three unique scenarios of interest. 

    • These workshops were vital to inform the scenarios, however the most value was in quickly learning the strategic implications and requirements, to allow these scenarios to be most valuable to the executive team and delivery team.

  4. Strategy for Bell’s implementation of these scenarios

    • We worked very closely with our key stakeholders to build trust, understand the current state, and build a north star vision for the near and long term future scenarios of highest importance to their business. 

    • We designed layouts and optionality for how these scenarios could come to life, uniquely within Bell’s business model and risk tolerance.

PH1’s research & strategy delivered leadership with a toolkit for adapting capital investment projects:

  • Future scenarios for how retail is expected to change by 2025 and 2023

  • Opportunities for Bell to innovate their retail stores

  • Evaluation of potential technologies that Bell should invest in

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