Most companies are aware of the need to keep up with trends in innovation, some will even claim to be innovators themselves, but few actually allocate resources for experimentation around digital – this despite the need for digitisation at every level of businesses big and small. Digitisation is the new normal, even for legacy brands.

At the World Retail Congress (Madrid, April 2018), this process was described by the organisers as a “tide”, exemplified by the inexorable progress of Amazon in the west, and Alibaba and JD.com as they expand across Asia. The tide has upset the traditional operations of legacy brands, which can sometimes feel they’re in a zero-sum game, but in reality, the picture is more complex.

Not only have these brands integrated digital technologies into their own systems, but digital brands have started to invest in physical establishments. While this is by no means two sides of the same coin, it is indicative that each has something to learn from the other.