Companies are contemplating a “U-channel” retail revolution and need to act now to adjust to the new, online- and mobile-driven environment, according to a new report.

“U-Channel Retail”, a new report from Arthur D Little (ADL), aims to give insights on the new retailing landscape, which it describes as “ubiquitous, universal and unique” and focuses on "U - the consumer".

The report argues that a future proofed U-channel offers more channels to interact, while seamlessly integrating them to ensure "one face to the customer".

Channels will become mere "touchpoints" as consumers navigate smoothly through the buying process; selecting products online at home, picking-up their products at a convenient location and paying from their mobile phone, the report said.

“The U-channel challenge is both a short- and long-term race,” said Francois-Joseph Van Audenhove, partner in ADL Benelux.

“This revolution will profoundly remodel the retailing landscape in the long run, but also requires taking appropriate measures today.

“Retailers must begin today to scope the field, understand the challenges at hand and set the directions for future developments.”

ADL identified seven key “domains” which it says retailers need to address, including culture, channel strategy, value offering and IT architecture.

The company pointed out that many bricks and mortar establishments were reluctant to embrace mobile technology, while e-tailers lacked a physical presence.