Last week, we joined 8500+ attendees from over 40 countries at Shoptalk 2018. This was our debut year as sponsors, exhibitors, and TechTalk presenters and our team came away energized for 2018! Over the course of three days, we had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of retailers from around the world, and what we heard loud and clear is that preventing profit leakage and ending the “death by discount” cycle is a mission-critical priority in 2018.
The level of speakers and the content presented at Shoptalk is what sets this event apart from other industry events and is what I suspect the driver for their 3x annual growth rate.
A few key takeaways from the event:
“Data is the backbone of retail,” Daniel Alegre, President of Retail and Shopping at Google, stressed in his keynote speech. Google announced a new product – Shopping Actions – in an effort to help retailers grow bigger baskets.
Macy’s transformation: Jeff Gennette, Chairman and CEO of Macy’s Inc. wowed the room with his presentation on Macy’s transformation, “The Path to Growth,” revealing new innovation around in-store self-checkout, and the focus on private-label growth and how it is putting their customers at the forefront.
According to Emily Weiss, Founder and CEO of Glossier, retailers must “give your shoppers a voice; you have to truly listen to them and not just make them feel heard.” For this beauty brand, allowing customers to socially connect and share their views and skincare routines will build brand image.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning took center stage. Not surprisingly, the use of AI and machine-learning science for transformative results in retail was a theme throughout the week. Although at Revionics we have been pioneering and advancing AI and machine learning in retail for more than a decade for some of the most elite retailers, it was refreshing to see retailers finally moving beyond the hype (both negative and positive) and accepting that it is now a must-have strategic driver for retail.
Data science approaches continue to evolve. The Ph.D.s at Wharton shared insight into how combining observable data with neuroscience and consumer psychology to create impactful customer experiences, predict brand success and maximize CLV.
The tried-and-true “do nothing” strategy is no longer an option. Retail disruptors have already incorporated machine-learning science into their pricing, promotion, and markdown strategies. In our TechTalk session, my colleague Mark Schwans, Revionics’ Senior Director of Solutions Marketing, shared his thoughts on applying machine-learning algorithms in the real world, and gave examples of how our clients are using machine learning science to achieve measurable, significant impact on both the top and bottom line.
One of the most interesting sessions was Alibaba’s track on retail and ecommerce innovation in China where Souheil Badran, President of Alipay North America and Lee McCabe, VP/GM of North America discussed why brands and retailers should look to China to see what the future of retail looks like. The growth of ecommerce shoppers is expected to rise to 891 million in China by 2020 compared to the United States’ 270 million and is expected to account by 27% of the 57% of sales that will be online by 2019. Although a powerful ecommerce titan, Alibaba’s move to brick and mortar using a new playbook is impressive and seeing AI as part of their current and future growth is sure to make a difference.
Know Your Shoppers. Personalization was also on everyone’s minds. The days of treating all customers the same are long gone. It’s critical that you know what drives your shoppers’ behaviors.
Our interactive Shopper Assessment attracted a lot of interest from retailers at the event. This assessment tool was built around findings from the recent Revionics-commissioned global shopper study conducted by Forrester Consulting , Demystifying Price and Promotion, and highlighted eye-opening shopper insights. I invite you to test your shopper knowledge with this quick interactive survey:
More growth ahead for Shoptalk? It’s exciting to see Shoptalk gain – and sustain – momentum. The event has had some minor growing pains and there is room for improvement on the logistics side, but I believe it definitely has the potential to take its place as one of the top retail events annually. I’m eager to watch this event grow and evolve in the coming years!
i “Demystifying Price and Promotion,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Revionics, September 2017.