Shoptalk is one of our favorite industry events to sponsor because it brings together the best and brightest in retail and technology and opens the conversation to what the future of retail holds.
This year’s event, held in Las Vegas, held so many great tidbits, so we wanted to share them with you.
1. Content is Moving Away from Being Product or Brand Focused.
Though content marketing has been respected as a way to get to the heart of a consumer, more often than not, it focused around a brand’s product. Now it seems that retailers are investing in what they call nonshoppable content as a way to build brand loyalty.
One example that came up at Shoptalk was from Dollar Shave Club, a razor subscription service geared toward men. The brand has launched its online magazine, MEL, which provides articles men are interested in...with little to no mention of the brand that created it.
2. Direct-to-Consumer is on the Rise.
We called the D2C trend months ago! Seems we were spot on about how brands are finding that selling directly to consumers rather than going through a third-party a more lucrative and engaging experience.
Direct-to-consumer models take many forms, we learned at Shoptalk. Some brands buy others so they can dominate the space. Others form partnerships. And upstart ecommerce sites are finding affordable ways to enter the brick-and-mortar space.
3. Artificial Intelligence is Taking Retail to a New Level.
We at Vibes are big lovers of data and analytics, so we were happy to hear that retailers are learning to embrace it beyond mobile. Brands are using AI to provide more personalized marketing and shopping experiences, operate their businesses more efficiently, manage their supply chains seamlessly, and keep inventory up to date with less manual effort.
It’s exciting to see technologies that are changing the retail industry. We focus on mobile, of course, but it’s fascinating to see how AI can impact every aspect of a retail business.
4. Customer Experience is Getting Smarter and Better.
In the past, retailers have been focused on maximizing store space to boost sales. Place this item on an endcap, and more people will buy it. Put irresistible impulse items at the cash register. But now, retailers are realizing that customer experience (CX) is a big part of the brick-and-mortar space, especially in light of the ease and popularity of ecommerce. If a customer can buy something while sitting on her couch in her PJs, what could possibly compel her to get dressed and drive to a store to buy it instead?
Using customer intelligence and data (there it is again!), retailers are learning what customers want in terms of engagement in the store. Brands like Nordstrom are prioritizing in-store experiences like customer engagement, faster returns, pickups, and alterations, to great success.
At Shoptalk, representatives from Macy’s shared with us how that customer intelligence told the brand that while online shoppers looked for a fragrance by scent, in the store, they preferred to shop by perfume brand. Understanding how consumers vary in how they like to shop between channels is a great illustration of the brand prioritizing customer experience.
5. Authentic Experiences, Community, and Personalization are Key.
Another topic that we weren’t surprised to hear come up again and again at Shoptalk was personalization.
We’ve been preaching for years the importance of personalizing mobile marketing offers to drive better results. Clearly, retailers have gotten the message. Also, brands are leveraging customer stories to create communities because, in those communities, they can build loyal customers.
Another great Shoptalk for the books!
Speaking of personalization, be sure to download our Personalization Report to understand why your customers want to be seen as individuals and how you can treat them that way.
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