To the more than 8,400 attendees at Shoptalk last week in Las Vegas, it is clear that physical retail is not dead and the future of retail belongs to those that stay customer driven and agile!
Now in its fourth year, Shoptalk describes itself as an event “where the entire retail ecosystem comes together to create the future of retail based on the latest trends, technologies and business models, including changes in consumer expectations.”
The content from the conference covered the latest trends, technologies, and challenges within the industry and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. Below please find my key takeaways!
The store is back! Physical retail isn’t dying, it’s transforming.
Despite the growth in digital, 85% of retail sales are made in physical stores today. A key takeaway definitely included the ‘revenge of brick and mortar.’ The store is back…However the store has to provide value.
Nordstrom’s Co-President Erik Nordstrom indicated that the company is looking at the diverse roles stores play. He shared that retail stores no longer merely exist to display merchandise. They should be a place for engagement, faster returns, pickups and alterations.
Numerous sessions focused on native e-commerce brands like athletic startup Fabletics or mattress company Casper that are now opening up storefront operations. We are starting to see e-commerce companies follow Amazon’s lead in realizing the value of physical storefronts.
As offline brands move into the digital space and e-commerce brands buy physical stores, the entire consumer journey is being blended with omni-channel touch points which brings me to my next key takeaway.
Companies struggle to create omni-channel experiences
Many retailers first embarked on their omni-channel journeys many years ago. Yet few companies have truly nailed what it means to seamlessly blend physical and digital channels. Omni-channel is still a work in progress.
Brick and mortar retailers have transitioned from catching up digitally to creating sophisticated experiences where physical retail plays a leading role. Further, e-commerce retailers are capitalizing on stores aided by vendors that provide turnkey stores they can pop up in or just use to gain a physical presence.
Most traditional retailers have embraced digital transformation initiatives ranging from adding e-commerce capabilities to digitizing supply chains and physical retail locations.
However, we still have a way to go around fully integrating their systems and organizational structures. It is important to remember that the core of a successful omni-channel strategy relies upon trusted product content that powers the path to purchase.
During a keynote on Lowe’s, they shared how they build revenue through buying online and picking up in store. Today, over 70 percent of its online sales are picked up in-store.
Create seamless, cross-channel personal shopping experiences
Today’s increasingly fickle consumers expect a personalized customer experience regardless of where, when, or how they shop. Successful brands create seamless personal shopping experiences across channel by leveraging stores as part of the customer journey and one touch point on the path to purchase, rather than completely separate channels.
Technology is critical here to create personal experiences both online and in store and customer data must be leveraged. Retailers must make the most of AI solutions to better understand customers’ buying habits and customer experiences – key factors that determine how a brand can differentiate itself.
Utilize data across the organization to power powerful omni-channel shopping experiences
In order to be successful in creating personal shopping experiences, cross-channel data must be leveraged across the organization. During a number of sessions, brands discussed how they are getting more departments involved into the process. Marketing is partnering with IT to better leverage data across the organization.
Forward thinking customers of 1WorldSync are working cross-functionally with their supply chain data and marketing data to leverage product content both in-store and online.
At 1WorldSync, we’re continually partnering with our customers to help them create seamless omni-channel experiences which serve as great shopper experiences!