I recently had an opportunity to go to Shoptalk- a first-of-its-kind event focused on “next-gen commerce" in Las Vegas. Shoptalk focuses on innovation & disruption in retail & e-commerce featuring big retailers, technology providers, innovative disrupters, and venture capitalists sharing their perspectives in a panelist setting.
3 key takeaways from Shoptalk 2016
1. Experiential retail is inevitable
Many retailers and brands are aware that they can’t operate the way they used to and treat the store as a transactional space anymore. To stay alive and grow, they have to evolve and meet consumer expectations. There are more and more movements to blend digital experience into the shopping experience.
Westfield Co-CEO Steven Lowy discussed how they invest in both digital and physical world-class experiences to bring the customer experience to the next level. Fashion brand, Rebecca Minkoff shared how they merged digital into fashion and the physical store to create a seamless and fun shopping experience.
2. Implementing omnichannel techology is a cultural shift
Retailers are exploring the best alternatives to manage issues, including prices, products, and promotions across every consumer touchpoint and balance the level of consistency their customers demand with their own internal capabilities. The conversations have shifted from how do you connect new technologies with the old system to how do you create the process and company structure to reflect the new business model and path to purchase.
For many retailers, the biggest shift is not technology, but a cultural shift. For example, to implement a simple offering of, "order online, pick up in-store", it requires high levels of inventory visibility. They also have to know where the inventory is, and they have to adjust process and train staff accordingly. For a company like Walmart, a small initiative becomes a massive undertaking.
3. Omnichannel strategy must be consistent and complementary
When we think about an omnichannel experience, most of us think about a consistent experience regardless of channels. However, consumers shop, get information and experience brands differently in each channel. When implementing omnichannel strategy, retailers of all channels have to complement each other.
For example, Millennial consumers are likely to use a mobile phone during the discovery process. They expect to see a combination of outfits, a social component, and get information about the product including pricing, materials, inventory, and locations. When they go to the store, they expect to experience the brand, touch and feel the product and complete the transaction.