jonny cropLast Monday, I woke up at 5:00AM energized in anticipation of my travels. I was headed to the first ever Shoptalk, taking place in Las Vegas at the ARIA. Shoptalk is a nextgen retail and e-commerce conference that showcases innovative retailers, venture backed disrupters, tech pioneers, investors and sponsors all in the same room. I was one of 3,000 attendees that spent three days learning about how retail and e-commerce landscapes are changing and how the relationship between customers and retailers is rapidly evolving due to technological integration and connectivity.

The conference was electric from start to end. The days were jammed packed with speaker events and social opportunities to connect with other attendees. Shoptalk put on happy hours, pool-side dinners, and an impressive show by Wyclef Jean. The keynote speakers and panels covered a wide range of topics related to retail and e-commerce. Between new technologies implemented by large retailers and the disrupting vertical brands, the future of this industry is an exciting one and I am glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of these discussions.

Key Takeaways:

Customer Experience is everything.
The key is investing in technology that will drive positive customer experience.
Better service and positive experience incentivizes customer engagement.
Customer engagement and opt-ins results in personalized data. Customer data is what really drives change.
In order to have customer engagement there must be a foundation of trust between retailer and customer.
Customers are willing to share personal data if in exchange the retailer provide relevant value.

Customer Retention and Loyalty
Changing customers’ behavior is key to customer retention and loyalty.
Storytelling and selling a lifestyle are great ways of acquiring and retaining customers.
Multitasking (e.g. texting while watching a TV show) is putting greater pressure on brands to tell their story and experience.

The key to being a successful disrupter is to be vertically integrated. These brands are disrupting the system from the supply chain, to pricing, to the customer experience.

Hot Topics
Conversational commerce, such as Amazon Echo and Facebook messenger shopping, is an interesting new channel for retailers.
The role of Artificial Intelligence in retail and how predictive intelligence combined with customer data could provide the most relevant suggestions.

Company Culture
Investing in your company culture is important. Maintaining culture while scaling can be challenging.

Technology’s future role in retail is summed up by this statement by Google’s Vice President of Product Management – Shopping, Jonathan Alferness, “We no longer go online, we live online.” Companies are working to make the online and physical retail experience seamless for the customer of the future.
Google Online Quote