We’re at ShopTalk 2018 in Las Vegas along with 8,500+ attendees looking to find out the solution to what is being described as the #newnormal of disruption in retail. It is no longer if and when, it is here, we are living in a state of rapid change.

ShopTalk 2018 Part 1 highlights

Start-up and Majors on even ground

An overall feeling of an even playing field between major brands and start-ups. I can imagine a time where the weight of your company name badge carried more than it does today. As in if you work for one of the major retailers, we want your attention. Not to say that isn’t still happening, but there is a more even keel of attention to the start-ups. Where we have seen this partnership and adoption of start-up culture proven on a global scale it is now becoming the new normal. John Lewis simplified this by saying “don’t build it yourself – it’s expensive and moving quickly”.

Innovation culture

A reoccurring theme at ShopTalk, yet no one could really say how it was done in a practical application sense (okay so a few examples listed below). Culture is such an intangible thing entrenched in tradition, leadership, legacy, process and there isn’t a single answer, is the answer. It is as unique as your own business, however some examples I liked:

  • Randa Accessories – Allowing a permission to fail fast
  • Adopt the mindset of a start-up
  • Keep it fresh – use consultancy and external talent
  • Macy’s – Investing in people – all staff in an incentive plan to build growth – every single one focused on future
  • John Lewis – Have KPI’s on celebrating failures and share this within the business, so the business becomes comfortable with failure

Retailing Success Matrix

Barbara Kahn, professor at The Warton School of Business introduced us to the matrix she has derived on what makes a retailer successful in today’s retail environment.

Barbara Kahn’s Retailing Success Matrix

Barbara Kahn’s Retailing Success Matrix

Barbara theorises that no longer is it good enough to be the best at one quadrant. Retailers need be fair value on all quadrants, be the best at something and then leverage that position to be strong in a second. In addition, the bar continues to shift on each quadrant and you need to keep up with the ever advancing customer expectations. For example when Amazon introduced single click to buy, this became the new standard in ecommerce for the frictionless quadrant.

Which naturally leads me to the end ShopTalk ketnote for day 1 by Amazon Go…

Amazon Go

Amazon’s attitude is refreshing, not arrogant more of an air of simplicity and fulfilling the constantly thrown around phrase of ‘start with the customer’. The Amazon Go concept is simply solving a customer pain point of the checkout process!

Amazon have tailored the store to the grab and go market, offering ready to go meals/food, meal kits and frequently replenished items (bread and milk). The customer identifies themselves via the app on entrance to the store and then that is it for the phone. The customer then shops as they usually would, and then just walks out. The technology to support this is impressive, opting to go with camera machine learning integrated with shelf sensors. The accuracy bar for this was high and needed to be stress tested for multiple shoppers simultaneously “shop-lifting”. They chose camera machine learning over RDIF integration. Opting to incur the invested resource upfront as opposed to the operational issue of tagging all the products on an ongoing basis. What they didn’t anticipate was the customer stopping to ensure they really could leave without any action.

The repetitive message was simply this who is your customer, what value can you add to their life, and work back.

Continue reading about ShopTalk 2018 via Part 2 here

Author Jessica Sinclair

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  • […] this is removing the checkout entirely via computer cameras or RFID as well as seamless mobile pay. Amazon Go is leading the way in this space but is not alone, the technology is ready and available for […]

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