At the beginning of my trip another retailer, Toys R Us, had announced bankruptcy. However the overall vibe of ShopTalk 2018 was not “retail is dead” but rather a positive outlook. This was articulated by Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty in that humans will continue to need and seek human connection.
It needs to be consumer centric, but the retail store is not dying the role is just changing and the feeling here is there will always be a place for it, yet it needs to be winning in core areas.
Key consumer centric success areas:
Make the payment as seamless as online, the new bar set by Amazon – single click to buy. A key strategy for 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 purchase via Standard Cognition or RFID tagging with MishiPay technology.
Customers are open to share their data if it adds value for them, they value gratification. If they believe they are loyal to you and shop/spend with your brand, recognition of this is highly valued. They want to be told a story – don’t overwhelm them with products, curate and overlay personalisation. Nordstrom showcased their integration of personalisation through their personal shopper stylists, the below video shows 15 technology capabilities coming to life – leveraging the best of their assets.
Design with mobile only and don’t separate out teams internally for the different platforms. This is not the way a shopper shops, their journey is across all channels and mobile will continue to become more and more important. Both in the journey and integrated into the shopping experience such as payment, virtual reality and augmented reality. Facebook VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson says a traditional company with a seperate mobile team is an immediate red flag. Adrienne McCallister from Google advises with the scalability of virtual reality integrated smartphone, retailers and manufacturers need to start investing in 3D assets today for tomorrow’s shopping experience.
The importance of the sales associate
This is a key and integral part, especially in the luxury goods and high end market, where convenience is less important. Learnings from research undertaken by Farfetch highlighted the need to free up their time away from checkout and other tasks to create engagement and personalised experiences with the customer (whist having the technology to support the grab and go customer). Technology added to the store for making the customer journey easier, such as cloud shelves and virtual fitting rooms doesn’t necessarily do away with the need for the sales associate.
Within that changing role the store holds an all-important purpose of providing discovery of that brand and the feeling continually shared was let’s bring back the fun and excitement of shopping to the new consumer centric experience.
Read my part 1 of ShopTalk 2018