More than 8,000 attendees gathered at this year’s Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas. 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 2019 agenda included a closer look at how a renewed customer experience focus is transforming retail.
Here are some of the show’s biggest takeaways:
1 – Retail is embracing new service delivery models to meet consumer needs
As consumer expectations evolve, retailers are embracing new service delivery models to offer a competitive CX. As Forbes notes, unexpected players in the direct-to-consumer field graced the stage:
“Notably, these include executives from Madison Reed and Brandless, both of which will speak on the topics of how startups are merging digital and physical experiences (Amy Errett, founder and CEO of Madison Reed).”
From subscription boxes to large-scale white labeling, brands offering new delivery models and value propositions stand out in a crowded retail landscape.
2 – Shifting perceptions around physical space and the CX
Historically, the retail industry has viewed physical stores primarily in terms of sales. Retail TouchPoints reports that in his keynote presentation, Nordstrom’s Co-President Erik Nordstrom indicated that the company is looking broadly at the diverse roles stores play in the CX.
They write, “Today’s retail stores no longer exist just to display merchandise, Nordstrom said. They should be a place for engagement, faster returns, pickups and alterations. All of these characteristics have already been put to the test in Nordstrom’s recently opened first-ever men’s store in New York City, and they will be major drivers of the retailer’s 320,000-square-foot full-line store, set to open across the street from the men’s store in fall 2019. Nordstrom referred to this upcoming store opening as the biggest investment in the company’s history.”
Retailers continue to evaluate the role of physical stores in their CX mix and leverage physical space for value-added customer interactions.
3 – Relationships to brands are evolving
RIS reports that Chris Phillips, GM of Stitch Fix, said: “We are transforming the way people find what they love. We leverage data to build a retail experience the way people want to shop. Do customers even look at brands? I am sure some do, but they primarily care about size and fit, which are the number one preference. Our products are created for them, curated for them, and personalized for them.”
That has tremendous implications for how retailers market and deliver shopping experiences.
4 – Personalization and smarter shopping
Personalization and data isn’t just about offering relevant products; it’s helping improve the shopping experience. AdAge reports on a Macy’s case study from the Shoptalk conference:
“Macy’s is taking its learnings from customer behavior online and using that to inform new fixtures and applications in brick-and-mortar. For example, Macy’s found that customers liked to shop online for fragrances by scent, but inside stores, the category is arranged by perfume brand. Macy’s recently entered a new partnership with Perch Interactive that will include fragrance finders in stores so consumers can browse by scent in person, as they do online.”
Digital and in-store customer intelligence is shaping retail experiences more closely to the desired CX. Better customer intelligence, evolving customer/brand relationships, and new service models are taking root across the retail landscape. From better technology to reimagined storefronts, the retail CX is becoming smarter, sophisticated, and streamlined for today’s consumers.