GrowthMarch 08, 2019

Key takeaways from Shoptalk 2019

Shoptalk 2019 focused on the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities brands should seize upon to stand out in retail. Here are the top takeaways from this year's programming.

This year’s Shoptalk conference attracted over 8,000 retail brands to hear leaders speak about business themes around technology and customer experience. As one of the year’s biggest retail conferences comes to a close, we reflect on the top takeaways relevant to users of the mParticle platform.

Data is the lifeblood of retail

The best customer experiences start with strong insights and understanding of current shoppers, visitors, and customers.

Along these lines, the CMO of Lowe’s, Jocelyn Wong, noted that the retailer begins its strategy and planning with customer data. “First, we want a strong analytical understanding of our current shoppers, second a good understanding of our competitive landscape, and third, a company strategy married to the customer strategy. All of this becomes our blueprint.”

Still, it takes a balance of data and human touch to deliver excellent customer experiences.  According to Vimal Kohli, Head of Data Science from Dick’s Sporting Goods, “All retailers are data companies but some just haven’t realized it yet. The retail paradigm breaks down when you have massive amounts of data and humans determining actions to achieve outcomes. You have to flip the script and have humans determining outcomes and machines determining actions.”

Agility and speed will set the next leaders ahead

Customer’s preferences are moving at a velocity faster than we’ve ever seen before, and continue to accelerate. Reliance on machine learning and access to the robust customer data needed to power it is more critical than ever to succeed.

Mark Rabkin, VP at Facebook stated during his session that, “Consumers prove again and again how quickly they can shift to something new. They are doing something different every six months, so building an organization that can change that fast is the challenge for retailers today.”

To maintain focus on speed and impact, the COO of MediaMartkSaturn, Sonja Moosburger, said, “For our innovation team we believe in speed before perfection, reduce complexity, small and simple, test and learn. We strive to be part of the organization but be different. For us, speed and freedom are key.”

The time to get a clear, single view of the customer is now

Brands who are still looking at digital shoppers separately from in-store shoppers are hurting themselves.

According to the Chief Business Officer of Instacart, Nilam Ganethiran, “It is a misnomer to think there is an online and an offline customer. There is just a customer. The best retailers think of the shopping experience as just one shopping experience."

Additionally, offline technology remains a big focus and is expected to see improvements in the coming year.  

The CEO of DSW, Roger Rawlins, stated that “We have focused for the last few years on omnichannel and as a result we have been recognized as the number one omnichannel retailer in the country. However, our associates are using the same technology in the store that they had 27 years ago, so we need to provide them with truly 21st century technology.”

Without doubt, retailers across the globe are returning to their offices to put these learnings from Shoptalk 2019 into action.  If you would like to read more about how mParticle helps leading retailers like Overstock deliver a top-notch customer experience, you can read up on it here. We hope that these highlights from Shoptalk will help you to plan to accomplish your 2019 goals and then some.

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