Now that the round tables and speed dating meetings are over, and the expo booths begin to come down, we can take a beat before the next stop of the conference season. ShopTalk continues to bring innovative tech companies and brands together as we define the future of retail. As I fly off to my next stop, here are some of the key takeaways that resonated across the board.
Omnichannel personalization is the name of the game
We need to be able to create the demand from the consumer, and the way to do that is to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience. Consumers need to be ushered down their purchase journey regardless of where they are and how they are engaging. This relies heavily on personalization – the way that you usher the consumer down the funnel is by treating them like the individuals they are, and delivering 1:1 messaging based on everything you know about them – who they are shopping for, what they are shopping for, and when they will be ready to convert.
Customer experience is how we can differentiate
Retail is not what is dying. Inventory-led retail is. Customers will be less likely to spend with brands who don’t engage with them past trying to secure the sale. They want experiences, and this trend will stick. More and more we will see smart retailers creating engaging experiences both in-store and online.
Data isn’t just data, it’s people
Marketers need to re-evaluate how they think about data and how it will be used. Customers are more than propensity models, and they want to be treated as individuals – individuals with thoughts and feelings. That said, there is simply too much data to manage. AI is not just a trend – it will be the way that customer data is managed and leveraged to treat customers like the individuals they are. Furthermore, true AI will incorporate emotional signals to drive marketing messages home.
Promotion and margins on retail
Retail margins continue to erode, and the promotional strategy a retailer sets can make or break their fiscal goals. Promotions drive sales and conversions, but that comes at a cost. Smart retailers are re-evaluating their approach, using data to decide whether a consumer will convert at full price or whether they need a discount. And if they need a discount, evaluating how deep it should be. This trend will serve to allocate marketing dollars to strategic initiatives, instead of continuing to fund price wars.
Digital layaway is on the rise
Millennials are the primary target now, but there’s a lot of financial debt in that segment. But millennials still want to take trips, buy luxury items, and live a more affluent lifestyle. Digital layaway provides an opportunity for them to pay for big purchases in installments, making it part of their monthly budget. Many retailers, starting with high-price point and luxury, will be adopting this technology in 2019, and the market is poised to respond well to this customer-focused experience.
About the Author
Prior to joining Movable Ink, Julio worked across multiple SaaS companies whose integrated solutions focused on driving digital innovation for retailers. At Experian CheetahMail (now Cheetah Digital) he worked on strategic email program development and deployment. At RevTrax he worked closely with the executive team to manage the evolution of the product, define go-to-market strategies, and led the Customer Experience organization in delivering ROI targets for the client base. Julio joins Movable Ink from