A Social Shoptalk: Retail’s Resilience in a Digital Age

A Social Shoptalk: Retail’s Resilience in a Digital Age

A Social Shoptalk: Retail’s Resilience in a Digital Age 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

We live, shop, eat, and order in a world driven by technology; it’s a consumer’s paradise, bridging every gap between want and need. A process driven by two-day ship dates and fingerprint-ordering has enabled the population to think it can get whatever, whenever it wants. This incredible ability to pick up any device and, within seconds, be connected to a variety of options–the majority of which curated in simpatico with the daily lives of any consumer–has quickly pivoted the standard path-to-purchase. That 21st-century hunger for more, at a faster rate, was the basis to this year’s Shoptalk theme: #NotMyRetailApocalypse. Chute Gerdeman CEO and esteemed industry enthusiast, Brian Shafley attended this year’s conference, and helped give us insight into new ways technology has become the perfect side-kick to the shopping experience.

Today, experience has been used as the fuel to propel brand status, personality, and position within an industry; what many seem to forget, however, is that convenience is a tool widely used to increase sales and decrease price. Embarking on a journey that is uniquely integrated into the daily lives of consumers acts as an introduction to products and services they didn’t even know they wanted. Artificial intelligence has been transforming the retail industry for years, but the implementation of that service into social media has revolutionized the way research is being conducted. Google, for example, is “making shopping magic” by compiling user search history, filters, and image recognition data to elicit more relevant suggestions through the use of deep learning. It’s high-powered, advanced neural network has the power to identify and refine what it displays to each individual user, creating a personalized online referral system unlike any other.

This type of user-focused data is a luxury that Zia Daniell Wigder, chief global content officer of Shoptalk, states as the “new normal” to competitive shopping. It could be argued that this multitude of options may be the catalyst to a decrease in brand loyalty, giving shoppers an acceptable platform to filter through a variety of brands, and find a product or service at the lowest possible price. The grocery and food industries, noted by Shoptalk presenters, seem to be primarily focused on the emphasis mobile products have on the current consumer. Mobile ordering and personal delivery with online supermarket, Ocado has taken the everyday grocery experience, and made it digital. It has created a dynamic new grid-based system of packing groceries for consumers in a lower timeframe, without losing efficiency. Ocado’s cutting-edge research is being used as a base to its driverless delivery cars, ultimately decreasing 60% of its total delivery costs (Forbes, 2017). Its app and mobile-driven approach allows shoppers to find the perfect ingredients without leaving the comfort of their own home.

Today’s market is flooded with options. Retailers are pressured now, more than ever to create immersive, entertaining, and educational strategies in an effort to gain momentum. Merging both the digital and physical world was a not-so-subtle trend at Shoptalk 2018, showcasing how brands all over the world have instituted what they think it means to create a partnership between online and in-store. Always working to create portals to products for every consumer, Nike has capitalized on a growing market deemed the Sneakerhead.

The installation of its first, pop-up location in NYC was done in a way only Nike could, big, bold, and extra beautiful. Digital screens overlay a massive structure, creating an oversized shoebox used to introduce its newest addition to the Nike family, the Nike SNKRS app. The introduction of this new mobile platform gave shoppers an outlet to showcase the release dates and times of its newest sneakers, acting as invitations for crowds to wait outside stores to purchase an awaited pair of shoes. Behind the scenes video and high-quality imagery are used to explain the intricate detail in every sneaker, subtly being used as features and benefits of a specific product. This element of surprise and entice was presented out to the public in early 2015, it helped induce interest through a physical concept, which only amplified the use of its mobile platform.

This pop-up concept perpetually drives in-store and online traffic; for 2018’s NBA All-Star Weekend, Nike decided it would create a world for its consumers solely based around one of the most successful apparel subdivisions in the world, Jordan. This lucrative endeavor has the Sneakerhead community buzzing, engaging news and content on Nike’s app continues to cause industry disruption.

The idea behind a cohesive relationship between consumer, online, and in-store isn’t relatively groundbreaking; it’s an approach retailers have been trying to initiate for a little over a decade. The modernity is established when the experience behind the relationship surprises the target, producing sales and establishing–or sustaining–a long-lasting affiliation. No longer are retailers trying to only sell their products; instead, they are trying to sell a foundation so that targets become shoppers who then become promoters. A foundation where mobile applications are the hub for news and captivating content, incentivizing the need to come into the store and experience what Retail 2.0 looks like. It’s a day and age when tone of voice, position, and awareness become paramount; when the beginning and end of the consumer journey continuously overlap. Shoptalk helped illustrate how brands are taking ideas and creating innovation, revolutionizing the physical and digital world at a grassroots level. There is no longer a traditional retail experience, and the out-of-the-box thinking that has been shocking every industry is why brands and consumers continue to believe that 2018 is #NotMyRetailApocalypse.

Photo credit: Envista | OcadoNike

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