Takeaways from the retail industry’s most talked about conference
Shoptalk is always a hotly anticipated event in the world of retail and this year’s in-person event after the challenges of the pandemic was no different. Several of my Behaviorally colleagues were there and, comparing notes, we alternatively felt like we were sitting in a room full of fortunetellers imagining the future of retail and commerce while also listening to reconnaissance of the latest and greatest about where the future is already happening! Suffice it to say. There is a lot to be excited about.
The themes that emerged included the concept of retail as a community, the role of the physical store and how the right tech supports all customer journeys in digital and physical marketplaces, and how those experiences lead to a sense of loyalty, connection, and engagement.
Reducing friction, a topic we frequently address at Behaviorally with our Benefits and Barriers model, was a recurring theme. Presenters from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, and Sam’s Club showcased tech to reduce Barriers at check-out, last-mile delivery schemes making deliveries faster and easier. Bots to take the mundane tasks of checking inventory for stock-outs, freeing up associates for higher-value work, and “pay later” options to eliminate the Barriers to engaging in higher-priced categories.
Walmart’s Scan & Go technology was one of the most celebrated, given its impact on the Walmart business and the experience it delivers for the consumer. Frictionless payments, including “touchless” and all forms of currency like crypto coin, are already gaining increased acceptance, with a great wave of such tech implementation being anticipated.
The most futuristic among the presenters envisioned a world-embracing the Metaverse, livestream selling, and other cutting-edge channels for engagement and actual commerce. In the case of players like Nike, their plans for a metaverse store already well in the works, and Pac Sun reported selling out Golden Wing NFTs almost instantaneously upon their introduction.
Always a harbinger of things to come, examples of truly revolutionary retail trends coming out of China were showcased, reinforcing the importance of community to retailers and brands of the future. Private traffic, a beloved tactic in China retail, relies on the store associate to check in a new customer to a private chat group where they can interact with a community of like-minded individuals, inevitably the newest, most trusted category of influencers.
Livestream shopping, which, while a story from two years ago in China, is one of the most hotly watched trends in the US today – and this promises to offer retailers a chance to build a community with their shoppers by leveraging a new category of influencers known as livestream hosts.
Shoptalk assured us that, post-pandemic, the physical store is not dead but rather re-imagined. An oft-quoted stat from Oracle revealed that 88% of people studied claim in-store visits made them happy, and other experts reported that as many as 75% of shoppers focused on the physical store as a destination for discovery, product exploration, and FUN! With the advent of a need for livestream hosts and the need for retailers to build communities of engaged shoppers, presenters described opportunities for the role of store associates being elevated to that of influencers, brand ambassadors, and conduits to the moment at which retail and brand value is created: the sale.
Shoptalk was also full of presentations that urged brands to try things and not be afraid to fail; to be purpose-driven – and yet be transparent and relentlessly authentic because consumers know the difference – and to meet the consumer where they are already interacting in stores, online, in social media, and even in the Metaverse.
My colleague, Michele McCorry, was on hand to present the Behaviorally POV in a panel on day 2, discussing insights into today’s fast-changing consumer behaviors and preferences. Understanding these insights can be leveraged to predict how and where to intercept a shopper along their path to purchase to define and diagnose those factors most likely to influence their behaviors to your brand’s advantage.
Everything we saw, and all the practitioners we talked to at Shoptalk 2022, reinforced our belief in the need for a holistic view of all the key factors along the shopper journey that drive consumer choice in physical and digital stores. This belief is at the core of one of our flagship services: OmniPath®.
Using our OmniPath approach, we help clients clarify the path-to-purchase and decision drivers in your category across all your retail channels to quantify your brand’s tangible, emotional, and digital opportunities to engage and influence consumer behavior.
We would love to talk to you more about the takeaways from Shoptalk 2022 and explore how OmniPath could provide a strategic roadmap for success in your own shopper strategies.
You can reach out to our Customer Success teams on Linkedin.
Nisha Yadav is the Senior Vice President, Omni Shopper Lead at Behaviorally. She has over 15 years of experience as a marketing strategist offering insight-led, brand, product, and customer strategy to storied brands. Before joining Behaviorally, Nisha led Global Brand Research at MetLife and her career includes progressive roles leading marketing insights and strategy teams on the agency and client-side alike.