During the last weekend in March, individuals and companies who are reshaping retail gathered in Las Vegas for Shoptalk 2022. The event provides a platform for large retailers and manufacturers, startups, tech companies, investors, media, and analysts to learn, network, and collaborate.
With over 10,000 attendees and a lineup of 250+ industry leaders, the conference emphasized the future of retail. Are you curious about the latest technologies, trends, and the transformation of how consumers shop and buy? We highlighted the key themes and ideas examined during the conference:
The Rise of Live Commerce and the Metaverse
Companies are incorporating technology into the everyday shopping experience to help consumers feel more confident in their purchases. Live commerce is a growing channel that allows retailers to sell products through live video while shoppers interact with the brand in real-time. In China, live commerce has taken the retail industry by storm. Products ranging from clothing to home appliances to fresh farm produce can now be purchased through livestream shopping applications. U.S. companies that are looking to engage with consumers in more direct and interactive ways have jumped on the trend and are seeing great results. By 2024, U.S. shopping via livestream is expected to triple to $35 billion1.
Industry leaders discussed what the metaverse means for the future of retail. The metaverse combines physical, augmented, and virtual reality to create a digital environment where consumers can interact and purchase items from retailers. The metaverse has the potential to make online shopping more engaging and useful. Shoppers could essentially accomplish what they normally do in stores without ever leaving their homes. Whether or not retailers should be investing in the metaverse is a polarizing subject. Experts suggest that it could turn out to be promising, but probably not in the near future. Retailers should pay attention to the technological innovation, experiment, and think about the impact it could have on their consumers and business.
Improving the Shopping Journey Through Data Insights
The average consumer now uses stores, online, and mobile devices throughout their shopping journey, which has made the process more complex for retailers. Experts emphasized the importance of collecting and combining data across channels and using the insights to create a cohesive omnichannel shopping experience.
Industry leaders explained that many retailers have first- and third-party data readily available but are not effectively acting on the insights to improve their offerings. Consumers today expect companies to tailor shopping experiences to their preferences and buying habits. In addition to utilizing AI and machine learning, Retailers need to harness the data across their organization to better understand consumer needs, personalize interactions, and create unique shopping experiences. This in turn will improve brand engagement and build brand loyalty.
Improving Operations with Technology
Retailers constantly think about how to add value or remove friction from the customer journey. Companies are increasingly buying and building digital solutions that bring operational efficiency and create a faster and simpler consumer experience.
Experts explained that payment innovations, like buy-now-pay-later systems and contactless payments, are making purchases more convenient for shoppers. Flexible and frictionless payments are enticing to consumers as prices continue to rise. By providing unique payment strategies, retailers can deliver increased basket sizes, more shopping visits, and stronger brand loyalty.
Many factors drive a consumer to give up on a purchase but implementing technologies that simplify the checkout process can bring in more successful transactions. Click-and-collect, curbside, and other delivery technologies that optimize the last mile are helping retailers keep up with increasing consumer expectations for fast and easy pickup. In addition, retailers investing in one-click checkout are making the buying journey more seamless, which is helping to alleviate cart abandonment.