What happened at Shoptalk? Seven take-aways on the future of Commerce:
We recently attended the 3rd Shoptalk in Las Vegas. We are proud investors in, partners to and sponsors of Shoptalk and, as part of our partnership, we recently launched Shoptalk Ventures — a new program designed to invest in early stage E-commerce and retail tech companies. We punctuated the kickoff of this program by hosting an invite-lunch at Shoptalk that included more than 70 leaders of top brands, retailers, retail tech start-ups and VCs.
During Shoptalk, we also met with dozens of start-ups and senior executives from over 20 leading retailing incumbents. Across the conversations, a series of consistent themes emerged:
- Brands and retailers are trying to centralize customer data and marketing logic so as to unify and automate marketing while making better execution decisions.
- Frictionless checkout is gaining ground…but timing will vary by solution and retail format. Major retailers like Macy’s are starting with “Scan and Go”, while Amazon is focused on its video-based Amazon-Go approach.
- Voice is important as an interface for brands and retailers, but they are still trying to figure out how to use it. Some are considering voice apps, while others remain on the sideline for fear of ceding control to Amazon.
- Logistics matter. Retailers must drive innovations through their supply chains and fulfillment operations to deliver profitability and enable new customer experiences (like same day/next day shipping).
- Brands are still trying to figure out how to go direct…and how to do so in unique ways. As an example, some brands are developing differentiated products and offerings that will be exclusive for the direct channel. Regardless, every brand is working through their strategies for direct marketing, direct fulfillment, marketplaces and customer data management.
- Product visualization remains important. Retailers are exploring AR, VR. and other 3D design and rendering tools to offer unique experiences and bring down product photography costs. For example, Houzz surprised many when they announced that they had 1 million C.A.D. models for products on the site.
Stay tuned — we will continue to monitor these trends and share our ongoing learnings as we look for the next generation of leaders in retail technology.