The key theme of the 2019 Shotpalk conference, which took place in Las Vegas from Mar 3-6, was “Create the Future of Retail.” Sure enough, the conversation we heard at the show was all about building a pathway to success, rather than waiting for the future come to retail.
Eric Nordstrom, co-president of the retail chain Nordstrom, opened the conference with his keynote, “Nordstrom: Keeping Customers at the Center of its Strategy.” emphasizing the importance of designing customer experiences that blend both physical and digital in this era of omni-channel customer. He backed it up with metrics (Retail Touchpoints) such as:
- 50% of in-store visits start with an online session;
- 35% of online sessions start with in-store visit;
- For just under 50% of store purchases, the customer used a mobile phone to support their journey;
- Contribution margin from e-Commerce sales is the same as in-store sales; and
- Online sales represented 30% of Nordstrom’s $15.5 billion revenue in 2018
The need for seamless experiences across channels, especially across digital and store was echoed by Debjani Deb, ZineOne’s CEO and co-founder, in her Tech Talk on using artificial intelligence to engage the omni-channel customer in a relevant and personalized manner. “You have to think about the store as the centerpiece for your personalization, and then think about how do you connect the journeys from the digital to the store … How do you drive traffic both ways.”
In fact, throughout the conference, personalization seemed to be the number one strategic initiative for retailers, covering customer experience at the front end as well as the logistical support for each transaction at the back end. Indeed at this year’s Shoptalk, it seemed like personalization expanding its scope beyond generating revenue to empowering retailers to have an authentic relationship with their customers and winning their business and loyalty.