Shoptalk 2023 retail trend analysis
Retailers made it clear at Shoptalk last week a major focus in the industry since the pandemic has been on e-commerce. Decisions in e-commerce are intrinsically driven by data, and thus retailers have now begun to realize why not do the same in their brick-and-mortar store locations? On average, brick-and-mortar locations drive upwards of 80% + of retailers revenue, but their decision makers are blindsided with minimal in-store data. Themes of the Shoptalk panel sessions were around ‘unified commerce,’ weighted heavily towards e-commerce. Alternatively, small groups of innovative retailers and thought leaders alike were discussing how to uncover blindspots in physical retail stores, and how to best apply a data-driven approach in brick-and-mortar locations. Other areas of focus for retailers at Shoptalk included the use of AI, frictionless shopping experiences and workforce efficiency.
1. AI is reshaping retail experience
Retailers shared a variety of ways they are using AI. From improved in-home design app experience (Lowes) to personalized product recommendations (Kroger). AI is certainly being tested and used by retailers in their e-commerce business, while it’s clear retailers have been slower to adopt AI in their brick-and-mortar stores.
2. Curating frictionless shopping experience
Eliminating friction continues to be a high priority in the retail vertical. Retailers of all sizes are attempting to find ways to reduce bottlenecks and to meet customer where they are, make it easy for them to make a purchase, with an overall positive experience.
3. Flexible workforce management
Hiring and training in-store retail associates continues to be a challenge and retailers are combating this in a variety of ways. Retailers like Macy’s are training their workforce to be generalists, with focus being strictly on either customer facing or back of house tasks. Limiting decision-making is another area retailers are trying to solve, not only to save time on associates second guessing themselves, but also to ensure they are focusing on the right tasks at the right time.
On the horizon for 2023
What technology can be used to provide digital-like data in physical stores? Our prediction for Shoptalk in 2024 is a renewed focus on operating efficient brick-and-mortar locations.