Trend Watch

Mobile technology. Digital innovations. Social Commerce. These and many other trends are constantly being changed and being updated with new solutions, services and strategies. Retail TouchPoints editors stay on top of the latest activities and announcements, and bring you fresh perspectives on the hottest trends affecting the marketplace. Check back regularly for the latest new perspectives.

Salesforce Previews CDP Release, Outlines Top 3 Holiday Trends

Pictured above: Dana Chery, Sr. Director, Service Cloud Product Marketing at Salesforce, Customer 360 implementation at discusses e.l.f. Cosmetics. Today’s businesses still struggle to gain a single, 360-degree view of the shopper despite an overabundance of data: 78% of consumers expect consistent interactions with a business regardless of which department they’re dealing with, yet only 50% of companies tailor their engagement based on past interactions, according to the 2019 Salesforce Connected Consumer report. At Salesforce Connections, the CRM giant indicated that its latest technology reveal could help many businesses close this gap. Salesforce revealed that it will release a customer data platform (CDP) to help brands unify their marketing data and personalize every engagement. The release will be available for pilot customers in fall 2019 and will be part of Salesforce Customer 360, a platform designed to enable companies to connect Salesforce apps and create a unified “customer ID.”

Kroger, Stein Mart, Gap Reveal Cloud Tech Achievements At Oracle Cross Talk

Retail execs representing more than 20 companies shared their insights and experiences with approximately 360 attendees from 16 countries during the 2019 Oracle Retail Cross Talk event, held at the J.W. Marriott Mall of America in Minneapolis June 10-12. Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were central themes of the event, which focused on helping retail brands transform from “victims to victors,” according to Mike Webster, SVP and General Manager, Oracle Retail in an opening presentation. The overarching goal of the event, he added, is to help brands “innovate at the pace of retail.”

Exclusive Q&A: With In-Store Innovation, Everything Old Is New Again

Those who want to blame Amazon for all of brick-and-mortar retail’s troubles should actually look a bit further back in history, says John Gregory. He has a unique perspective, having worked in legacy retail for iconic brands including Macy’s, Ann Taylor and Bloomingdales, then provided consulting services, and now is the VP Retail Head of Industry at Pandora Media. During the time when Amazon was just a gleam in Jeff Bezos’ eye, many retailers were making decisions that led directly to today’s often uninspiring in-store environments. Growth that was measured primarily by how many new stores a chain could open led to overexpansion, at a time when long-term economic and demographic trends were changing consumers’ shopping habits. The financial demands placed on public companies by Wall Street encouraged a commodity-oriented promotional mindset, and discouraged the kinds of product innovation and experimentation that could have kept shoppers coming back into stores even as the convenience of e-Commerce beckoned.

The Future Of Social Commerce Is Mobile: Instagram, Peer-To-Peer Marketplaces, Chat Lead The Way

While retailers have tried to solve the puzzle of “social commerce” for years now, it appears the missing piece has been staring them in the face all along: the social shopper is becoming increasingly mobile-exclusive. As of March 2019, there were 105.8 million “mobile only” social network users in the U.S., comprising 51.7% of all social network users, according to eMarketer. In fact, the overwhelming majority (70.5%) of social referrals to e-Commerce sites come from smartphones, according to data from Adobe Digital Insights. Organizations are quickly becoming aware of the move to mobile-centricity: 57% are planning to deploy mobile-first content within their social strategy, according to Hootsuite.

#RIC19: Marketing/Customer Engagement And Omnichannel CX Sessions

(l. to r.) Andrew Gaffney, Retail TouchPoints; Katharine Bahamonde Monasebian, Barneys New York; Todd Treonze, Brooks Brothers The 24 small-group breakout sessions at the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference were organized into four tracks. Coverage of the Digital Strategies and Operational Planning sessions were published on May 31; following are recaps of key presentations from the Marketing/Customer Engagement and Omnichannel CX tracks.

#RIC19: Digital Strategies And Operational Planning Track Coverage

The 2019 Retail Innovation Conference featured 24 breakout sessions organized into four tracks: • Digital Strategies • Operational Planning • Marketing/Customer Engagement • Omnichannel CX These small-group sessions provided attendees with real-world retail examples, offering practical advice on hot topics including maximizing the value of pop-up stores, tapping the power of a customer community and integrating AR into the furniture shopper’s journey. Here’s a quick recap of the Digital Strategies and Operational Planning sessions; coverage of the remaining tracks will appear on June 3.

Exclusive Chris Walton Q&A: 4 Technologies That Target Retail Pain Points

During his 20 years in retail, Chris Walton has grown adept at combining a long-term, high-level view with a sharp focus on everyday practical business realities. As Vice President of Merchandising for Home Furnishings at, he oversaw Target’s first integrated store and digital merchandising and product development teams. Then he led Target’s Store of the Future initiative, eventually managing a team of 30+ people and a multi-million-dollar budget. Now Walton shares the insights he’s gleaned as CEO of the Third Haus retail tech lab and the Omni Talk blog, and he will be speaking at Retail TouchPoints Live! @RetailX in Chicago, June 25-26.

#RIC19 Showcases Innovative Technology Solutions

The 20 sponsors of the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference offer services and solutions designed to address retailers’ biggest current challenges, including: enhancing loyalty via customer engagement; leveraging bots and social messaging to improve CX; migrating technology smoothly and cost-effectively to the cloud; and creating more compelling, immersive store environments. Following is a roundup of the sponsors’ offerings, organized into four categories: Analytics/Data Management; Marketing And Loyalty; Retail Operations; and Store Operations.

Exclusive Q&A: ‘No Longer Sufficient’ To Market To An Anonymous Customer Base

Despite their name, customer loyalty programs are not really about instilling loyalty. A more accurate name might be customer data-gathering mechanisms (really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?). It may not sound pretty, but loyalty — meaning more shopper visits and increased spend — are essentially happy by-products of a successful program, not its primary goal. One of the first retailers to recognize the value of gathering customer data that could be tied to individual shopper activity was Tesco. Today, retailers can access multiple sources of customer data, from online activity and social networks to smartphone tracking. However, back in the 1990s when the Tesco Clubcard was born, the state-of-the-art method for data gathering was a loyalty program, or a loyalty scheme as they are called in the UK.

#RIC19: What Next-Gen Retail CEOs Can Learn From Macy’s Innovation Formula

Top photo: 3DEN space in Hudson Yards Right photo: Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation and Business Development at Macy's The 2019 Retail Innovation Conference featured an intriguing duality within today’s retail landscape, showcasing new companies that have been setting up unconventional physical spaces alongside traditional retailers doing everything they can to bring their brick-and-mortar experiences up to speed. Two sessions captured this dynamic perfectly: the closing panel moderated by b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby, and a presentation from Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation and Business Development at Macy’s. The event’s closing panel discussion, titled: CEO Exchange: New Ways to Succeed In Physical Retail, featured CEOs of three growing startup businesses (3DEN, Batch and Iris Nova) sharing the stories of their Hudson Yards locations and revealing how they have carved out their experiences. Muley’s presentation highlighted four key ingredients that the department store has adopted to change its formula: 1. Ensure top leadership, engagement and support; 2. Build a dedicated team; 3. Create a balance of tradition and disruption; and 4. Understand customer behavior.

#RIC19: Income Shapes Millennials’ Behavior More Than Age

Kasey Lobaugh, Deloitte It’s a convenient form of demographic shorthand to lump together all Millennials as a single coherent customer segment, but retailers would do better to focus on how much money these shoppers have versus how old they are, according to new research from Deloitte. “Millennials are a generational cohort but they are not a behavioral one,” said Kasey Lobaugh, Principal and Chief Retail Innovation Officer at Deloitte. “People behave more like their income than they do their age.” Lobaugh led a panel discussion, titled: The Consumer Is Changing, But Perhaps Not How You Think at the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference. He began with a preview of Deloitte research that applied an economic and behavioral lens to Millennials, and to shoppers in general. “The ‘noise’ in the industry is that customers are not spending on products in favor of services and experiences, that they are no longer loyal, and that they are time-starved,” said Lobaugh. While these descriptions may fit high-income Millennials in urban areas, “there are a whole bunch of consumers that are different from the Millennials living in New York City,” he noted.

#RIC19: Quick Quotes From The Retail Innovation Conference

The fifth annual Retail Innovation Conference is now in the books, and Retail TouchPoints will be providing complete coverage of the Store Tours, sessions, sponsors and more during the coming days. But to start, the RTP editorial team wanted to provide a rapid-fire recap of some of the smartest quotes from the 50+ speakers who informed, provoked and entertained the attendees at New York City’s Convene May 6-8. Relevantly Reaching Today’s Consumer "Consistency and spontaneity drive brand love." — Jeff Fromm, President, FutureCast

#RIC19: 5 Steps To Success In An Economy Where ‘Impatience Is A Virtue’

How can retailers succeed in a world where “technology that can put us in the center of everything” is creating consumers who are “accidental narcissists,” as Altimeter Group Principal Analyst Brian Solis calls them (us)? One important way is to stop mistaking iteration for innovation, Solis revealed during his keynote presentation at the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference in New York City. “Iteration is doing the same things we did before, but better,” said Solis. “That can include using AI, putting beacons in retail stores, etc. Innovation is doing new things that introduce new value, the way that Uber and Lyft changed transportation. The combination of both iteration and innovation is disruption — doing new things that make the old ones obsolete. PayPal has an iteration group, an innovation group and a third group designed to put the first two groups out of business. The thinking is that if they can do this internally, they can circumvent their competitors from doing it to them.”

Despite Hype, 60% Of Shoppers Still Haven’t Experienced VR/AR Technologies In-Store

Although 46% of retailers say they plan to deploy AR or VR solutions by 2020, it appears that real-world deployment of these technologies remains low — at least in the eyes of the consumer. More than 60% of shoppers have yet to encounter VR or AR applications in-store, according to a report from Periscope By McKinsey. When it comes to practical applications for VR/AR technologies, shoppers say they are most likely to use them if they provided additional product information. French shoppers led the way at 65%, followed by the U.S. (62%), the UK (57%) and Germany (54%).

Second-Hand Luxury Goods: Not An Oxymoron But A $6 Billion Opportunity

The concepts of luxury retailing and resale don’t traditionally go hand in hand. Luxury is often defined by a sense of exclusivity and brand equity that attracts a more affluent crowd, while resale has been seen as “the masses” seeking out random merchandise at a low price. But it appears that the two worlds are intersecting more than one would think: the second-hand luxury market is expected to grow to nearly 9% of all luxury sales by 2020, according to data from Berenberg. The U.S. luxury resale market totaled $6 billion in 2018, according to Bain & Co. Pricing definitely has influenced this market’s growth; secondary market items typically sell anywhere for 30% to 90% less than the retail price of similar new items. As the market continues to grow, the time is now for luxury brands to decide whether they should scale up their own resale strategy, especially given that: Second-hand sales can support demand for first-hand products in the long term; More top competitors, such as Neiman Marcus, Farfetch and Richemont, are jumping on to the resale bandwagon; and Entry into luxury resale can be challenging and require careful planning, especially if retailers aren’t prepared for the random…
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