Looking for the latest retail trends and best practices from the most inspiring brands and key opinion leaders? We’ve got you covered! Since retail is one of our favorite topics and we’re always looking into what’s trending in the retail world, we now share with you our takeaways from the most recent edition of the Internet Retailing Expo that took place in Birmingham, UK, in April.
Big names such as Lego Group, Google, Game Retail, Facebook, Auto Trader, Vodafone and Schuh took the stage to discuss latest trends, their how-to growth strategies, trending technologies changing the retail landscape and current changes in consumer behavior.
We interviewed key speakers from Lego Group, Game Retail, Auto Trader and Schuh to get their views on hot retail topics such as trends and challenges in retail, changes in consumer behavior, the recipe for the best omnichannel approach, store of the future, fraud prevention techniques, virtual and augmented reality, seamless payments and, lastly, buzzwords from the event, which we’ll share with you in two event-dedicated blogs.
Here’s what they said about the first 4 topics:
If we had to characterize the current state of retail, which words would we use?
Just one: experience.
Modern consumers no longer want to just purchase products. Instead, as one of Acapture’s market research analysts, David Martin, explained, they expect brands to deliver a complete 360 degree experience. And the key to meeting these expectations is data science, which our speakers identified as one of the crucial trends in today’s market. While most retailers recognize its obvious value, few have been able to make effective use of it.
Retailers are still figuring out the basics of a data science approach, but they are definitely aware of its potential for making the shopping experience look and feel seamless across channels. In addition, our speakers stressed the importance of using data science to track shopper behavior patterns and engagement. This allows the retailer to adapt to its constantly changing consumer, especially those in the millennial demographic, a far less loyal consumer generation.
“The shift to multichannel” raises a couple of questions for retailers, such as How do we make sure we continue to stay relevant for our customers? and What is the future role of brick-and-mortar in this online dominated world? As far as we can see, retailers are continuously seeking ways to reinvent themselves to keep up with customer expectations. It will be interesting to see what specific roles they assign to the multitude of channels offered to their consumers.
As ominchannel was one of the buzzwords of the event, we wanted to see if our retail experts could give us a recipe for the best omnichannel experience. Stuart McMillan from Schuh made reference to data, specifically to connecting data across channels, enabling consumers to shop across a fully integrated platform. On the other hand, in an omnichannel-focused session, panelists argued that the word omnichannel should cease to exist and be replaced with blended retail, meaning a seamless retail experience across all channels of interaction. Or, as we called it here, omnicommerce. They also agreed that IoT is the new star of the show when it comes to enhancing the shopping experience, so retailers should start incorporating it in their strategies if they have not already done so.
Always keen to get a glimpse of what’s around the corner, we couldn’t help but ask our speakers how they envision the store of the future. With retail in a mature stage of development, we can no longer expect stores to just be places to buy products. Driven by increasingly exacting consumer demands and expectations, the stores of the future will be highly experiential and, as Fred Prego from Game Retail put it, “venues where people can engage and socialize together”. A great example is Virgin Music, who opened such an experiential store in 1976, which encouraged consumers to perceive it and use it as a place for interacting with each other and enjoying the thing they had in common: music.
Thus, retailers must come with new and engaging ideas to reinvent the in-store shopping experience and integrate “elements that bring the store to life”, as Shehnaaz Chenia from Lego Group said. Moreover, every retail experience should integrate, as Ian Plummer from Auto Trader explained, emotions that consumers can relate to and connect with, encouraging them to return to the physical shop.
Another hot topic discussed at IRX was tackling fraud and developing prevention techniques that can help retailers to not only reduce fraud, but also to optimize their authorization rates. The key to achieving this is distinguishing fraudulent transactions from legitimate transactions that might appear fraudulent. As our fraud expert, Aldrin Mangalabal, said, with the help of machine learning models retailers can identify and compare fraudulent behavior based on the way consumers access their page and browse their products. Partnering with a payment solution provider that offers in-house acquiring equips retailers with the necessary insight to understand why transactions get rejected and identify real fraudsters. This way, retailers can improve their acceptance rates, leading to higher conversions.
Interested in learning more about current trends impacting the retail industry, trending technology dominating consumer behavior and key tactics to build a data-driven fraud strategy that maximizes conversions? Make sure you don’t miss our two insightful presentations from IRX and also stay tuned for our second video report and article on Retail trends and payments insights from IRX, discussing VR & AR, seamless payments and event buzzwords, just as our interviewees see them.