Shoptalk 2018, the world’s largest ecommerce and retail event with over 7,500 attendees, has swiftly come to an end. The Button team had a great time in Las Vegas and we’re now left to digest a few key trends and some of the exciting announcements made at the event. From action-based shopping models to personalization, one thing is clear — retail is not slowing down. In fact, Kasey Lobaugh principal at Deloitte Consulting notes “retail is actually growing faster than the GDP,” commenting on a 3.5% growth in overall retail sales in 2017. When you isolate to mobile, we see a 13% yoy increase in sales completed on a smartphone. So what exactly are the tangible takeaways from the Shoptalk brand reveals? Let’s find out.
Commerce Driven Models Are The Future
Perhaps the most exciting news was Google’s announcement of a more action-based commerce model, making it easier for consumers to purchase the items they search for. This is a concept Button predicted when the company was founded nearly four years ago, and is at the very core of why we exist as a business today. Google stated over the past two years, mobile searches for “where to buy” jumped over 85%, proving one thing: intent is at an all-time-high on mobile devices.
This is a major stride in a more commerce-driven, transactional direction, but many more updates are expected as retailers demand sophisticated models that align with their bottom line when it comes to mobile commerce.
Brick and Mortar Isn’t Dying, It’s Transforming
Don’t be fooled by a few legacy brands closing their doors, brick and mortar is far from over. In fact, brick and mortar retail is actually thriving, just not in the same way it has before (think: survival of the fittest). Facebook says 90% of shoppers access mobile devices while in stores, so retailers are looking to capitalize and provide the more mobile-centric experience that users are looking for. Shoptalk brought us a variety of announcements helping validate that brands are answering the innovation challenge to stay relevant and thrive in this ever-changing commerce world.
Macy’s Moves to Mobile
Macy’s announced plans to add mobile checkout to all stores by the end of 2018, via their mobile app, in an effort to make checkout out less of a hassle. They’ve been piloting this concept in New Jersey, where shoppers are able to scan barcodes with their phones as they pick up and are ready to purchase merchandise. Bringing in more convenience, discounts and rewards are automatically applied for loyalty members.
“[Checking out is the] single biggest pain point in stores today. Being able to turn that control [of checking out] over to customers is a big win.”
— Jeff Gennette, CEO, Macy’s
In addition to mobile checkout, the company also announced at Shoptalk the expansion of a virtual reality pilot for furniture, further innovating the in-store experience.
Amazon Keeps Going
Amazon continued the Amazon Go conversation at Shoptalk, focusing on their first endeavor in the grocery market. This innovation highlights a future of brick and mortar that’s centered around the consumer.
Amazon thinks customer-first when rolling out technology, with Gianna Puerini, VP at Amazon Go, noting they “start with the customer and work backwards.”
Echoing a similar pain point as Macy’s — checkout is a high-friction moment. So naturally, Amazon is seeking to eliminate checkout as we know it; customers will simply launch the app on their smartphone and Amazon handles the rest.
Target declared plans to become the first retailer that offers same-day delivery across the United States. This will come into play by leveraging their recent acquisition of Ship, which has a base of personal shoppers and the ability to operate in over 70 markets.
“We recognize that our guests love to shop at our stores…we also know they’re looking for another choice. When we think about our future, we think our stores will play a major role.”
— Brian Cornell, CEO, Target
Cornell also stated that same-day delivery is the crux of Target’s mission to set the retail standard for last-mile fulfillment, which currently includes an offer of free two-day shipping.
Fedex is at the Forefront
Walmart and Fedex have teamed up to bring Fedex shops into 500 of Walmart’s US stores.
“We gravitated toward Walmart because they have this fantastic physical infrastructure. “We are already great partners with Walmart on the transportation side, so it was natural for us to talk about a store-within-a-store format.”
-Brian Philips, CEO, FedEx Office
So far, the pilot test has been successful in driving more traffic to Walmart and reducing logistics challenges.
Setting the Standard
Shoptalk 2018 proved brands have high ambition as the “new normal” of retail is defined. As Shoptalk founder and CEO Anil Aggarwal pointed out in his opening remarks, retail has entered a time where “disruptive innovation is adopted and proactively embraced by the mainstream.”
Button is thrilled to be at the heart of this mobile innovation, helping foster partnerships between Publishers and Merchants, ultimately giving users what they want at the tap of a button.
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