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Key Takeaways From 'IGNITION: Redefining Retail'

Key Takeaways From 'IGNITION: Redefining Retail'

Kristen Ziaks

Kristen Ziaks

January 28, 2020

Havas Media’s VP Director of Communications Strategy Kristen Ziaks shares her insights from the publication’s first Ignition event of 2020.

"We are quickly moving to a world where you don’t even need to pick up a device to search and buy the product you need"

Every aspect of the retail experience is being disrupted, fueled by technology and shifting consumer expectations. On January 14, Business Insider held ‘IGNITION: Redefining Retail‘, which gathered some of the industry’s leading entrepreneurs and experts to discuss how these changes are impacting business models right now, as well as their forecast for the future. One thing was clear: The future of retail will be driven by a brand’s ability to remove friction and deliver an exceptional, consistent experience across touchpoints. Here are some of my main takeaways.

 

Retail areas of growth have one thing in common: removing friction

Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder of eMarketer Geoff Ramsey’s take on retail growth is that ecomm, mobile and social commerce, proximity payments, and, yes, voice will continue to grow and disrupt the landscape. While social commerce is still a small piece of the pie, it is growing rapidly as brands have seen its ability to convert in feed. In fact, it’s the fastest-growing referral source for online retailers (9% in 2019).

Amazon, now accounting for 39% of all US commerce sales in 2020, will continue to be the giant of retail and permeate consumers’ lives. From operations focusing on increased convenience, as well as expanded offerings for advertisers, they will be fighting to retain and grow their share in the year(s) to come.

Whether you are a big box or a small DTC brand, Amazon is the gold standard

From one-click shopping, to next-day delivery, Amazon is continuing to innovate to meet consumer demand and anticipating needs based on what they’re learning about their consumers from first-party data. Maggie Winter, CEO of AYR, explains that having this direct feedback loop with consumers is paramount for her business because it allows her to create a community where there is a shared value system. They can collaborate and communicate so consumers feel like they’re part of the process.

If it’s truly about convenience and “frictionless,” voice is one to watch

Forget “click to buy,” we are quickly moving to a world where you don’t even need to pick up a device to search and buy the product you need. By the end of this year, 25% of all people will have a voice-activated device and one of the primary functions is “inquire or search.” This is important for brands because, as of right now, depending on the device, you get one answer. There’s a gap that exists between consumers and what retailers are doing to capture the growing demand.

"Consumer expectations from brands are universal—they want personalized, consistent, seamless experiences across touch points from brands"

DTC extends to the offline world while brick-and-mortar goes online

Whether you are a legacy brand or startup DTC, consumer expectations from brands are universal. They want personalized, consistent, seamless experiences across touchpoints from brands, and businesses are having to evolve to meet their needs. Take Nike for example, who has leaned in on community and personalization as pillars of their offering, reimagining the role of their physical footprint through fun runs and focusing on the personalization that their digital retail shelf allows for. This is even seen across department stores such as Nordstrom who are creating a one-stop shop for clothing, entertainment, and dining.

At the same time, you are seeing digital-first DTC brands increasingly dabble in pop-up physical locations as a means to connect with their consumers in the physical world. “You are seeing DTC move to retail because it is the articulation of brand values in the physical space, giving shoppers a 3D experience of a brand. This is happening because brands are looking to breathe life into their products, and allow for consumer interest in more personalized environments, being able to touch and try the product before they buy,” explains Arpan Podduturi of Shopify.

Access over ownership in all things

Increasing consumer attention on where brands show up as well as what they stand for impacts not just the way clothes are made and distributed but the terms of the brand behavior as well. Brands are now taking a critical look at everything from design to how they engage through comms as means to ensure they’re building meaningful connections with consumers’ shared values that will allow them to remain relevant.

Rent the Runway COO Anushka Salinas’ perspective in driving growth was to take the behavior they are seeing through fashion and permeate all aspects of female consumers’ lives. They have now set their sights to expand into areas including everything from home (West Elm) to travel (W Hotels), and much of this was driven by feedback they received from their own membership community.

"We are quickly moving to a world where you don’t even need to pick up a device to search and buy the product you need"

Every aspect of the retail experience is being disrupted, fueled by technology and shifting consumer expectations. On January 14, Business Insider held ‘IGNITION: Redefining Retail‘, which gathered some of the industry’s leading entrepreneurs and experts to discuss how these changes are impacting business models right now, as well as their forecast for the future. One thing was clear: The future of retail will be driven by a brand’s ability to remove friction and deliver an exceptional, consistent experience across touchpoints. Here are some of my main takeaways.

 

Retail areas of growth have one thing in common: removing friction

Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder of eMarketer Geoff Ramsey’s take on retail growth is that ecomm, mobile and social commerce, proximity payments, and, yes, voice will continue to grow and disrupt the landscape. While social commerce is still a small piece of the pie, it is growing rapidly as brands have seen its ability to convert in feed. In fact, it’s the fastest-growing referral source for online retailers (9% in 2019).

Amazon, now accounting for 39% of all US commerce sales in 2020, will continue to be the giant of retail and permeate consumers’ lives. From operations focusing on increased convenience, as well as expanded offerings for advertisers, they will be fighting to retain and grow their share in the year(s) to come.

Whether you are a big box or a small DTC brand, Amazon is the gold standard

From one-click shopping, to next-day delivery, Amazon is continuing to innovate to meet consumer demand and anticipating needs based on what they’re learning about their consumers from first-party data. Maggie Winter, CEO of AYR, explains that having this direct feedback loop with consumers is paramount for her business because it allows her to create a community where there is a shared value system. They can collaborate and communicate so consumers feel like they’re part of the process.

If it’s truly about convenience and “frictionless,” voice is one to watch

Forget “click to buy,” we are quickly moving to a world where you don’t even need to pick up a device to search and buy the product you need. By the end of this year, 25% of all people will have a voice-activated device and one of the primary functions is “inquire or search.” This is important for brands because, as of right now, depending on the device, you get one answer. There’s a gap that exists between consumers and what retailers are doing to capture the growing demand.

"Consumer expectations from brands are universal—they want personalized, consistent, seamless experiences across touch points from brands"

DTC extends to the offline world while brick-and-mortar goes online

Whether you are a legacy brand or startup DTC, consumer expectations from brands are universal. They want personalized, consistent, seamless experiences across touchpoints from brands, and businesses are having to evolve to meet their needs. Take Nike for example, who has leaned in on community and personalization as pillars of their offering, reimagining the role of their physical footprint through fun runs and focusing on the personalization that their digital retail shelf allows for. This is even seen across department stores such as Nordstrom who are creating a one-stop shop for clothing, entertainment, and dining.

At the same time, you are seeing digital-first DTC brands increasingly dabble in pop-up physical locations as a means to connect with their consumers in the physical world. “You are seeing DTC move to retail because it is the articulation of brand values in the physical space, giving shoppers a 3D experience of a brand. This is happening because brands are looking to breathe life into their products, and allow for consumer interest in more personalized environments, being able to touch and try the product before they buy,” explains Arpan Podduturi of Shopify.

Access over ownership in all things

Increasing consumer attention on where brands show up as well as what they stand for impacts not just the way clothes are made and distributed but the terms of the brand behavior as well. Brands are now taking a critical look at everything from design to how they engage through comms as means to ensure they’re building meaningful connections with consumers’ shared values that will allow them to remain relevant.

Rent the Runway COO Anushka Salinas’ perspective in driving growth was to take the behavior they are seeing through fashion and permeate all aspects of female consumers’ lives. They have now set their sights to expand into areas including everything from home (West Elm) to travel (W Hotels), and much of this was driven by feedback they received from their own membership community.

Kristen is a VP of Communications Strategy at Havas Media, working across a variety of accounts including Tracfone and Puma.

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