Recently, The Shoptalk 2023 event brought together a handpicked cast of global thought leaders and experts to discuss the future of retail industry. In this article, we explore the highlights from the event.
Shoptalk, the premier event for retail and e-commerce, was back in full swing this year. Over 10,000 retailers and industry insiders descended in Las Vegas to explore rapidly evolving industry trends. The event was held at Mandalay Bay and featured panels with c-level executives and industry experts, as well as networking opportunities, brand workshops, and insightful roundtables.
We’ve picked out some of the latest trends, innovations, and highlights from the event that health & beauty retailers should watch out for in 2023. Enjoy the read!
Exceeding Customers' Shopping Expectations Both Online and Off
The retail sector has undergone significant upheaval recently. With heavy-traffic retail stores shutting down and e-commerce booming, businesses have had to adapt quickly to stay afloat. But how do you become comfortable with the uncomfortable changes? At the event, Katie Reeves, Managing Director at COS, North America; Anne Mezzenga, Co-CEO, Omni Talk; Marc Mastronardi, Chief Stores Officer, Macy's, and Melissa Repko, Retail & Consumer Reporter, CNBC, sat down to discuss the role of the store and strategies on how to meet and exceed customers' in-store shopping expectations.
In today's retail environment, consumers expect a seamless online and offline shopping experience.
"They want retailers to understand their needs and preferences and provide personalized recommendations, whether they are shopping in-store or online. This means that retailers must ensure that their e-commerce platform provides a great user experience that is on par with their in-store experience," said Katie Reeves, Managing Director at COS, North America.
Retailers must also prioritize operational efficiencies and provide the experience that customers are demanding.
"People go to stores for an enjoyable experience. However, retailers must remember that the customer experience relies on various factors," added Marc Mastronardi, Chief Stores Officer at Macy's.
This means developing an innovative selling model that is customer-facing and empowering teams with the resources and training they need to operate efficiently and effectively while delivering a personalized and engaging customer experience.
But to stay on par with the competition, retailers must provide a smart in-store experience powered by AI/AR technology, according to Reeves. For instance, COS stores now include smart fitting rooms that allow customers to request items without having to leave the fitting room. The SmartMirror, the central part of the experience, recognizes products brought into the room, spotting the item, size and color, with the possibility to offer personalized product and styling recommendations.
"The fitting room is the "heart of the experience and brand" where a consumer falls in love with the store and decides to purchase," said Katie Reeves, Managing Director at COS, North America.
Providing Groundbreaking International Retail Experiences
Today's retail innovation can come from anywhere, with breakthroughs, discoveries, and new trends taking off worldwide. Below are some of the points industry thought leaders listed during one of the panel discussions on how retailers can stay relevant in different markets and regions:
Lucas Herscovici, Chief Direct-to-Consumer Officer at AB InBev:
- Ensure that the technologies meet the standards that consumers now expect, regardless of the market and geographic location. By leveraging technology to create value-driven loyalty programs, retailers can build lasting relationships with their customers and drive sustainable growth over the long term. However, these programs must be seen as initiatives rather than just another channel for sales. Retailers must focus on providing real value to their customers rather than just incentivizing them to make more purchases.
- Retailers must also be mindful of driving differentiation and business models that are scalable in the long term. This may involve developing innovative new products or services that meet the needs of their target audience or implementing more sustainable business practices, such as using returnable bottles or reducing packaging waste.
- Consumers are increasingly seeking products that offer both premium quality and affordability. Retailers must strike a balance between offering high-quality products and services at a fair price point while also providing value-add benefits like rewards programs or personalized experiences.
Ryan den Rooijen, Chief E-commerce Officer at Chalhoub Group:
- Trust and customer experience are crucial factors that can make or break a brand. Open and honest dialog with customers can further increase the brand’s value and build trust and loyalty over time. By listening to customer feedback and being transparent about their actions, brands can demonstrate their value to consumers and ensure they are committed to providing the best possible experience.
- To stay ahead of market changes, brands must also be strategic about leveraging their experiences and adapting to new trends and technologies. For instance, investing in mobile and social platforms to engage with customers where they are or prioritizing inclusivity to reach a broader audience.
- Demographic shifts or increasing female empowerment can significantly influence brand strategies. Brands that can tap into these trends and connect with these audiences authentically and meaningfully will likely be more successful over the long term.
Antonio Guichard Gonzalez, Chief digital officer at El Puerto de Liverpool:
- As the retail industry continues to evolve, brands must become more omnichannel-based, with the store serving as the heart of the customer experience.
- With the rise of mobile devices, customers increasingly seek real-time information and updates on their purchases. Brands must prioritize providing this information and communicating with customers regularly to build trust and ensure they feel supported throughout the entire purchase process.
In The Age of Disruption, Put Customer First
The pandemic has brought consumers a heightened awareness of the importance of emotional, physical, and mental well-being. This has created new opportunities for beauty brands like Ulta to deliver holistic experiences tailored for each individual and build deeper customer relationships across all channels, even during challenging economic times.
"The trend towards self-care and wellness has been fueled partly by the rise of social media and technology, giving consumers new ways to connect and share their experiences. As a result, this powerful combination of technology and self-care has created a new level of consumer engagement and interest in the beauty industry," said Dave Kimball, CEO of Ulta.
- It's all about Smart Moves
Positioning the company to meet changing consumer needs naturally segued Kimball's presentation to the conference's central theme: smart retail. Ulta has been making big moves and investments in tech to continue enhancing the shopping experience. "It's a great time to think about how you can leverage all the existing technology and engage influencers on a consumer board to keep up with trends," Kimball said. Ulta launched Prisma Ventures last year, a $20 million VC fund that centers around digital innovation in the beauty category. The Prisma fund has invested in various technologies, such as lash robotics and HauteAI for skin analysis, to provide a platform where people can experiment with bold looks, natural looks, and more, continuing to tailor to consumer needs.
- It's all about the Experience
Ulta Beauty's success is rooted in one of its consumer insights: "Most consumers shop for and buy beauty products across price points, categories, and brands." Ulta's strategy of offering products across all price points enables consumers to adjust their spending while still enjoying their loyalty programs. According to Dave Kimball, beauty is fun, not a chore. It should be all about the immersive experience.
"The heart of Ulta Beauty comes to life in the physical environment," he said. "We work hard to create an experience that is fun and playful and inviting."
Ulta has also overhauled the structure of its loyalty program to be more enticing for shoppers. Kimbell added that when Ulta gets an in-store-only shopper to purchase online, their spending at Ulta grows by 2.5x times. Likewise, in-store visits also increase when people start shopping online at Ulta.
To learn how to drive outstanding personalized customer experiences across channels – and if Revieve Personalized Beauty Technology Platform is the right fit for you – request a demo today.