- By Colleen McNamara
If you’re big on Twitter like us, you’re probably aware of the concept of a “Twitter chat:” a live discussion with a panel of experts, on any given subject under the sun. In preparation for NRF 2017, we called upon retail experts to talk about technology trends, marketing challenges, and where the industry’s headed. If you missed it, we’re recapping the discussion for you right here.
Check back in a couple of weeks for our #SweetIQChat on marketing for franchises.
Q1: How will tech continue to shape retail in 2017? What do you predict for the upcoming year?
Artemano: User Generated Content & Augmented Reality will be important to companies trying to be on the cutting edge of tech.
Brahm Booth: Personalization & Attribution will be paramount to retailers’ success in 2017, e.g. #4 in Forbes
Dx3 Canada: In-store tech that will make the shopping process more agile for both the shopper and the retailer.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Data companies will get more sophisticated at combining online + offline data sources to show actionable insights.
Brad Wing: AI and data-gen tools will allow retailers to offer targeted, highly curated experiences to shoppers.
You might also want to read… 2017 Local Marketing Predictions from our CEO
Q2: What’s one way brick-and-mortar stores can cultivate a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers?
Artemano: By making sure that the look & feel, products and pricing stay consistent online & offline.
Brahm Booth: Many retailers are far from a seamless omnichannel experience, but leveraging their greatest asset – real estate & traffic.
Dx3 Canada: Stores should create a shopper identity (via social profiles, loyalty profiles, apps) to track purchase + browse behaviour
Mohannad El-Barachi: Provide instant and relevant information no matter where customers are or what digital device they are using.
Brad Wing: Learn who the consumers are that are searching for you, and use that data for personalization – in-store or your ad buy.
Q3: If you could choose three data points to retrieve on your in-store visitors, what would they be?
Artemano: Their favourite social networks, their geographical location (where they live) & interests.
Brahm Booth: Where they came from, What they are looking at, Who they are with. Delivering 1 to 1 messaging would be huge!
Dx3 Canada: Time spent in a certain section/category, household income, and purchase frequency.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Most used search and discovery site, historical track of their online reviews, most purchased products.
Brad Wing: The conversion that brought them to the store, what products they’ve researched online, and their social profiles.
You might also want to read… How Data Strategies and Local Search Can Boost Retail Sales
Q4: Where do you go to get the most up-to-date information on tech and retail?
Artemano: Tech companies’ blogs & those of thought leaders in that space.
Brahm Booth: Think with Google, QZ, Fast Company, Business Insider, Marketing Land & Looking at the Source Code of competitors.
Dx3 Canada: Great sources for tech + retail are Retail Insider, Retail Council, Retail Prophet – all amazing Dx3 partners!
Mohannad El-Barachi: Retai lDive, NRF News, and Bloomberg for what’s happening in retail.
Brad Wing: My go-to for updates in retail is Campfire Capital. Informative & thorough updates in retail and tech.
Q5: We’re seeing major brands warmly embrace AI. Do you think this is just a fad, or is it the future of retail?
Artemano: AI is helping brands become more efficient; it is not a fad.
Brahm Booth: I believe that AI isn’t just the future of retail, it’s humanity’s future. I feel it’s premature in retail.
Dx3 Canada: If AI is implemented in a way that makes sense for the brand and the process is easy + comfortable, it could be the future.
Mohannad El-Barachi: AI is the future of retail: it will be a crucial part of informing and shaping a personalized customer experience.
Brad Wing: The ability for AI to predict & help customers will allow #retailers to gain valuable insights & change retail for the better.
Q6: If you had one word of #marketing advice for a retailer new to the game, what would it be?
Artemano: Understand your target audience / consumer.
Brahm Booth: It’s not magic or voodoo, it’s not luck. It’s just insight … Learn, Test, Challenge then Grow.
Dx3 Canada: Experience is everything. Focus on making it easy + seamless to discover product, and keep sale conversion simple.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Don’t silo Online or Offline strategies, planning them in tandem will result in a more connected vision.
Brad Wing: Plan for what you don’t know, think about the future: is your retail brand able to grow into omnichannel? It must.
Q7: How do you think social media has impacted retail marketing?
Artemano: Hugely! It has become the most important and direct channel in reaching your clients and potential customers.
Brahm Booth: Social Media has continued to impact business & retail. In 2017, influencers will be more important than ever.
Dx3 Canada: Social media has helped retailers find their consumers and get their attention in ways they couldn’t before
Mohannad El-Barachi: Social has created an arena for better communication: leading to more data → more informed mktg strategies.
Brad Wing: It’s forced marketers to diversify their digital strategy to match what users expect and desire on the various platforms.
You might also want to read… The Evolution of Social Media Marketing in Retail
Q8: What do you think is the biggest challenge retailers face in 2017?
Artemano: Differentiating one’s self from competitors in saturated markets.
Brahm Booth: Digital marketing competition (e.g. Amazon), Being Unique, Creating a Worthy Story, Marketplaces & Consolidation.
Dx3 Canada: A challenge retailers will face this year is standing out – you’ve got to create memorable experiences for the customer.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Customer acquisition and retention. Focus your efforts on personalization to keep them interested and loyal.
Brad Wing: The intense speed of change. Consumers, especially Millennials, are incredibly savvy – and have “I want it now” mentality. Brands must keep up.
Q9: Name a brand that retailers should look up to, and why?
Artemano: Apple and Tesla to name a few for always being creative and pushing the limits of tech.
Brahm Booth: ARITZIA has built a content rich and unique brand. Their staff & customers are their evangelists.
Dx3 Canada: Patagonia flipped the idea of Black Friday on its head; donated proceeds instead of taking a massive profit.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Amazon is dominating O2O, unparalleled online presence has spilled into physical realm w/ the opening of brick+mortar stores.
Brad Wing: Brand Frank + Oak has created a new model for digital & physical retail spaces. They show true innovation in the retail world.
Take a peek into the future of retail.