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ShopTalk 2023: Revolutionizing Retail in the New Decade!

#ShopTalk2023 was epic- 10,000 attendees, over 20,000 steps per day, and 2,500 meet-up tables to navigate through. The future of retail can only be described as exhilarating.

LMCA's Senior Director, Brand & Retail Development, Susanne Kernan, attended this year's show in Las Vegas. Here she is with Jill Lewis from Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. Jill works with manufacturers and brands to meet fair trade standards that promote safe working conditions, sustainable livelihoods, protection of the environment and transparent supply chains.

3 topics dominated ShopTalk this year:

  1. Retail media ad networks;

  2. Chat GPT/AI (of course, just like the metaverse dominated last year);

  3. What we would call ''back to basics execution'' for brands and retailers.

All of which aimed to answer 5 big questions which are crucial for retail:

  1. What does best-in-class shopper engagement look like?

  2. What emerging channels will deliver growth for my business?

  3. How do I deliver an outstanding store experience?

  4. Which tech investments will boost my revenue and profitability?

  5. What organizational changes will help me win?

Let's take a deeper dive and explore the insights & innovations that were shared.

Retail Media Ad Networks

In only 10 years of development, there are now a stunning 400+ ad networks to choose from. From a session called ''ShopTalk's Take on the Four Biggest Trends Transforming the Industry,'' presented by Krystina Gustafson, SVP Content at ShopTalk, and Joe Laszlo, VP Content at ShopTalk, these two startling charts highlight the spectacular growth in ad spend on retail media networks, which is now a global market valued at ~90B:

AI is Top-of-Mind

AI was mentioned by many (if not most) presenters and interviewers. While it's still a little early to say exactly how the latest developments will enhance or support retail operations and execution, AI can already help companies optimize their operations, personalize customer experiences, and make data-driven decisions. For example, AI-powered tools can help retailers forecast demand and optimize inventory, reducing overstock and out-of-stock situations. AI can also be used to create personalized recommendations and promotions for individual customers, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, AI can help companies analyze large amounts of data to gain insights and make informed business decisions. Overall, investing in AI can provide a significant competitive advantage and help drive revenue growth and profitability.

Going Back to Basics with the Big Players: Petsmart, Walmart, and Kroger

Kristin Shane, CMO of Petsmart, shared an overview of Petsmart's agile merchandising strategy and how their products help deepen the bond between pet parents and their pets. By connecting with culture and understanding what's important to pet parents, they deliver real solutions for pet parents and surprise them with truly irresistible products.

Judith McKenna is consistently ranked on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list, and for good reason. She's the CEO of Walmart International and has been responsible for their global innovation strategy. She spoke at length about the importance of the basics of retail execution- people, product, and being open to learn from partners in other countries.

Yael Cosset, CIO of Kroger, took another track to address the back-to-basics theme, in this case about customer experience. He described how Kroger uses loyalty card data to deliver a hyper-personalized, relevant shopping experience to the customer.

Bonus! - Influencers

Joanne Crevoiserat, CEO of Tapestry (Kate Spade, Coach, and Stuart Weitzman), was interviewed by Sara Eisen, a journalist at CNBC. Asked about the role of celebrity influencers nowadays, Crevoiserat explained that, in fact, the most engaged ambassadors are the store associates. ''They are influencing on their own, and this is the most engaging content.'' She also mentioned that 90%+ of their sales are now D-T-C; they pulled back from wholesale during the pandemic, and aren't going back because now they own the relationship with their customer and get immediate feedback on what's working and what's not.

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