The Experts’ View
Industry experts offer their view on where next for retail.
The Retail Refresh
Beth Ann Kaminkow Global CEO | VMLY&R Commerce Jury President | Creative Commerce Lions 2022
Delivering improved experiences should be at the heart of retail strategy, writes VMLY&R Commerce’s Beth Ann Kaminkow, Jury President for the 2022 Creative Commerce Lions.
Retailers will continue to enhance the experience of both offline and online shopping. From gamified shopping, partnerships and creator collaborations, shoppable events on TikTok and Twitter, virtual demos and digital store associates to brand as a service via subscriptions and bundles – it’s all about delivering better experiences to consumers. What we saw as eCommerce ‘wins’ – frictionless, speedy, agile online experiences - became a barrier for physical retail. But as physical retailers innovated with “buy online pick up in store” (BOPIS) technology innovations and more, we’re almost now seeing a new trend that the whole digital experience needs to be rethought.
Brands have had to adapt and move quickly and efficiently into that space: navigating new competitors and answering changing consumer behaviours. We’re seeing a re-evaluation of channel mix, with brands considering the role of each channel and how it delivers against consumer expectations when it comes to commerce.
Every company we’re working with is looking to refresh their brand experiences. From an app to a website to in-store, they are rethinking the entire ecosystem with new use cases for a truly hybrid world. Thinking around speed, convenience, functionality and experience is in need of a refresh to deliver on new consumer expectations of buying anytime, anywhere.
“It’s important to take time to understand how the customer journey has changed for your brand. Learn more about where you can find new customers and invest in those channels. Continuing to rely on marketing techniques that worked even just a few years ago may no longer be the right strategy.”
Scott Bush | Head of US Grocery Sales Account Management | Amazon Ads
Tiffany Rolfe Global Chief Creative Officer R/GA Creative eCommerce Lions Jury President 2020-2021
“Commerce doesn’t have to be this extra step where you go somewhere else. We saw commerce showing up in new places and in interesting ways across the entire customer journey. It is no longer relegated to a .com or app and can be on a platform or a virtual pop-up store.”
Strat House’s Founding Partners, Rachel Clarke and Melanie Walsh, tackle two big questions on retail in 2022
Rachel Clarke Founding Partner Strat House
Rachel Clarke Founding Partner Strat House
You’ve worked with brands such as Unilever and adidas on their retail strategies. What’s your prediction on what one big change we’ll see in retail in the coming months? RC: Coming out of the pandemic, people are now far more used to online shopping. Physical retail is coming back in store but the offering is changing. There won’t be one big change but lots of little changes such as more social shopping and more circular economy. As a brand, if you were planning to put your money on one thing, that will be difficult because there are so many choices. MW: It’s the right time to place smaller bets. We’re seeing people going through chunky re-evaluations of their entire approach to retail and facing the possibility that everything they have been familiar with in their entire career is not the starting point any more. RC: What’s more, globally, there’s no one way of approaching eCommerce; what works in China doesn’t work in the Middle East or Latin America. There are different parameters and business environments. There may be global standard assets or tools but there can’t be a single global monopoly in terms of approach.
The metaverse is being tipped as a huge opportunity for retail. What are the watch-outs for brands? RC: The metaverse is a series of interconnected worlds. When you talk about the metaverse, it’s important to know where you’re going to be. For a shop with retail properties, the metaverse could simply mean augmenting the in-store experience through phones or wearable devices. MW: My warning is to learn from what’s happened before and stay focused on the audience; don’t get too enchanted or distracted by the technology. If I was going to place a bet on anything, it would be the Apple Watch. Even before the pandemic, they were already outselling normal watches, and they will have an impact on behaviour in Web 3.0. I’d also like to make a plea: this space should not be built and dominated by tech experts – that’s what went so badly wrong with 1.0 and 2.0. We need a diverse mix of experts, not just tech, representing all aspects of society.
RC: Kids might be comfortable in the metaverse but what about older people? You can’t let one group decide what the UX is. To maintain your revenue, you need a diverse mix; the consumers who are comfortable in the hot new environments aren’t necessarily the ones with the money. A diverse set of voices is needed to test what you’re doing. You can’t switch everything into the metaverse. It comes back to having a mix of channels through which to interact with a range of people.
“The gap between your TV and your supermarket has been replaced by the gap between one app on your phone and another.”
Alex Steer | Global Chief Data Officer | Wunderman Thompson