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3 retail trends

Maria was at ShopTalk in Vegas to soak up the latest and greatest retail trends from around the globe. Here are the themes that she found most inspiring. 

This year, the whole of ShopTalk was data related. I don’t think I attended a single session where the word data wasn’t mentioned.

But it now feels like we’ve moved away from simply ‘Big Data’: yes, retailers have tons of data, so much of it that they can’t make proper use of it. Now the focus is on how to use that data to put the customer at the centre of absolutely everything you do.

I’ve split my learnings into 3 key themes: PersonalisationConversational commerce and Marketplace vs brand.

Personalisation

Example: Sephora

Perhaps the best example was from Sephora, who say mobile is the key connector between every channel. "Beauty is for the client to define - and we need to help them source their favourite products," they said. The brand runs one of the best loyalty programmes built on data, where the customer is put first. 

  • 56% of beauty consumers prefer to spend money on experiences rather than products alone 
  • Peer groups are more and more important to leverage their opinions rather than just magazines

Great examples of how Sephora do this include: 

  • 'Virtual Artist' - augmented reality that allows customers to try on clothes and share the results
  • 'Beauty Insider' - a community with live chat and share
  • 'Digital Guides' - a mobile tool for staff to capture your preferences and contact you after your in-store experience
  • Finally, their 'Store Companion' - currently around 15% of their geolocation targetting is sucessful, with people heading into the nearby store when prompted about an abandoned basket

Our Worldpay Total product combines payments across channels and make sure we can identify the customer whenever and however they pay - offering them their preferred methods.

Conversational commerce

Examples: Facebook Messenger Chat & Rakuten Viber

We now have multi-modal inputs: Touch, text, voice, images, and even emoji. It's important to define the strategy for each input type. 

Facebook Messenger Chat

  • Use payment in the chat to simplify the authentication process
  • American Outfitters use FB Messenger as a personal assistant and to process a sale. The history of these conversations allows retargetting of the customer later on, with products they like. 

Rakuten Viber

Similar to Wechat in China, Viber emphasises social, encouraging sharing with friends before buying and it encourages discovery and exploration.

  • 36% people will share with friends and family before buying
  • Real social recommendations are allowed by your peers
  • Chat-share-like-buy-pay all within the same space

Our FB messenger chat capability is live allowing shoppers to go back to a conversation without having to identify themselves to the merchant again and to easily make their payment. Combined with our WP Total product, this is a very powerful tool.

Marketplaces vs Brands

Example: Matchesfashion 

Brands create emotion and inspire shoppers. Marketplaces provide choice and multiple mini brand experiences.

  • The US and China are the only countries where marketplaces are so prominent. The rest of the world is way more fragmented
  • If you search on marketplaces for the most generic product like “luggage” you get the cheapest options – so this often becomes a race for the bottom (e.g. Samsonite)
  • Brands need to innovate to solve one problem – if they make sure customers keep coming back they don’t need to reacquire them again across touch points. How that works depends on type of business – recurring, loyalty programmes, communities.
  • Efficiency vs engagement

Content and commerce – Matchesfashion says 50% content and 50% commerce is an ideal mix. They developed the “Fashion point of view”: they see a 30% increase in purchases when a buyer comes from own-brand content such as its blogs or videos. All content features ready to buy products as part of the article or content.

A study on people’s mindsets when intent on shopping (by Gensler), revealed that:

49% shop in 'Task Mode' – they're often most suited to efficiency - buying on Amazon or marketplaces.

51% are not in Task Mode' and shop for:

  • 19% discovery
  • 15% social
  • 10% aspirational 
  • 7% entertainment

Our tokenization and 1 click product makes the payment invisible or translucent (if a customer would rather sense-check before paying). That way you can create the experience for your shopper with no disruptions to their journey.