Last week, a few of us at Adrenalin were lucky to get a spot at the Mumbrella Retail Marketing Summit held at the Sofitel. The summit was aimed at marketers in the retail industry looking to gain further insight on the impact and influence our digital world has on retail. Mumbrella had an amazing line-up of speakers, such as Jon Bird from VML, Lara Thom from GYG, Alexander Meye from The Iconic, Pippa Kulmar from RetailOasis and many more. During the course of the day, speakers divulged the digital trends for this year and avenues the retail industry can utilise to drive sales and customer growth. After an information overload from the talented speakers, we’ve derived the three key themes and trends that retail needs to adopt:
One: Make digital retail a part of human life
The introduction of AmazonGo has rocked the retail experience with customers saying it feels like shoplifting. This experience makes retail easy, as if you’re not paying a dime for filling up your bag. The hassle-free way of shopping means retail is a seamless experience into everyday life – a theme that was prominent at the retail summit.
Payments are not only faster – they are non-existent. Matt Barr, Senior VP Core (Digital & New Payments Flows) from MasterCard also mentioned the new payment method of ‘wearables’. The new rings, and bracelets that millennials are catching onto means the consumer doesn’t have to think about taking out their card or paying, which means less thinking time about the transaction. As Jon Bird said,
you want to make your customers feel as if they’re not paying for anything
Bird also explored the power of voice retail. Amazon’s Alexa will only become a more powerful piece of artificial intelligence the more customers use the device. This technology means that retail and purchasing can become ‘conversational’. Alexa knows the milk you usually buy (whether that be skim or soy) and the purchase simply becomes a conversation "Alexa – can you buy more milk?" then milk is at your door the next day.
The fact that voice retail (Google Home and Alexa) typically sit in the living room, means that your customer doesn’t even need to leave the house, or reach for their wallet. Already 1% of Australian homes have these devices, which indicates the growth and potential for audio retail in the future. Digital retail will become a part of the modern day family’s home, making it more about the customer, which brings me to theme number two.
Two: Personalisation each customer
Retail has transitioned from the ‘wow’ factor of centres (extra-large effect), to a more customer experience focus, and now to a ME focus – me being the customer. Bird explained this as:
XL >> CX >> ME
customers nowadays don’t care about a ‘wow factor’ if it isn’t tailored to them
Andrew Goreki, Managing Director of Retail Directions, stressed the importance of digital transformation in retail to be personalised to customers and drive customer traffic.
He explained the human evolution. His theory is that currently, we are ‘Humans 2.0’ – humans that have undergone rapid evolutionary change and that we are constantly connected to the cybersphere. Goreki explains that traditional methods of retail promotion are now void because of our distance to reality. He stresses the fact. even though brick and mortar still count for 92% of sales, we need to utilise buying data and the digital path to drive customers to physical stores, otherwise business will die. Retailers need to look at customer journeys and buying patterns to specify their target market and their behaviours to increase sales and revenue.
The team from Quantium supported Goreki’s message, saying that retailers need to stop analysing the traditional demographic of their customer base, and look at the ‘buygraphic’. Buyergraphic is defined by Quantium as looking at the behaviours of their customers and what drives them to buy a product. The likes of Deliveroo and UberEats have contributed to the fast food category because of their digital platforms, contributing to 17.5% of growth in this industry. Data is so valuable and important for a business to analyse, as the digital strategy is right here.
Three: Use technology to fulfill customer demand
A third major discussion point throughout the day was framed around using new and emerging technology to ease pain points of consumers. Pippa Kulmar’s fascinating presentation on how behavioral and consumer psychology can inform new ways to engage consumers underlined the importance of this theme.
human nature is hardwired for lazy
Pippa said, so how can we streamline those areas where customers currently have to expend more energy than necessary?
An impressive leap into new technology to fulfill consumer demand is currently being executed by Guzman y Gomez, who use drones to deliver their freshly made burritos to hungry consumers who have ordered via the app.
Another fantastic example of technology enhancing the consumer experience is in the payments space. As we’ve already mentioned, smart wearables get plenty of attention for their convenience factor of not needing to carry cash or cards around with you. The technology for mobile payments, particularly via mobile phones, will continue to grow and evolve rapidly with the expectation that we will be using mobile payments for everything by 2022. Forgot your smart watch/ring/bracelet AND your phone? Don’t worry if you are in China – KFC is currently trialing a “smile to pay” feature that only requires your face!
Of course, we can’t talk new technology without mentioning the influence of both Artificial Intelligence and voice. Brands are leveraging AI to learn more about consumer behavior and develop tailored details and responses. The high profile Google Home and Amazon Echo will continue be complimented with machine learning platforms, like the new voice search and order available from Officeworks. Each interaction with it provides more data to shape learnings that will further refine the experience for the consumer. This ultimately gives the consumer more power and flexibility to shop for and purchase items in whatever way it suits them, and becomes a better experience each time.
The retail industry has so many exciting avenues to pursue in the quest for a more efficient, tailored and innovative consumer experience. The distinction between online and offline shopping blurs more each day and seamless integration of the two becomes more important in allowing consumers to have that everyday retail experience they don’t even think twice about. Personalization plays a huge part in turning a shopper into a buyer; and retailers should be using access to the data they have to support tailored messages. Finally, the range and quality of technology emerging offers a fantastic opportunity to find innovative solutions to consumers changing needs and desires.
If you are interested in the future of AI, here's what our team think about it and here's more from our blog on voice assstants.
If you would like to discuss a digital retail project with us, get in touch!
IMAGE CREDIT: MUMBRELLA.COM.AU