The Big Retail Reunion is how they are referring to Shop Talk 2022. From March 27-30 over 10,000 attendees consisting of 600 sponsors, 2,500 retailers from 42 countries joined industry colleagues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The biggest event in the 7-year Shop Talk history.
Call it post pandemic build-up or the new renaissance in retail, but Shop Talk proved to be where the who’s who in the business emerged for 3 days to learn, share and discuss all things retail. Key sessions revolved around the main themes of: leadership, innovation, global experiences and start-ups. Speakers and panelists spanned across nearly every major brand including representatives from: Nordstrom, Target, American Eagle, Fabletics, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Poshmark, Macy’s, Walmart, Whole Foods, REI, 1-800-Flowers and the Gap—to name drop a few.
So, what was the buzz about? The same suspects of topics surfaced such as: digital commerce, personalization, payments & checkout, research & insights, modern merchandising, the future of grocery and, of course, the supply chain. Bloomberg, who interviewed Connie Chan, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, highlighted a few key trends, namely:
- Video shopping—long, short and live-form
- The use of technology in shopping and AI-powered retail
- Personalized, more profitable shopping through condensed paths between brands, retailers and customers
Interestingly enough, the current inflation concerns, increased gas prices and rising interest rates are not casting a shadow over new start-ups and their futures in the industry. According to Chan, early-stage investing is not being impacted by long-term changes to the market. A sign of optimism for retailers and consumers alike.
Other show insights were shared by UBER CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who sees on-demand shopping as the new evolution of BOPIS. He is grooming UBER to be the anti-Amazon, catering to local merchants and restaurants to power their under 1 hour delivery promises. On another note, Thredup CEO, James Reinhart is bullish on the resale market. Bloomberg estimates the resale market to grow to $77 billion by 2025. Ignited by the pandemic as a mainstream circular shopping system, consumers have embraced both selling and shopping across resale platforms. A trend projected to increase 30%+ year over year.
What modern day retail conference would be complete without chatter about the Metaverse? While the Metaverse is an emerging topic and new platform that brands are showing some curiosity about, most retailers are still uncertain as to where their place is in the new universe. AKA, how will they profit. By contrast, the discussion around retail media as a revenue stream seems to have more alignment. As advertising looks for a new home in a cookie-less world, brands are looking to retail sites for data and integrated media opportunities for unified commerce campaigns. This explains why retail media accounts for 20% of digital spend and is projected to grow.
Shop Talk 2022 generated lots of renewed energy and provided a stage for the industry to shine again. While Corona suffocated traditional retail for the last two years, a lot was taking place behind the brick and mortar walls and this new retail revolution is proving to be interesting. Brands continue to go direct-to-consumer, stores continue to reinvent their purpose and start-ups are defining new virtual shopping experiences. We are also seeing influencers and creators maintaining their importance as content, video and product curation are excelling in a data-driven, smart technology universe.
Where does this leave us? Looks like retail 3.0 is now underway. From stores to ecommerce to a multi-dimensional universe, brands continue to evolve and are looking for solutions to enhance the shopper experience both online and in-store, and, apparently, in the new virtual marketplace.