ShopTalk is a retail event unlike any other. It’s what NRF and Shop.org should have been, combined. After three days at the event, it struck me as a holistic reflection of what retail is in 2019 and where it’s going. However, it wasn’t futuristic. It was practical. Content covered something for everybody, including pure play online retailers, digital innovation players, as well as a lot of focus on omnichannel and multichannel retail. I couldn’t say this about the other retail shows.
NRF and shop.org have been separate events forever in an attempt to specialize the content, attendees, and vendors between offline legacy retail (NRF) and eCommerce/digital innovation (shop.org). It’s emblematic of what has plagued retail for decades; perpetuating versus celebrating the blending of channels and commerce in today’s consumer market. Those events tried to cater to the silos and never adapted to modern times. As a result, ShopTalk saw an opportunity to fill the void with a show that celebrates an industry that can today be described as commerce anywhere and everything digital.
The event was very well produced, with amazing content that drew lots of brands across functions, and a vendor community that was digitally-focused. Companies of all sizes were present, from start-up tech and retail brands, to the largest tech and retail players. However, unlike NRF, this show drew the more progressive divisions from the largest tech companies. Instead of all of IBM on display in a multi-million dollar booth at NRF, IBM was represented by their Watson Division with a more modest presence.
Themes from the speakers felt extremely relevant for our business at RevTrax. For example, the keynotes by retail executives talked about the digital marketing revolution, data, and personalization. However, it was in the context of the physical store and customer experience and not just eCommerce, which was the case in the past. The reality of online/offline, integrated retail, and the channel-agnostic and customer-centric worldview was a frequent topic of focus. Furthermore, many retailers talked about the challenges in the industry, from bankruptcies and store closures to excessive discounting and promotional tactics.
On the other hand, the same retailers shared that they intended to open more of the right stores in the right locations for today’s shopper. Additionally, they spoke about getting smarter and more effective with their offers to avoid the profit margin drag that many have suffered by doling out large discounts to everybody. That’s certainly a topic we have the ability and expertise to help with and found many retailers eager to dig in and understand how promotional intelligence can be applied practically to their business.
Jonathan Treiber is the CEO & Co-founder of RevTrax