Last week, the Ketner Group team arrived in Dallas at Shop.org Retail’s Digital Summit to talk shop with top ecommerce innovators, retailers and influencers about what lies ahead for the remainder of 2016 and the start of 2017.
As anyone in the business can tell you, the summit is viewed as the kick-start to the holiday season, the opening ceremony if you will, to the busiest, yet most profitable time of year for retailers. During the months following the summit, retailers will look to put all of their technology implementations into play and verify which of their implementations are tough enough to withstand the holiday grind.
Seen on the shop floor
Ketner Group’s clients were in full force at this year’s summit showcasing their latest offerings and news:
Convey showcased how their technology helps retailers transform the most frustrating part of a customer’s experience, delivery, into one that delights at every turn. Through predictive, adaptive and proactive data analysis, Convey helps retailers unify the carrier ecosystem, identify problems before they happen, and facilitate changes on-the-ground, in real time. Convey also discussed upcoming integrations to their platform as well as shipping and delivery trends that will impact the 2016 holiday season.
DynamicAction released its Retail Index – Fall 2016 which found that as retailers head into the critical holiday shopping season, they continue to rely too heavily on their promotional calendars, with an 85% increase globally in the percent of orders using a promotion YoY (Jan.-Sept. 2016 vs. 2015). Other key findings from the report indicated additional challenges for this holiday season, as retailers continue to struggle to acquire new customers and convert first-time buyers into repeat shoppers. On a more positive note, retailers are beginning to make changes to increase operational efficiencies and shore up profit margins. While product profits are basically flat YoY, they’re up 6% for the quarter, compared to 2015.
Edgecase showcased how the company is helping retailers and brands like Lancome, Sur La Table and Crate and Barrel improve their online product visibility.
Kibo, the complete omnichannel commerce platform, announced the acquisition of Baynote, a cloud-based personalization platform. With this acquisition, Kibo will continue to strengthen its commerce solutions with industry-leading personalization technology that quickly enables retailers and brands to provide individual buying experiences.
Mirakl highlighted how the Mirakl Marketplace Platform makes it easy for operators to onboard vast numbers of vendors in a single platform to drastically increase their product selection, competitive prices and a superior shopping experience.
Heard on the shop floor
While innovative technology applications were the center of attention on the expo floor, these shiny new applications also opened the door to deeper conversations of best practices to remember while integrating a new technology.
From personalization technology, intelligent fulfillment, data analytics and in-store technology, one thing remains true: the overall experience should be at the forefront of the implementation. For example, key lessons heard around the expo floor for deploying a technology solution included:
- Taking a research-based, vertically integrated approach to implementing technology within your product and services strategy.
- In terms of disruptive technology, remember the function is just as important as the form – the look and feel of that technology must flow seamlessly and solve a pain point.
- Being open-minded to new technology. For example, technologies like virtual reality will allow retailers to reimagine the way they should work on their next project.
- Understanding new ideas and methods through data analysis.
- Remembering that technology is just an enabler to achieve a greater result. It takes a deep understanding of your brand and customer to make all touch points flow seamlessly.
- Keeping in mind the importance of great people and culture within your organization.
The conclusion of Shop.org Retail’s Digital Summit signals the opening bell for the start of the 2016 holiday sales season for retailers. With several technology solutions ready to make retailers’ processes flow seamlessly, retailers will be ready to deliver the goods to their consumers.