This week Shop.org kicked off in Los Angeles as some of the most innovative minds in retail came together to share what’s working, what isn’t, and most importantly, how to get ahead next year. Many retailers use Q4 as a time to plan for 2018, lock in their budgets, and place their bets on which technologies are going to help them hit their goals.
Rewind five years ago and the buzzword was – mobile. Three years ago it was – omni-channel. Now it’s safe to say that any retailer that doesn’t have a great mobile experience is in serious trouble, the same goes for those without a solid omni-channel strategy. At the same time, as we have all experienced as consumers, almost all of the brands and retailers that we know and love have embraced mobile, innovated in omni-channel and that’s why they go to conferences like Shop.org, to see what’s next.
This year more than ever, retailers are trying to understand, “what’s new” and how can they continue to improve the experience for all of us – the consumer. Our team has been at the booth this week talking to some of the most innovative retailers on the planet, reading all of the most popular retail pubs like Retail Touchpoints, Internet Retail, and Retail Wire, and listening to some of the incredible talks Shop.org has put on the agenda. Today we’re excited to share we think are the three major trends in retail to look out for this year that have been re-enforced here at Shop.org.
Innovation is something that is incredibly dynamic, always changing, and it’s conferences like Shop.org, ShopTalk, eTail and others that help brands and retailers stay on top of the latest trends. So if you couldn’t make it out this year but you’re looking to focus on innovation in 2018, here are three trends that should be on your radar.
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence – retailers are collecting more data than ever before, thanks in no small part to the fact that they are embracing mobile and omni-channel which means more data is coming in then they know what to do with. Buried in spreadsheets and databases is actionable insights, major breakthroughs just waiting to be uncovered…but it’s hidden in the data. Machine Learning technologies can intelligently parse this data to uncover these insights and turn all these overflowing repositories of information into something meaningful.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality – while it might still feel like both of these technologies are more of a novelty, innovative retailers like Loews, Amazon, IKEA, and many more are already starting to incorporate them into the consumer experience. Just like the shift to mobile happened fast, the same is happening with AR and VR and if either of these technologies isn’t in your 2018 plan, you could fall behind.
- Properly leveraging Social Media (and especially Instagram) – yes, it’s likely that this one is a little confusing. Hasn’t Instagram been around for a long time? It has, but the traction it is seeing today, and how much it has edged in front of Snapchat, Twitter, and even it’s parent company Facebook when it comes to shopping is incredible. Consumer’s just aren’t shopping on Twitter and Snapchat like many people thought they would, but they are on Instagram and reaching your customers through this social network is more important now than ever.
If you’re at the show this year please feel free to come by Booth #1012 to say hello to the Bold Metrics team. We’ll be there and you can’t miss us – just look for Manny our friendly mannequin (pictured below):