Talking Shoptalk 2018: 5 Key Takeaways

It was another successful year in Las Vegas at Shoptalk 2018! With over 8,000 attendees, it was a fury of industry buzzwords, partnership announcements, and product overviews.

The sessions were packed with listeners eager to absorb new ideas to take back to the drawing board, and we were interested in observing current trends that are driving the state of the e-commerce world.

After taking some time to reflect and debrief, we compiled five key takeaways from the week in Vegas:

 

1. Customers Love Convenience

Klarna was front and center as attendees entered the Sands Expo Center.

This may not be groundbreaking, but seems to be at an all-time high. Retailers and vendors alike are striving to provide quick, simple solutions for their customers. This was seen at Shoptalk 2018 through products such as one-click checkouts, automated shopper assistance, sizing chart databases, and changes in the grocery industry, including scan-and-go technologies.

Customers are also demanding new experiences, driven by a greater desire for convenience. This is created by innovative solutions that take the customer experience to the next level. These solutions range from visual search tools that bring the online shopping experience to life, to AI-powered visual commerce.

The shift toward convenience is also motivated by the ability to personalize shopping experiences through smarter product recommendations. To fully capitalize on what customers want, retailers must look beyond just saving customers’ time. Shoppers today are driven by technologies that enhance how they engage with retailers.

 

2. Mobile is (Still) Growing

Mobile is dominating the e-comm conversation, and Shoptalk 2018 was no different. Phones have begun to act as an entry point to shopping, allowing customers to browse products before setting foot in the store. In addition to increasing product awareness and personalization, mobile devices have contributed to decreasing cart abandonment through simplified checkout processes.

Mobile must be at the forefront of retailers’ digital strategies as they look to incorporate technology across the shopping journey — including the payments aspect. The true value of mobile is the ability to turn any device into a customer engagement tool that creates interactive experiences between the shopper and the retailer.

 

3. Retail is Getting More Conversational 

Speaking of mobile-driven technology, another trend getting more traction is the concept of conversational commerce. From messaging apps to live chatbots on websites and mobile apps, retailers are finding value in integrating technology that facilitates real-time customer interaction.

Retailers can leverage popular messaging apps to quickly respond to customers’ questions and help connect them with the products and services they’re looking for. Messenger services are also being used to drive purchases and connect shoppers with more personalized offers across e-commerce sites.

 

4. AI is Transforming the E-commerce Experience

At Shoptalk 2018, Artificial Intelligence was a core component of customer experience discussions. For retailers, the real value of AI is the power to learn from shopper behavior patterns, including how they navigate across an e-commerce site and how they choose to pay.

Retailers can also leverage AI to improve product recommendations and utilize search engine optimization based on shopper behavior. The application of this technology can provide retailers with real-time results about how their customers are engaging across their site. On the consumer side, AI gives shoppers more personalized offers to help enhance their buying journey.

 

5. Established Brands are Partnering with Startups

Partnerships are often a recipe for success, and large retailers seem to have noticed the positive impact of teaming up with startups. Established brands are benefitting from startup technologies, thus expanding their businesses to meet customer demands. These range from assembly and shipping, to analytics and payments.

The startup ecosystem has disrupted retail in a way that’s moving the needle along faster than ever before. From cutting-edge technology to solutions that help retailers improve checkout, the traditional retail world is taking a lesson from the new kids on the block.

It was a week well-spent breaking down new trends and learning from established organizations at Shoptalk 2018, and the team at Klarna is looking forward to next year!

Klarna North America CEO Jim Lofgren presents to a group of Shoptalk attendees on how to optimize your online checkout.

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