It’s called the Big Show for good reason - 38,000 attendees, 700 exhibitors and more than 200 content sessions. This year’s NRF annual conference brought together retailers, celebrities, tech players and startups and KWI was proud to be part of the conference, going on more than 20 years. Our booth was buzzing all day as we had the opportunity to demo our technology and preview what’s ahead. (We also got a lot of compliments on our branded chocolate bars from our client Dylan’s Candy Bar!).
Enhancements designed to help retailers provide exceptional experiences to their customers
As the retail world kicks into high gear with the official start of holiday shopping, November brought with it some big stories. Cyber Monday hit a record $7.9 billion in sales and of note, 33.5 percent of Black Friday sales and 27.7 percent of Cyber Monday Sales were made using smartphones. Digitally-native brands continue to make headlines with more and more predicted to turn to brick-and-mortar shops in 2019. And we enjoyed reading an article in Axios about the future of malls and how Columbus, OH has become the ‘SIlicon Valley of retail.” These stories and more are below.
As the SuperBowl of shopping comes to an end, one thing became very clear: brands need to be focused on an omnichannel solution for their customers. In a year where everyone is talking about in-store experiences, Black Friday weekend was all about e-commerce. Yahoo reported that “online sales rose more than 23 percent, crossing $6 billion on Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics. On Thanksgiving, it's estimated sales grew 28 percent to $3.7 billion.” The growth continued through the weekend. CNBC reports that Cyber Monday hit a record $7.9 billion in sales, which is an increase of 19.3 percent from a year ago, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Holiday sales are at it's peak, according to Business Insider, as Adobe Analytics is predicting sales to be the biggest in U.S. history.
October was another busy month in retail as the industry prepares for the holiday season and pundits make predictions of how this year will fare compared to others. At KWI, we’ve been closely following some recent trends focused on digitally native brands setting up physical stores and the rise of pop-ups, as well as how some innovative companies are using mall kiosks as extensions of their brands. The common theme here is that customers are demanding new ways to engage with brands and that shoppers are finding that nothing can replace the ability to touch and feel a product, especially for fashion brands.
Frank Weil, Chief Customer Officer at KWI, examines if branded coin via crypto will be the future of payments in retail.
Brands have been offering their own credit cards for years. In fact, the first known proprietary cards date back to the 1920s, when they were introduced by a few US department stores and oil companies.
Successful retail brands stay relevant and grow by clearly showcasing how their products fit into a consumers' lifestyle. They tell their brand stories through strong content and insight which can drive commerce and create lifelong, loyal customers. This was the main topic of conversation during Advertising Week in New York City where KWI’s Chief Customer Officer Frank Weil moderated a thought-provoking and lively panel with Lindsay Bressler, VP Strategy of Hatch Collection (and a KWI client), Sean Dollinger, CEO, President and Co-Founder of Namaste Technologies, YinYin Gao, Senior Product Director at Tencent Smart Retail and Geoff Schiller, Chief Revenue Officer at PopSugar
I recently had the honor of moderating a session at the NRF Shop.org Conference in Las Vegas about how content can amplify commerce. Joining me onstage was Tushar Adya, President and COO of Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lexi Cross, Co-Founder of Shoes of NYC, and Geoff Schiller, Chief Revenue Officer of PopSugar. Together, we discussed how these great brands use content and storytelling to keep customers engaged and loyal, while providing them with a unique retail experience that only their brand can deliver. We had a powerful discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and how publishers and retailers alike use content as a value add. Here are a few keys takeaways:
Customer satisfaction and the customer experience has quickly emerged as the primary metric of success for retailers. Investing in new technology, staying abreast of fashion trends, and creating in-store experiences are all smart strategies, but the best brands always come back to the Why. Why are you investing in new technology? (To make the shopping and checkout experience better, easier, and faster for your customers.) Why are you mindful of trends (to keep your customers interested.) Why are you offering yoga classes in your stores (to entice your customer to open the door). The answer is always about the customer experience.
6 Retail Stories Making Headlines—and Why You Should Care
“Retail isn’t dead, bad retail is dead,” said CVS Pharmacy president Kevin Hourican at NRF’s Shop.org conference in Las Vegas last week. It was a common theme throughout the week, where leaders and luminaries agreed that smart, customer-focused retail is in fact succeeding. While the headlines tend to focus on the doom and gloom (store closings, Amazon is killing everyone), the truth is, the companies who are looking forward and eager to innovate based on customers’ wants, desires, and habits are the ones to watch. Forecasters are already predicting a holiday boom in sales (specifically, a 15 percent growth for e-commerce holiday purchases this year, up from a 13 percent jump last year). Here are the other conversations happening that are worth the read.