Once per year, leading players in the US retail and e-commerce market gather at Shoptalk Las Vegas. Retail giants like Walmart, Kroger, Lowe’s, Unilever, and Coca-Cola were present at this year’s event, as well as many evolving and established tech companies that were there to share the latest industry trends and set the stage for future innovations.
Also our intive team attended Shoptalk this year, and we’re back with insights on the most relevant retail and e-commerce trends from the event. Whether in North America or Europe, retail brands don’t want to miss out on these industry updates!
1. Frictionless experiences and unified commerce
Holistic shopping experiences are no longer just seamless, they need to become frictionless. This means that the customer encounters zero friction during traditional commerce journeys such as discovery, checkout, and delivery. Every channel, touchpoint, and service should be familiar to the customer, and they should know where they are in the process. This also encompasses the service provided by retail staff, whose role has historically been undervalued but is now gaining attention.
The well-known omnichannel experience is now evolving into “unified commerce” and is gaining even more importance. Unified commerce, however, doesn’t mean facilitating data-sharing between and integrating separated and siloed backend systems in order to provide better CX.
Instead, unified commerce is based on a shared backend data source, that all channels, touchpoints, and employees can access. This greatly improves user experience, with MACH architectures connected through APIs playing a crucial role.
This new focus on frictionless experiences is especially important for brands with a physical presence as well as online. In the US, for example, many consumers visit shopping malls for both entertainment and convenience purposes – brands need to leverage this to their advantage.
2. MACH adoption increases in North America
Composable commerce and MACH-based architecture (Microservice, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) are becoming increasingly popular for North American retailers and e-commerce businesses. While in Europe the transition to MACH has been underway for some while, North America is now playing catch up.
What’s the magic behind composable commerce and a successful MACH architecture? From our experience, the right technology set-up is crucial to reaching customers with personalized content at every touchpoint. A composable commerce strategy helps to break out from monolithic architecture by creating a composable system that is modular and built from several Packaged Business Capabilities (PBC). Each package can be developed, adapted, and maintained independently. This helps in creating tailormade solutions, reduce vendor lock-in and enable better scalability and flexibility.
Seamless delivery through MACH architecture and composable commerce thus ensures less strain on the business and the flexibility to adapt to market demands. Combined with a headless approach, by de-coupling backend development from frontend, additionally enabling an outstanding UX.
3. Generative AI enters the retail space
It’s no surprise that generative AI was one of the most discussed topics at Shoptalk Las Vegas 2023. This is simply because the opportunities of the technology are many – whether for customer service, up to entirely new products, services and even business models.
Retailers must play with and try out generative AI to learn how to best integrate and leverage the tool and avoid getting left behind. It’s also important to address employees’ fear of being replaced in fields like customer service, visual design, or marketing as a result of AI. As well as exploring AI’s potential to help increase revenue and drive technological advancement, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on the ethical and societal issues that come alongside its expansion.
4. Data, loyalty, and personalization are still top-of-mind
Retailers are still facing challenges in collecting, storing, and enriching data to monetize through smart loyalty programs, promotion programs, or relevant, real-time, interactive personalized content. Yet, pursuing these avenues continues to be a promising path to gaining and keeping customers.
The demand for sustainable and future-proof concepts is rising, so old structures need to be revisited and revised. This requires an open mindset and the will to be transparent and put the customer first. This brings us back to unified commerce – a unified 360° data view on customers is essential to fulfill this.
The hidden key to delivering an outstanding experience for customers lies in adopting an experience mindset: Rather than internal structures, silos, and processes, the experience mindset focuses on people. It removes development silos and empowers product teams to design, develop, and deliver the best possible experience all the time by sending the right message, to the right audience, for the right stage, at the right time.
5. E-commerce companies are feeling the pinch of the inflation crisis
As businesses came back from the impact of the pandemic, many brands and retailers became focused once again on scaling both internally by making new hires and externally by gaining new customers. However, the current inflation crisis has brought with it a renewed focus on efficiency for retailers and D2C brands. These companies are now aiming to conserve resources while not allowing customer experience to suffer as a result.
6. Retailers are partnering with one another
This emerging trend, also seen in Germany, involves retailers offering their services as collaborative commerce solutions to other retailers, acting as solution providers for services such as delivery, marketing, or technology.
Interested in learning more about Holistic Shopping Experiences? Download our latest whitepaper for more information on how to leverage the latest tech innovations in the retail space.
intive has always been focused on the end-user and their experience. As one of the leading digital service providers in Germany, intive offers an integrated design and development approach with a proven track record. Learn about our international projects and partners.