Shoptalk 2023 brought together some of the greatest minds in commerce, challenging expectations and facilitating conversations of how we will address the changing demands of consumers and the opportunities created by technology.
There was so much to take in just a few days, but several key takeaways stood out for me.
Learning 1: Immersive platforms are all the rage
Visual commerce platforms were well-represented, with companies like Snap, Adobe, Spectrum, and Dopple showcasing their offerings. The smartest retailers are leading with a digital-first approach and using immersive experiences to connect physical stores with their online presence. It was interesting to see Snap ARES taking Vertebrae technology and integrating it into websites, allowing brands to offer better immersive experiences on their owned and operated properties. Adobe is pushing deeper into the space with AI focused Project Sunshine, which was previously previewed at Adobe MAX.
An appetite for understanding how 3D platforms are leveraged for product imagery, 3D experiences, and analytics was apparent. The desire to enhance experiences and leverage product visualization as a tool for driving consumers back to store presents several options for brands looking to include 3D and AR in their retail strategy. This makes a lot of sense as discovery starts online. If the buyer does not complete the sale online, then they can continue that experience in-store for a greater experience.
Learning 2: Content Creation is being fueled by AI
65% of Shoptalk attendees found AI to be the most interestng or important topic discussed during the conference. Companies are looking to quickly adapt AI-backed technology to pursue growth through content creation, the acelatrtion of data analysis, and better engagement with consumers. Pinterest is a great example of how AI can be used to boost relevancy scores and personalize content for higher conversions. With the help of AI, creating product-specific images can be done in seconds, whereas it would have taken a whole team of people in the past.
Learning 3: Web3 is driving change across the retail chain.
Web3 technology can help boost supply chain traceability, transparency, intelligence, and automation, mitigating challenges that retailers face in managing their supply chains. Smart contracts and decentralized ledgers can provide end-to-end visibility, automation, and cost savings, benefiting brands and retailers in a myriad of ways.
Steps to Web3
Build 3D representations of your products
Better demand forecasting
Faster product design and on-demand manufacturing, as well as consumer-to-manufacturer abilities
Greater traceability, compliance and circularity
Enhanced labor efficiencies and cost savings
Increased last-mile speed
Overall, it was a great conference that showcased the latest trends and innovations in retail. The use of immersive platforms, AI, and Web3 will undoubtedly shape the future of commerce. As Carolina Arguelles Navas, Global Head of AR Business Strategy at Snap, said, "AR is most used for communication and self-expression; as long as companies focus on those two values, the technology can be a significant asset to marketing and engagement strategies." It's an exciting time to be in the retail industry, and I can't wait to see how these trends develop over the coming years.