Canada: Retail without boundaries a key topic at digital summit
The future of all commerce, not just ecommerce, was on display at Shop.org Retail’s Digital Summit in Dallas last week.
According to several of the keynote and session speakers, we will soon be using contact lenses to buy groceries and research new cars, drones will fill the air while fulfilling deliveries and marketers will know what you want before you do.
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Michio Kaku, author and co-founder of String Field Theory, who was interviewed by comedian Marc Maron (pictured), painted a very positive picture of retail’s future that includes always-on internet (great for marketing), any channel delivery (including special skyways for drones) and data focused customer engagement. He also suggested that this is leading to “perfect capitalism,” which uses targeted marketing to know precisely how to reach the customers so supply will precisely match demand.
“In the near future, chips will cost a penny. So intelligence will be everywhere. Retailers must therefore be like surfers, always looking for the next wave and willing to ride it. If you resist the wave, you might wipe out. Better to ride the wave to riches. This means constantly being on top of new trends, since computer power doubles every 18 months,” he explained.
Kaku did add that there is some downside to this future – privacy will be an issue that will need to be addressed. The internet continues to be too porous a platform that is fairly easily hacked – just ask Yahoo and the 500 million users whose personal data was leaked. Here too there may be good news as retailers and others (the CIA and big banks) are creating a more secure second internet that will be hacker-proof.
Mindy Goodman, CEO of HSNi, the online version of Home Shopping Network, suggested that in the future successful retailers will focus less on attracting customers to their own points of sale and more on meeting them wherever, whenever and however they want to engage.
Grossman cited the proliferation of the “buy button” across all devices, social networks, media channels and creative partnerships as the main driver of this shift, which will lead to the next level of growth for retailers.
“It’s all about distributed commerce – a strategy that allows consumers to buy anything, anywhere at any time,” Grossman said, adding that the new experiential retail is based on data analytics from diverse sources including traditional transaction logs, social media and surveys.
On the exhibit floor there were more than 200 companies sharing their latest innovations for ecommerce and shopper engagement. Canada Post, exhibiting for the third year, was highlighting the ways it is helping retailers fulfill orders wherever and whenever the customer wants. This includes home and office delivery as well as arranging for pick-ups at Canada Post locations.
“Times have changed and people want more convenience in their shopping than they used to. We see the future of retail as a combination of channels, including an increase in locally sourced product delivered directly to the home or office by third parties like us,” said Andy Sampogna, marketing manager for Canada Post.
Source: Canadian Grocer
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