Innovation and technology are common themes…but limited appetite for risk exists.

  • A common theme so far amongst retailers has been around better understanding their customer, building innovation for them and then becoming nimble as an organization going forward. That said, in talking to several service providers with unique offerings a common theme has been a limited appetite from customers (retailers) to pull the trigger on new services until other retailers have purchased first. The “fast-follower” concepts makes sense from a buyer perspective to limit risk, but this will not lead to success. As technological progression accelerates it will be even more critical to have a clear company strategy around service and technology partnerships that enhance some part of the value chain to take calculated risks and stay ahead of competitors.

A bifurcation is occurring between low-end and high-end value proposition providers.

  • One of the highlights of the day was hearing Deloitte’s Christina Bieniek double-click on their latest research entitled “The Great Retail Bifurcation.” Essentially, the overall income gap continues to widen in the United States and winners in retail are ones that serve one end or the other – the ones in the middle are getting squeezed. As speaker Matt Fassier of Goldman Sachs summed it up: “Successful retailers of the future will need to operate either as an optimized logistics machine or an optimized showroom” It’s become more important than ever for retailers to understand their customer value proposition and organize their people, processes, and technologies around it.

Facebook is generating a lot of buzz due to current events but it’s clear that retailers and brands will continue to lean heavily on the company to market to customers.

  • VP of Marketing at Facebook, Carolyn Everson, had the unenviable task of taking the stage in light of the current events surrounding Cambridge Analytica. After addressing the breach, though, she discussed the three new ad products Facebook launched this week for retailers. It’s clear Facebook is critical to retailers’ digital marketing going forward and, as Ms. Everson said, “mobile is the biggest revolution in digital yet.”

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