Shoptalk 2023 Recap: Key Themes and Takeaways

See what our experts said about the event and the future of retail.

Concord’s retail experts gathered in Las Vegas to attend Shoptalk 2023, an annual conference that brings together retail leaders and innovators to network and discuss the latest trends, technologies, and strategies shaping the industry’s future.

If you couldn’t attend the event, our team shared the key themes and learnings from the show’s floor.

Investing in the Supply Chain

The past year has refocused attention on efficiency as the key to retail success. Leading brands and retailers are rethinking their supply chains and investing in the skillsets and technologies that make them more flexible and adaptable. Advances in AI and automation are moving the needle for retailers in terms of reducing costs, increasing productivity, and improving operations. Automation solutions in stores, warehouses, and the back office are helping companies unlock efficiencies and deliver a better customer experience while also enabling workers to do more fulfilling tasks.

Almost every organization is also looking for ways to leverage their first-party data to better serve their customers. Holly Hill, Senior Director of Enterprise Growth at Concord, highlighted the importance of sharing data across the supply chain to help suppliers improve their products and performance.

“The global challenges facing us, like lingering supply chain disruptions, require data-driven insights to make the best business decisions to survive and thrive,” Holly said. “Digital transformation therefore needs to include a true omnichannel approach that leverages microservices architecture and tests, analyzes, and optimizes every step in the consumer’s journey.”

Power of Personalization

Personalization is key to creating a customized shopping experience for consumers. During Shoptalk 2023, retailers discussed how they plan to leverage first-party data and generative AI to provide personalized product recommendations, marketing messages, and promotions.

In addition, consumers are becoming more cautious in the face of economic uncertainty. JM Guthrie, Chief Customer Officer of Authentic, a Concord company, noted that implementing personalization strategies and technologies across the shopping journey can help organizations grab consumers’ attention and increase engagement, which ultimately drives higher conversions and loyalty.

“With the shift in customer spending, never has there been a more important time for merchants to deliver in-context experiences and relevant products to drive wallet share,” JM said.

Retailers should conduct research to determine the personalization strategies that best align with their brand identity and customers. Customers are open to sharing their data with businesses, but only if they use it to truly enhance and build a seamless shopping experience. To achieve this, retailers must combine high-quality, accurate data with a data team that understands complex systems and can find new solutions. 

Future of Retail Stores

Despite the growth of ecommerce, physical retail stores continue to play a crucial role in the retail industry. However, the role of physical stores is changing. Many retailers are now focused on striking a balance between providing inspiration and ease. Consumers shopping in stores today seek two contrasting types of experiences—some wish to discover new products at a leisurely pace, while others seek to purchase and leave as quickly as possible. Retailers are implementing new store formats, experiences, and services better serve these contrasting desires and expectations.  

Retailers are also looking to unlock the power of store associates. As the industry continues to feel the impact of labor shortages, brands are adopting new approaches to management and investing in technologies that empower and increase the productivity of their employees. The role of a sales associate is now redefined—retailers who put employees at the front lines of digital transformation are streamlining workflows, driving customers engagement, evolving skill sets, and increasing labor retention.

If you’re interested in learning how your business can benefit from the key themes and issues discussed at ShopTalk 2023, contact Concord.

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