Eight observations from NRF 2022 by Olivier Vigneaux, CEO of BETC Fullsix:
#1: Supply chain & inflation are the major challenges ahead for 2022
The general context is one of constraint: post pandemic supply problems are significant, now combined with the inflationary trend in prices. Not to mention the new lifestyles of workers who not only tend to become a more volatile workforce but also go less than before to the stores, with their new remote working habits.
#2: E-commerce is already a word of the past
With the digitalization accelerated by the pandemic, we are resolutely in the era of ambient commerce: buying must be possible all the time, from everywhere, from TikTok or an app, by scanning a QR code on a poster or via a Live Shopping session.
It will no longer be a question of ON or OFF line but that everything will converge around the customer, considering that the absolute choice of the channel and the moment or the mode of purchase definitely belongs to him.
#3: The more omnichannel it becomes, the more retail needs to think like a brand
Being present everywhere, all the time, seamlessly, obviously raises new and exciting questions from an experience perspective.
Being everywhere means asking the question of what distinguishes the brand at all points of contact.
"Don't optimise every touchpoint, create a consistent experience", said Corrie Barry, CEO of Best Buy
#4: The year live commerce becomes mainstream
After China, it should gradually gain the rest of the world. It is highly anticipated in the US.
For a retailer, succeeding in live commerce consists in finding the right cast of people. In the exercise of live, it is necessary to succeed in the subtle mixture between the expression of the codes of the brand (by definition controlled, standardised) and the naturalness, the authenticity, the spontaneity of the sale in live. Showing your imperfection in a very unique way. That's the question.
It's a matter of talent. The hunt for salespeople who know how to skillfully embody the spirit of a brand, as well as the definition of the right guidelines to help them do so, could well become one of the new headaches for retailers…
#5: The brand as experience
This sense of customer care is no longer a question for the "CRM or CX team," it's a core brand attribute that makes a difference.
"Customer experience drives loyalty" said Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy, the e-retailer specialised in pets, one of the great business successes of the pandemic.
A great sense of caring and openness to close collaboration with partners in its ecosystem are two keys to defining the new retail brand that has become experiential.
#6: The physical store is not dead, but it must continue to justify its raison d’être
The post Covid world is here to stay, that home office is here to stay and that it is changing our relationship with physical stores.
From Foxtrot in Chicago to Choice in Detroit, the convenience store is reinventing itself, offering a short assortment of products that are renewed on a regular basis, delivering the freshest products, giving people the desire to make discoveries while offering a hospitable, human shopping experience.
Convenience can also mean giving people the opportunity to make their lives easier via "shops in the shop".
#7: Justify the trip to the store by offering a strong cultural experience
The other way to create a meaningful physical experience is to justify the trip to the store by becoming a place of attraction, of highly desirable entertainment.
An innovative technology, which enriches the experience, but also an essential role left to humans, those who give life to the experience. The care given to the training of the teams of these emblematic stores is visible. A sense of welcome, an offer to accompany you on your purchases, or simply to take a photo of you to keep a souvenir. An approach that matches that of the hospitality world.
#8: Extending the domain of experience into metaverses
Will commerce move towards these 3D universes in a significant and sustainable way?
For the moment, in terms of retail, the initiatives are still experiments.
Interestingly, it is also for these brands, the opportunity to offer more affordable products. A great strategy for recruiting and building relationships with younger targets who will become the big luxury buyers of tomorrow.
#9: Retail has a sustainability and inclusivity responsibility
The retail industry is one of the largest private employers. Customers increasingly recognize the impact of retail on the world - ecologically, socially, on inclusion etc. - and expect tangible signs of this recognition.
Retailers defending a selection of products from "BIPOC and female led" companies are multiplying. Assuming a political dimension.