Fireside Chat is an unscripted round-table between a panel of experts and the audience. The event is a follow up to Walstreet Speaker series and meant to drill down in a subject and provide action oriented solutions helping the supplier community navigate the current retail environment.
The Fireside Chat held on Tuesday, December 12, hosted by Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce featured Dirk Herdes, Vice President – Retail Services at Neilsen and Paul Cantrell, Global Team Leader at NPD Group. The topic: Insights and Trends – How to Win With Today’s and Tomorrow’s Shoppers. Moderating the Fireside Chat was Alex Patterson, U.S. Head of Shopper Marketing Sales at What’s Ahead and Scott Benedict, Founder Benedict & Associates, LLC Retail Consulting Firm.
Trends in retail are quickly evolving. Current mega-trends include Health and Wellness, Private Brands, and a rapid paced ever-changing eCommerce and ‘Omni-Retail’ environment. Walmart year-over-year in-store sales are flat, but through investment and focus on eCommerce, the space increased 60%, Walmart is winning. The results show in Walmart stock price, up year-to-date well over 40%. Consumers are focusing on healthy living. Health and wellness is a big a category for Walmart U.S., generating more than $32.82 billion in sales in fiscal 2016 and rising more than $1.14 billion from the previous year. 2017 the trend continued and few expect to see a slowdown in 2018.
Private Label Growth is exploding, as consumers, especially millennial and Generation Z, are not as brand loyal as their elders. Retailers have taken action and private labels are booming alongside the trend. Creating superior aesthetics including label makeovers, in-store and online merchandising upgrades, and being mindful of superb content on item pages make the space more attractive to potential customers.
eCommerce is not a trend. At the first Fireside Chat, earlier this year titled, “The Internet is Real” focused on shoppers being able to get what they want, when they want, delivered how they want it. The massive investment from retailers in eCommerce is not due to a trend, but rather a lifestyle. As conversational commerce and voice optimization are now ‘a thing’, manufacturers and suppliers are turning to 3rd party experts for help optimizing item detail pages, enhanced asset creation, such as authentic videos, creative images, and expanding the item page to include more SEO and empowering Omni-Shopper information they want and need to make an educated decision to purchase a product, or not.
First movers, like electronics, and bulky staples, say, 50lb dog food have realized the benefits of investment in eCommerce. Best in-class seems to top out at around 30% eCommerce and 70% in-store. In reality, analytics in-store vs. online are no longer relevant. Some statistics show up to 70% of all sales are directly impacted by digital content. Most shoppers are web-brooming or searching online and purchasing in-store. Walmart Stores has legally changed their name to Walmart aligning the retail brand to it’s newfound Omni-Retail capabilities.
So, what’s next? Will Amazon Echo and Google Home be a staple in every household and free for the consumer? It’s evident SEO is key and impeccable content creation, guiding conversational commerce. Those getting it right will take market share, whilst suppliers late to the game, shoppers will have to override the mediums search rank to purchase their products, convenience and simplicity is key. There is no one size fits all when manufacturers and suppliers adapt to these trends. It’s not a one and done process, but rather continuous improvement providing shoppers a seamless shopping experience, both in-store and online.
For those doing it right, the result, so far, has been increased sales, with speed.