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Shoptalk Europe Recap: Retail Faces Its Future with Innovation and New Strategies

Billed as “Europe’s greatest retail show,” Shoptalk Europe 2022 certainly lived up to the hype. With 3,000 attendees and more than 200 speakers from the biggest names in retail, this event brought the industry together for three days of innovation at the ExCel London exposition center.

ModSquad’s VP, Sales Clive Jefferies was there, representing the company and gaining insights into the latest in the retail space. We caught up with Clive at his home office to get the download about this whirlwind event.

How was it getting back to the world of major industry expos in London?

It proved to be a very interesting time, and went by very quickly. Despite falling on the back of the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, the travails created by the Monday Tube strike, and the ever present (but diminishing) COVID pandemic, the crowds turned up at ExCeL London in droves.

What were some of the standouts in the exhibition hall?

I hadn’t been to a Shoptalk event since the early days of the conference, and it has certainly grown in that time. As I had predicted, the technology exhibitors in the hall were making big pushes for the innovations they’re betting on.

I was taken by Snapchat’s gallery mirror. It’s an AR device that shows you what a product would look like on you, such as a pair of sunglasses or handbag. To see this tech in action was really quite impressive. I could see this being very effective as it’s rolled out for wider use.

Amazon’s in-store Go solution was also a big draw. You download their app before shopping; in their brick-and-mortar location, simply scan the app as you enter, grab the products you want, and leave. Your account is automatically charged. Much has been written about this process, and Amazon is bound and determined to make it a widespread reality, based on the many tools and tricks they have to both reduce friction in purchasing and analyze the voluminous data that will help hone the experience.

Tell us your takeaways from the presentations at Shoptalk Europe.

First, it was gratifying to hear the majority of retailers talking about their customer communities. It really was an affirmation of the ModSquad ethos; we’ve long said that customers shall talk about you and to you as a brand, wherever they like, so you should not only be prepared for that, but you should welcome it.

Overall, I found the conference tracks to be varied and informative. A discussion concerning sustainability in the retail sector offered the staggering statistic that 40% of emissions in Europe come from the retail sector value chain. Many companies have attempted to reduce this figure through the use of loose product sales (e.g., fill your own bag with rice). But there is obviously so much more that needs to be done.

Another attention-grabbing dialogue floated the idea that ecommerce pure-play is not necessarily the way to go; given the amount of retail space now sitting empty after the pandemic, the time seems right for virtual storefronts to expand into the real world (with Amazon cited as a perfect example). Watch this space.

Speaking of which, how did the events of the past two years affect the overall dialogues that were taking place, either on the convention center floor or in the presentations?

I have to say, running through much of the week’s conversations was the uncertainty about how all of the component parts of the retail value chain would change in the next five years. From production to storefront, the options are steadily expanding. So much so that many previously non-retail players are entering the field ready to shake up the status quo. Whether the emperor indeed has no clothes remains to be seen.

Fortunately, ModSquad is well-placed to handle these uncertain times, if I may give an unabashed plug. The flexibility that we can provide supports the unknown. Whether it’s shifts in technology or strategy, we move nimbly with the changes. And we do it all using the most sustainable business model in the outsourcing world — the Mods.

Want to learn more about ModSquad’s unparalleled CX offerings? Give us a call today.

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