LIVE from Shoptalk Las Vegas

The True team is back from Shoptalk Las Vegas after a packed week of insightful panel discussions, meetings with brands and technology businesses, as well as connecting with our US corporate partners. Our Innovation Principal, Jamie Campbell, explores this year's major themes.

LIVE from Shoptalk Las Vegas

Jamie Campbell / Events / 25 Mar 2024

Thoughts on day one

The definition of ‘exceptional retail’ is constantly evolving but ultimately, if you want to tell your friends about a brand then they are getting something right. Lauren Morr from our partner, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. spoke about how important the marriage of good data, potent insights and really knowing & listening to its customers has been in helping A&F to a record year in 2023.

Brand collaborations are no joke. Heidi Cooley (Crocs), Winnie Park (Forever 21) and Scott Mezvinsky (Taco Bell) were in unanimous agreement that authenticity and being unafraid to fail have been the core pillars of their brands’ resurgence in the last few years – in Winnie’s words, she wants her team to F it up!

Adoption plans for AI initiatives are as important (if not more important) than the tech itself. It doesn’t matter if you make an incredibly intelligent AI-powered app for your store associates if you don’t collaborate with them to build it and make it easy to adopt.

Thoughts on day two

Delivery should be seen as an opportunity to increase customer lifetime value. Itamar Zur from Veho showed how his company is helping reimagine the last mile with deeper engagement and personalisation of delivery and returns. Our CCO and Innovation Director, Mike Tattersall moderated the panel on fulfilment and delivery technologies and it was packed full of insight from Dropit, Gather AI, and Veho – so much so that it ran over time!

Loyalty tech is on the rise again – with inflated customer acquisition costs becoming the new normal, brands are rethinking their loyalty offering to sweat their existing customers.

Tech teams spend more time than they need to on solving bugs. I caught up with Kailin Noivo and the team at Noibu and heard about how they are helping brands get their ecommerce house in order with the automation of bug detection and fixes. Impressive tech that is already generating value for our portfolio company Ribble Cycles.

Thoughts on days three and four

Returns technologies are evolving and both consumers and brands alike will benefit. I caught up with the team from Loop which brings together an end-to-end returns management system on the back-end and an intuitive consumer-facing front-end to drive an average 30% reduction in returns for its clients. At True we have always felt that peer-to-peer returns offer a huge opportunity but presents its own set of complex problems. I had a great conversation with Bailey N. on this and was excited to hear about how his company Frate Returns has started to solve some of these problems…

There is a creative reappraisal of video underway and where commerce meets culture, video is king:
- Products are just as likely to be found in your social video feed as on shelves in-store and so it is an important channel for discovery.
- The feed is already highly personalised and so it is a valuable vehicle to drive the product choice and purchase journey.
- There is a new generation of shoppers whose habits are still being formed…video will be as important to them as ecommerce was to the generations before.
- Brands should revaluate the KPIs used to judge success. Attributable revenue is important but it’s the wrong metric, instead look at intent to engage and intent to purchase.

There is an army of creators who love your brand already out there. Tapping into these communities in an authentic way is necessary to unlock scale – even Walmart doesn’t have a big enough marketing team to meet the demand for commerce-enabled video content.  Developing authentic creator-led content at scale will become a core competency of leading brands in the future.

The final content track we attended was on a subject that resonated with us – driving innovation in large organisations. Neil Reynolds from Mars Wrigley majored on the human element of innovation and the joy he finds in bringing a ‘detractor’ around to the vision the team is trying to achieve.

At True, we spend lots of time understanding the motivations that are driving every stakeholder we engage with so that everything we do with our Partners is hyper-focused on achieving the things that matter most. We work with businesses all shapes and sizes – from high-growth early-stage brands through to the market leaders of our industry – and acknowledging that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to innovation is central to the way we create value.