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Retail Insights From Shoptalk 2019

Writing for Forbes, retail analyst Greg Petro dives into a few of his key takeaways from Shoptalk, an annual retail conference that highlights industry trends, technology and business models.

Artificial intelligence is getting smarter.

Petro says one of the dominant themes of March’s Shoptalk event was the role artificial intelligence (AI) is playing in retail.

Artificial intelligence goes hand in hand with data analytics, according to Petro’s article.

“Retailers need to learn to utilize AI and data analytics to improve customer service by anticipating behavior and allowing the data to come to life to impact the customer on an emotional level to drive business,” he writes.

Retailers must be careful with customer data.

Petro notes that it’s not enough to simply collect data on customers; successful retailers will use the information to leverage more personal connections with shoppers through marketing and enhanced customer experiences.

But it’s important to ensure your customer data is secure, he says. He cites research that estimates that 75 percent of businesses will suffer a data breach at some point. Retailers should stay up to date on changing data regulations to protect their operations legally, Petro says.

Brick and mortar has a solid foundation.

According to data presented at Shoptalk 2019, foot traffic is still crucial for overall retail success.

“Achieving conversions requires flawless execution and access to the right product at all points, whether online or in store,” Petro writes. He notes that some businesses are finding success by using their physical retail space to connect personally with customers, facilitate returns and offer in-store pickup options.

About Todd Taber

Todd is trends editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017.

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