Going into Shoptalk 2022, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the crowds return to a large event in Las Vegas?

The answer was an astounding yes. In fact, this year’s shows broke pre-pandemic attendance records. Called “Retail’s Big Reunion”, Shoptalk hosted over 10,000 attendees across 48 countries, 650 sponsors and exhibitors, and almost 300 speakers.

Reflecting on the event itself and the conversations we’ve had with other attendees afterward, I gleaned several standout themes. Not surprisingly, some of the most interesting conversations happened in the hallways or during planned meetings, beyond the insightful sessions.

CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)

The underlying theme — throughout sessions and keynotes, on the exhibitor floor, and in the hallways — was increasing customer lifetime value (CLV). From last-mile delivery platforms (Instacart, DoorDash, Uber) to category-focused retailers (Lowes, Best Buy) to mass retailers (Costco, Target) to digital marketplaces (Etsy, eBay, Amazon), every business is focused on acquiring customers and driving their spending once engaged. Further, there were numerous exhibitors and track talks on the concept of personalization as an enabler for providing customers with relevant experiences throughout their shopping journey.

Naturally, that led to discussions about how to leverage their first-party data in building deeper customer relationships. As with all data, garbage in will result in garbage out. Only those who can acquire, process, and use their first-party data in smart, algorithmic, and privacy-preserving ways will be able to deploy its insights at scale across the consumer funnel to best engage its customers to uplift their lifetime value.

Insights on Retail Media

Retail media was one of the hot topics at Shoptalk. According to BCG, retail media is changing retail and leading retailers are using it as a competitive advantage to take a big slice at the $100B market opportunity. However it was also surprising to see that it was also a concept still being widely misunderstood, equating it with banner and upper-funnel display ads. But retailers like Amazon and Walmart are proving that it is a highly effective way to engage and convert shoppers across the purchase funnel. For example, Insider Intelligence reported that 72.8% of Amazon search conversions happen within 2 hours of the sponsored search ad exposure, while 71.6% of OTT ad conversions happen outside of a 3-day attribution window.

Last-mile retailers like UberEats and Instacart are leaning into their ad businesses because of their scale and high margins. UberEats is already outperforming its Rides business, and Instacart’s ad revenue will likely surpass its grocery revenue. That’s pretty amazing!

Online retailers in all categories have their sights set on retail media, and are experimenting with ways to implement a winning strategy that can help them increase profitability while preserving the core buyer experiences. They want to understand and gain actionable insights from their data, and determine how retail media programs perform and contribute to CLV.

Hence solutions like Moloco Retail Media Platform are increasingly discussed because they help retailers enable important attributes of retail media networks that advertisers are looking for (e.g., advertising relevance, ROAS, off-site targeting ability), at scale and with automation enabled through machine learning and self-serve experiences. With a platform like Moloco, retailers — and their merchants — can tap into the data they need to deliver relevant, timely ads, and supercharge their businesses in the long run.

However, many retailers have just begun thinking about retail media and lack the massive Amazon- and Walmart-like resources to build their own ad business. That means an opportunity to partner with platforms that can provide both technology and guidance on operating a retail media business.

Shoptalk_keynote

Other Themes

Even though I had my ear on retail media, I also discovered other significant themes, like the metaverse. But the prevailing sentiment from the audience was confusion about what the term means for commerce. 

Omnichannel was another highlight, as people are returning to shopping at brick-and-mortar locations. Many big-brand retailers came to share the success of their in-store digital experience initiatives and combined mobile and in-store experiences.

While the focus was largely on US retailers, Shoptalk featured notable companies around the world, including ByteDance, who is leveraging TikTok’s live streaming as a customer acquisition tool for retailers and consumer brands. Some US retailers have taken notice and are using sales associates, and both established and amateur celebrities as influencers in live stream content.

Overall Takeaways

The Moloco team took the opportunity to meet customers and engage in compelling conversations with organizations across the retail ecosystem. We came away especially inspired by the growing interest in retail media and the role of first-party data in boosting CLV. There is much to be done to enable retailers of all sizes to set up and scale retail media business that can further accelerate their growth through incremental revenue, higher profitability, and relevant customer experiences.

Interested in Retail Media? Contact us to learn more about Moloco Retail Media Platform.