4 Key Takeaways From Real Conversations at Shoptalk 2018

In the weeks since Shoptalk 2018 ended, a plethora of articles have been published containing key takeaways from “the world’s largest conference for retail and commerce innovation.” A majority of these articles have focused on summarizing various panels and keynotes, such as this one from Retail Dive, this one from RIS News, and this one from Retail TouchPoints.

But little has been said regarding the real conversations that unfolded on the floor of Shoptalk this year. In many ways, these discussions offer more valuable insights than those gained from official sessions, as they reveal the challenges and opportunities faced by key stakeholders and decision-makers who are in the trenches doing the hard work every day.

Four of our team members attended Shoptalk this year, and they spoke with roughly 40 different CPG brands and retailers. Here’s a quick roundup of the most important things they learned from their conversations.

Stephanie Leffler

Founder & CEO | LinkedIn

“In the last few years, many brands weren’t yet ready to commit a lot of resources to e-commerce. After seeing substantial growth, every CPG I spoke with this year understands the opportunity that exists in e-commerce and is looking for the best way to dive in and execute their strategy.

E-commerce is a data-driven world. Unfortunately, most brands’ content strategies still live in a brick-and-mortar world. Large CPGs struggle to educate brand marketing teams on what is needed to win in e-commerce.

I spent most of my time on the floor engaging with CPGs and showing them how OneSpace can unlock the data they need to make better decisions on how to optimize and promote their products on the digital shelf. Those conversations were among some of the best I’ve had because our solution aligned so well with the challenges CPGs are facing when implementing their e-commerce strategies.”

Erin Steinbruegge

COO | LinkedIn

“To compete on the digital shelf, retailers and brands need to learn to ‘act small,’ adopting some of the principles that have driven innovation and success in technology startups. E-commerce teams need to be armed with data and empowered to approach digital with a growth mindset that embraces rapid testing, iteration and failure as a means of finding the path to success.

The digital shelf is always moving; product content has become a continuous process, not a linear one. The brands that succeed will be nimble enough to adapt content in real time, responding to consumer search behavior and competitive forces across multiple online retailers.”

Sammie Schweissguth

Director, Strategic Accounts | LinkedIn

“Brands are incredibly excited right now. They see so much opportunity in e-commerce, and they are ready to do something about it, especially in the grocery space.

What’s really cool to see is that it’s finally a joint effort between brands and retailers. Brands are committed to supplying better content for retailers, and retailers are also investing in the e-commerce experience for the end consumer. I think we’ll see even steeper acceleration in the digital experience now that both sides are on board and eager to dominate — specifically in grocery and FMCG.

Overall, Shoptalk was the best conference we’ve been to in our eight years as a business. They managed to organize the right people, the right speakers and the right exhibitors. It was a really inspiring environment, as people were highly collaborative and ready to chat about their challenges.

It was particularly exciting for us because we brought something to the table that our prospects have never seen before: consumer search data from Walmart, Jet, Target, etc. Brands were pouring over the data we have that was related to some of their biggest product lines.”

Kevin Vaninger

Business Development Manager | LinkedIn

“The overarching theme of all our conversations is that an e-commerce strategy is no longer optional for CPGs. Brands have accepted this fact and are either hiring digital experts to grow e-commerce teams or looking for experienced partners to help them scale e-commerce execution.

Each brand is also a bit overwhelmed when trying to decide where to start. The people we met with were very receptive to our search data offering, as it is an easy way for them to gain real online shopper intelligence to guide them down the right path.”

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