Day two at ShopTalk hit on a number of key buzzy commerce topics, many of which are also focal points for Demandware including the obliteration of the distinction between online and offline retail.

In addition to observations I shared yesterday, a few additional topics were emphasized yesterday:

  • The demise of the pure play retail. Many of the brands and retailers formerly known as pure plays have shed that title, and business model, as they realize that online and offline channels are really artificial distinctions standing between shoppers and their desired shopping experience. Two examples: Mattress company Casper and beauty company Birchbox cited their pop up shops as a part of a new commerce mix that yields significant insight into what drives shopper behavior.
  • Artificial intelligence is the new big data. The agenda also shone the light on the role of artificial intelligence in retail. The premise has graduated, though. Alongside predictive modeling and machine learning, retailers can capitalize on a deeper view of shopper context. This context is both implied through location and identity, but also explicit via shopper-supplied natural language querying that can be more clearly processed to deliver a deeper and smarter result.

Demandware is investing heavily in machine learning and Predictive Intelligence. Read this Skis.com case study on Predictive Recommendations and this Avenue Stores case study on Predictive Email to learn how these retailers are growing sales.

  • Mission-focused brands win with authenticity. In today’s digital immersed (some might say obsessed) culture, brand messaging is more clearly on display. This has pushed brands to more clearly articulate their mission and live it through their products. Case in point: The Honest Company yesterday described their target customer simply as ‘mommies that love their babies.’ While somewhat tongue in cheek, the no-nuance, no-nonsense message can be lived by the brand and carried on by fans (via social or real-world networks.

The message is clear for brands. There are more tools and tactics available to engage shoppers wherever they are and more efficiently and effectively connect those shoppers with your products. This connection, though, stands on the foundation of a clear and authentic brand mission.