Industry Leaders From eBay, ALDO & More Share The Big Changes Coming To Shopping

To delve a little deeper into all of the changes we, as shoppers, can expect in the future, we chatted with five industry leaders. From CEOs to directors, each industry leader will also be speaking at Dx3, Canada’s largest retail, marketing, and tech conference, in Toronto at the Metro Convention Centre on March 6 and 7. 

Amid what some in the industry are calling the “retail apocalypse,” we’ve seen the demise of many once-popular stores and long-time retailers. Many attribute the closures to an inability to evolve and keep up with the ever-growing competition — if there’s one thing for certain in retail, it’s that change is constant.

But on the other end of the spectrum, brands and retailers that are able to quickly adapt to the changes are doing better than ever before. They are overcoming obstacles and finding new and innovative ways to engage with audiences, something that grows in importance each and every year. In addition, thriving retailers are taking advantage of new technologies and using them in ways we’ve never seen before.

dx3 retail trends
Facebook/Dx3 Canada

To delve a little deeper into all of the changes we, as shoppers, can expect in the future, we chatted with five industry leaders. From CEOs to directors, each industry leader will also be speaking at Dx3, Canada’s largest retail, marketing, and tech conference, in Toronto at the Metro Convention Centre on March 6 and 7.

Until then, take a peek at their insight into big retail trends we’ll see when shopping below.

Rob Bigler, COO, eBay Canada

dx3 retail trends

What do you think is the most disruptive retail trend we can expect to see in 2019?  

I see a continuation of disruptions that have already begun — such as more personalized media, great customer service, and continued growth of online marketplaces and platforms. To remain competitive, retailers need an omnichannel business model, which should include the broad reach of a global marketplace like eBay.

What change/innovation do you think has had the biggest influence on how people shop in recent years?  

I think we will continue to see the adoption of e-commerce as the Canadian retail landscape shifts to better suit consumer needs — think convenience, personalization and ease. Artificial intelligence has truly enabled personalized and unique shopping experiences from emails to websites, apps, ads, news stories and even in-store experiences. Everything customers are exposed to is increasingly personalized, which has ultimately driven conversion for those who do it well.

Where do you see retail going in 5 years? 10 years?

The role of e-commerce will continue to evolve as retailers adopt an omnichannel retail model. Whether searching for something specific or just looking for inspiration, shoppers today want their online retail experience to reflect who they are, how they live, and what they’re into. The future of shopping is dependent on the ability to shop across multiple devices and experiences, we need to simply provide more options to our customers. Traditional retailers will need to blend the practical and the aspirational by integrating technology with human connection. There is a time and place for both traditional and online retail – by serving consumers with a personalized experience, in person or online, the better equipped we are to serve our increasingly global-minded and tech savvy customers.

Steve Desjarlais, CEO, Heyday.ai

dx3 retail trends

What do you think is the most disruptive retail trend we can expect to see in 2019? 

At Heyday.ai, we believe 3 seismic trends are currently colliding to disrupt retail: the ubiquity of mobile commerce, the popularity of messaging apps and the emergence of virtual customer assistants (voice assistants & text-based chatbots). But the true underlying shift resides at the intersection of these 3 trends. The very definition of “The Retail Store” has changed and expanded beyond its four walls. Your store physical and digital stores should be seen as one unified experience. Messaging, social media, AI assistants: these are all new doors to your store — or new storefronts — and they need to be integrated in a more holistic, omnichannel strategy.

What change/innovation do you think has had the biggest influence on how people shop in recent years? 

Mobile is definitely the cornerstone of omnichannel shopping. The instant gratification that mobile phones has accustomed us to is also driving ever-increasing customer expectations driven by speed, ease, convenience, personalization, and 24/7 availability. In a mobile-first world, retailers must adopt a “just-in-time” mindset not just in terms of inventory but also in terms of communication and customer experience/service. Every customer expects a VIP service and Conversational AI platforms like Heyday.ai can help deliver an elevated level of shopping experience at scale.

Where do you see retail going in 5 years? 10 years? 

Shopping will become ambient. We’ll no longer talk about omnichannel, we’ll talk about omnipresence. Customers will never be not shopping. Whether they are on their phone, in their home or in their car, they will leverage brands’ virtual customer assistants as their go-to personal advisors or butlers. Retail brands that focus on providing on-demand utility and service will win the game of personalization. The future of retail is seamless, personalized, and AI-powered.

Michael VanCEO & Co-FounderFurnishr

dx3 retail trends

What do you think is the most disruptive retail trend we can expect to see in 2019?

I’m excited to see the integration of technology in retail. Retailers in both Canada and the U.S. are trying to see how technology can help whether it’s artificial intelligence, augmented reality, or facial recognition.

What change/innovation do you think has had the biggest influence on how people shop in recent years?

The biggest innovation I think is artificial intelligence. It’s pretty powerful when an algorithm figures out your style, your buying patterns — essentially knowing you better than you know yourself. This has simplified the shopping experience and it will only improve over time.

Where do you see retail going in 5 years? 10 years? 

I see a reverse in trend of big box stores to more boutique, experiential type of retail stores. As millennials increase their purchasing power, experiences are going to really impact whether someone purchases a product or not. And the point of purchase won’t be at the store but virtually.

I’ll expect robotics to play a huge part in retail. From how we shop for groceries (robotics are already being used in Japan), to cashless payment with the AmazonGo stores. Sales reps will be utilized in other ways versus how they are currently being used.

Justin Cohen, Senior Director of E-Commerce, ALDO Group

dx3 retail trends

What do you think is the most disruptive retail trend we can expect to see in 2019? 

The deepening and redefinition of “personalization” — I believe we will see continued customization of marketing programs, products, and store experiences, but at an accelerated rate. Personalization will no longer simply be based on predictive technology that sends a behaviour triggered email, or delivers a website experience based on geography, that evolves as a shopper clicks around. It will, rather, start to mean a more seamless integration of technology to in-store experiences through mobile applications which enable a more tailored 1:1 dialogue with a brand.  

What change/innovation do you think has had the biggest influence on how people shop in recent years? 

It has undoubtedly been the impact of mobile. Everything from the way consumers shop, browse, interact with a brand has been fundamentally changed with improvements in processing speeds. This change is going to continue and it’s going to force companies to continue to evolve how they design experiences and integrate personal devices in those design decisions (physical and digital). 

Where do you see retail going in 5 years? 10 years? 

I think we are going to see the emergence of new store concepts. Physical store models will continue to evolvewith enhanced features and experiences. I imagine that we will continue to see the proliferation of omnichannel experiences in companies who are working on their data-foundations right now. I equally believe that we will see a dramatic shift in how retailers close the last-mile gap, and delivery will continue to become faster and and cheaper. eCommerce’s share of retail sales will continue to rise, but at a slowing rate, and will potentially have flattened in 10 years from now.

Alyssa Kerbel, President, mini mioche

dx3 retail trends

What do you think is the most disruptive retail trend we can expect to see in 2019?  

I think the continued increases in urban retail rents will mean more stores will close. The downside for this being that people will lose that experiential connection with a brand, as that sale will likely transition to an online transaction.  I think the landscape of the shopping mall will also continue to change. The mall experience continues to be become more national brand focused, thus it is not as exciting of a shopping experience as it was even 10 years ago. More malls will likely move to a mixed-use model in order to maximize revenue for their real estate.  

What change/innovation do you think has had the biggest influence on how people shop in recent years?  

Definitely the convenience of shopping anywhere/anytime online has had a huge impact on how people now shop. I think with advancements in technology, we will continue to see the online experience improve where better visuals and more useful information on a product will allow for less uncertainty when making an online purchase. I think online reviews from credible sources (real people) will also continue to drive purchase behaviour.

Where do you see retail going in 5 years? 10 years? 

I think we’ll see companies implementing a strategy that combines a focus on digital/online with a strategic, and purposeful brick and mortar experience. Whether it be purposefully placed retail locations, pop-ups, mobile shops, or other — successful retail is becoming more and more about connection, community and how you can add value to your customer’s life.

Featured image: Facebook/Dx3 Canada

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