HUB Institute sheds light on why the future of retail is bright

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With the new year less than two months underway, there is no telling how the retail industry will shape up in 2015.  

Thanks to experts based in Paris and London who recently shared their predictions for the new year at the HUB Institute’s Future of Retail conference in Paris on February 5, a clearer picture of what in being developed in the ecommerce sector has emerged.

Incumbent Innovations

The theme of this year’s Future of Retail (which used the Institute’s usual #HUBDAY hashtag and ended up as the second-highest trending topic on Twitter in France for the day) was the need for retailers to innovate order to keep up with the digital pace. The official tagline of the conference was “Test & Learn or Wait & See” and the audience was provided many examples to encourage them to do the former.

MyLuxuryWorld Co-founder Pamela Wolf, a Paris-based luxury retail consultant from the United States (a booming ecommerce market analyzed on the Lengow Blog in November 2014), followed up her Future of Retail 2014 speech with new statistics on luxury shoppers and their strong preference for mobile devices.

In addition to several other telling figures, included in the photo below, she pointed out that 33% of luxury shoppers use mobile devices (a topic explored last month on the Lengow Blog here and here). With IMRG and CapGemini announcing today that mobile shopping accounted for 40 percent of all retail sales in the UK between November 2014 and January 2015 (see the report at http://bit.ly/CapgemIMRG15), it appears that the amount of mobile shoppers will only continue to grow going forward.

However, Wolf reminded those who are creating digital marketing plans for brands about the importance of not getting get distracted from the bottom line (ROI) when they invest time in online strategies.

“I think that (sometimes) “digital” people get so caught up in the shiniest new toy that they lose focus on real business,” said Wolf, whose entire Future of Retail presentation is available on YouTube and below.

Wolf also predicted the continued emergence of mobile scanning apps that speed up wait times for in-store shoppers and reminded retailers not to lose focus on the one thing that matters most to shoppers: excellent customer service offline and online.

Appreciative Audience

Lengow’s France Country Manager Adeline Follea was one of the many audience members (in the room and online via a live-stream) who was captivated by the interesting speakers on stage. But she also appreciated other aspects of the event.

“Future of Retail was a rare opportunity to discover the innovations happening in online retail from the perspective of those at the center of these changes. And it also was a great chance for me to interact with Lengow’s clients; some were attending,” said Follea.

The impressive speaker lineup was definitely a huge reason why the conference was a Trending Topic among French Twitter users. Some of the highlights of Future of Retail included presentations by Lengow client Auchan and digital agency Change as well as Rocket Fuel’s France Managing Director Eric Clemenceau’s insight on the role data management can play in retail.

HUB Institute Co-Founder Emmanuel Vivier also shared an exclusive overview of retail innovation he encountered at the 2015 National Retail Federation Big Show in New York City last month.

The conference started off on a high note thanks to a comprehensive review of the growth of the European online retail market thanks to Ecommerce Europe VP Marc Lolivier (who was featured on the Lengow Blog earlier this month).

Veteran online retail thought leader Sandrine Decorde also unveiled five 2015 trends for ecommerce, including retailers starting to take advantage of real-time data found by CRM specialists like the Paris startup Tiny Clues in order to personalize offers.

Pinterest’s France Country Manager Stéphanie Tramicheck even graced the stage to share some best practices for retailers who want to reach any of the fast-growing social media network’s 40 million active users. With the recent talks of a “Buy” button being added to Pinterest this year, it looks like 2015 could be the year where shoppers and brands can get even closer thanks to social media.

More information on some of the latest innovations in ecommerce, such as Subscription Commerce (SubCom) is available online via the HUB Institute.

*Video credit: Antoine Becquet (HUB Institute)

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Elias Jabbe