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Path to Purchase Expo 2018: Top Five Takeaways

Our strategy team shares what insights and lessons they’re bringing back from this year’s conference.

Earlier this month, Chief Strategy Officer Elizabeth Harris; SVP, Director of Customer & Channel Strategy, Dana Stotts; Senior Strategist Caitlyn Ford; and Digital Strategist Sarah Harmening made their annual pilgrimage to the Path to Purchase Expo, immersing themselves in the conversations and insights of today’s retail and shopper experience. Here, they share their top five takeaways from P2PX 2018.

ALL EXPERIENCES SET EXPECTATIONS, AND THE IRRESISTIBLE ONES PROPEL EVERYTHING TO A HIGHER LEVEL.
Brendan Witcher from Forrester really drove home the notion that “each time a consumer is exposed to an improved shopping experience, their expectations for all shopping experiences are reset to a new, higher level.” This very notion is what’s been fueling a new normal for consumers: Netflix edging out Blockbuster, Airbnb resetting the hotel industry and Amazon replacing Sears as America’s go-to retailer. The future winners are those that define shoppers’ resistance and pain points, and can overcome them with creativity and innovation.

SURVIVAL SHOPPING IS PARENTS’ EVERYDAY SHOPPING MODE.
Today’s parents are fitting shopping into the cracks of their lives. According to Katherine Wintsch, CEO, the Mom Complex, parents are “80 percent prepared for today and 60 percent for tomorrow and can’t think beyond that.” This means that marketers need to be in the moment for these parents, setting them up with what they need, when they need it and with options tailored for their task. If marketers want to win with shoppers, we must do less pushing what we want to sell, and focus more on providing solutions for people in the moment. In the words of Leo Burnett, “What helps people, helps business” and this could not be more true when it comes to parents today.

FOR GEN Z, THE CAMERA IS THEIR HOME SCREEN. FOR US, IT’S A BRIDGE TO INTELLIGENCE.
Tom Edwards of Epsilon explained how Gen Z’s camera usage is changing the way we market to them. “The camera is a capture device, a form of communication, expression and experience.” This generation doesn’t want content created for them; they want to be part of the creation. Content creation is already something they’re doing on their own every day. “It’s about enabling creation, exploration and experience,” said Edwards. The new behaviors that come with the camera—such as virtual reality, augmented reality and personal assistants—offer us an opportunity to leverage AI to dig in and digest real conversations that will predict consumer behavior.

PINTEREST IS ABOUT YOUR SELF, NOT YOUR SELFIE.
Pinterest is a future planning platform based on: 1. What you’re going to do, 2. What you’re going to buy and 3. Where you’re going to go. This is an important distinction, as it serves a differentiated experience to each of its 250 million monthly users, attributed from tracking what a user does—how he or she searches or engages with a pin in order to provide the most relevant content in the feed. Arthur Sevilla, Vertical Strategy Lead, Pinterest, said the bridge from inspiration to action is rooted in those three pillars in order to achieve effective digital engagement. Brands need to be personal, visual and relevant. With people remembering 10 percent of what they hear, 20 percent of what they read and 80 percent of what they see—navigating images faster than words—it’s important to keep content compelling.

SHOPPERS ARE REDEFINING WHY THEY’RE LOYAL TO RETAILERS.
Today, shoppers are going to fewer retailers, have smaller baskets, and are taking more trips, says Leon Nicholas, VP Retail Insights & Solutions, WestRock. This means retailers have increased their focus on bringing in more dollars per visit – so they can capture more share of wallet and retain their loyal shoppers. While price and value are still the driving factors for shoppers, a “stress-free shopper experience” is quickly emerging as another critical piece to the shopper puzzle. In order to create an irresistible experience in store and drive loyalty, retailers must focus on individual-level personalization and smart targeting.

October 22, 2018