From Physical Stores to The Metaverse, What Retail Execs Are Thinking About in 2022


Retail Dive | April 12,2022


After two years of virtual meetings, Shoptalk U.S.'s attendance this year hit a historic high for its first in-person gathering since the pandemic began, with more modest attendance expectations for its twin event in London in just a few weeks. With more than 10,000 attendees and more than 600 sponsors and exhibitors, "Retail's Big Reunion" in Las Vegas hosted more than 275 panelists and executives from companies like Macy's, Uber, Pacsun and Walgreens, who shared insight and lessons on what it means to navigate some of retail's most complicated issues.


Retailers enter the metaverse

Retailers are connecting with consumers in the metaverse in a variety of ways. For example, by creating a virtual world where they can build their own stores, meet friends, role play and even make purchases like Forever 21's experience on Roblox. Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Estée Lauder, Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen participated in Decentraland's Metaverse Fashion Week this March.


Olson, a keynote speaker at Shoptalk, said, "Roblox is the best platform for socialization" and is how her company connects and engages with a younger audience. "If you're not thinking about it, you're behind already," Marie Driscoll, managing director of luxury and fashion at Coresight Research, said of the metaverse.


Consumer Loyalty

Retaining the ever elusive customer was among the most discussed pain points at Shoptalk 2022. According to a 2021 report from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, more than 75% of consumers have altered their buying habits since the start of the pandemic, while 39% have switched brands or the retailers they shop with.


So how do you retain brand loyalty?

Christiane Pendarvis, co-president and chief merchant at Savage X Fenty, said the key is building authentic connections with consumers. "For us, it all stems from being true to who our brand is," Pendarvis said. And although the brand has a visible superstar founder like Rihanna as its face, she said that commitment is "still uniquely Savage. It always comes back to, 'Are we being true to our brand identity?'"


Creative Partnerships

Partnerships have become something of a trend in retail. Think Target and Ulta, or Casper and Bed, Bath & Beyond. The decision for a brand to open shop-in-shop locations means reaching new customers and further deepening consumer loyalty.


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