Global Online Retail Trends – Vicki Cantrell

10th May 2016
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Vicki Cantrell

Photo by Ian Wagreich / © Ian Wagreich

Vicki Cantrell is the Senior Vice President of Communities and the Executive Director of Shop.org at the National Retail Federation. This year, she’ll be a guest at the 2016 Retail Global, marking her first ever visit to Australia!

It’ll be exciting to gain an insight into retail trends from a US perspective, but which in particular are hot in the US right now? Vicky tells all!

Trending Topics in the USA

“There are several,” she begins, “I will tell you that the increase in mobile is one of the top trends. Retailers are seeing a tremendous increase – over ten times – for mobile transactions.”

This comes as no surprise as mobile is on the rise all over the world. As for the current trend for omnichannel marketing, Vicki has noticed similar trends in the US that we are experiencing here in Australia: “They’re making sure the customer has a seamless experience and really looking towards their omnichannel efforts.”

What’s interesting about omnichannel is that some retailers still use the term, whilst others question the need for it – as really, most brands now have a presence across multiple channels. Which side does Vicki belong to?

“It’s honestly taken a different name. Omnichannel was used to describe the customer having a seamless experience, but really it’s the retailers doing the nuts and bolts in the back end systems. They’re doing the heavy lifting now.”

Bricks Vs Clicks

Many retailers that were once online-only are beginning to see the need for a physical presence and taking the steps to move into brick and mortar locations – even if it’s simply a pop-up shop.

As Vicki points out, even Amazon has opened a book store!

“The customer experience is across multiple platforms and you have to satisfy them in all the different ways.”

The Value of Events

Attending events is a must for any serious retailer, and Vicki is no stranger to the community. She explains the value of events and what attendees can expect to gain from coming along. First up – the two big C’s: conversation and connection.

“There is no substitute for face to face,” says Vicki. “You have a community of like minded individuals in a community that comes together. You can’t trade what happens there.”

It’s also a chance to take inspiration from other retailers and measure your success against theirs to learn and progress.

“Every retailer is interested in benchmarking. How am I doing in relation to my peers? Are my ideas the same? Am I moving at the same pace? It’s not about their particular ideas or sales, but they’re really trying to see if they are making the right decision with the many choices they have.”

With so many knowledgeable retailers in one place, the information is guaranteed to be valuable. Vicki agrees.

“You can really see where the heat is by being here and get both high level and practical strategies. Having those choices is great and we really feel that need.”

Why Retail Global?

Although based in the US, Vicki understands and promotes the importance of a global approach, which is why she’s heading to Australia later this month. But what is it that convinced her?’, we asked.

“Retail is global and this is what we’re seeing. All the different regions are starting to merge and come together to satisfy the customer. We have the same goals and objectives. We’re dealing with some of the more tactical aspects but sharing knowledge on a global level. I want to see what it’s like everywhere and see if we can help bring some insights to other parts of the world.”

Vicki’s Keynote

Vicki gives us a sneak peek:

“We’ll look at the future of the internet, what the Internet of Things is going to do and how the connected home is going to impact retail. We have tonnes of data on this, but it’s really important because the people we speak to are in the throws of the now.

We’ll talk about some key things in the now – personalisation, attribution, acquisition, loyalty – the really hot buttons.

Then, I’m going to talk about the soon – and in the soon you have that great experience. How do you become the go-to retailer when there’s so much competition?”

Staying Up to Date

We asked Vicki the last item she bought online and discovered she can likely be found in her very own sanctuary away from the bustle of retail. ‘A canopy for my gazebo on my pack porch,’ she replied! But it’s not long until she’ll be jetting off to discover our Aussie sanctuary called the Gold Coast.

In the mean time, keep up with the latest in retail at Shop.org, or follow Vicki’s Twitter account @vmcantrell.