Never Too Early to Think Ahead; 3 Things to Keep in Mind Post Shoptalk 2018

As Shoptalk 2018 comes to an end, retailers are faced with the noise of innovation. From augmented and virtual reality, conversational commerce, marketplaces, and everything in-between. We often forget about the key business drivers that are happening in the background, many of which will shape the outcome of Shoptalk.

Here are three things that should be on your radar post Shoptalk, to make the most of your event connections:

  1. Wholesale, A Great Option for Testing the Water Globally

Despite the opinions of industry insiders, wholesale is not going anywhere. Admittedly, wholesale in the United States is going through unprecedented change. The shift in power for accessing the general population has transferred from big-box retailers to the disruptive likes of Amazon and Walmart. Expect this to drive change internationally, as global brands will aim to take back the reins on their businesses by leveraging a digital-first approach with regionalized marketplaces like Lazada, JD.com, Mercado Libre, TMall, and other leaders.

For domestic brands, the next frontier in the evolution of growth is cross border. Look to channels that offer wholesale as an option when testing new markets. Moreover, revisit your perception of believing that all marketplaces are like Amazon. In many countries, niche marketplaces go beyond just low-cost goods (ie. TMall Pavillion).

2. The E-Commerce Two-Headed Dogfight for Cart Supremacy

It is no mystery, the two best platforms for any merchant today are Demandware, now Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and Shopify, now offering Plus for fast-growing digitally native brands like AllBirds, Chubbies, Kylie Cosmetics, and many others that have propelled into the top tier of online-first retailers.

For each respective customer profile, I believe that they are the best. Emerging technology platforms like Reaction Commerce, recently backed by Google Ventures, looks to displace the incumbents. However, what we all have learned from Magento is that total cost of ownership is just too high for SMB and mid-market retailers. For now, Shopify will continue to dominate the space under $20M in online revenue.

So why Demandware for mid to large market? It is simple, the eco-system. Much of what Salesforce provides in terms of CRM and its AppExchange ecosystem is an onslaught of powerful capabilities that drive holistic growth for its merchants. As it continues to integrate Commerce Cloud across its Cloud suite, look for its long-term solidification amongst global brands.

Who takes the whole market? To be determined.

3. All That Glitters, May Really Be Gold: Mercado Libre & Zalando

For fashion retailers that do not know Zalando, you should! Zalando currently supports over 15 countries in the EU and is expanding its warehouse, and marketplace personalization already this year. Additionally, it looks to expand its premium catalog to beauty by mid-summer to fuel its expect 20–25% growth be the end of 2018.

Mercado Libre is much of the same in Latin America. With over 50MM registered and continued shoppers. It’s marketplace platform supports 19 Latin American countries, from Mexico all the way down to the tip of Argentina. The bonus? Mercado Libre’s marketplace is only one of six revenue driving services, including, but not limited to: Advertising, Payments and Fulfillment.

As the gap closes between Amazon and Alibaba, expect one to make a move on the European and Latin American leaders soon. Alibaba’s continued investments through Africa and Asia indicate strong growth objectives into 2020. While Amazon’s acquisition of Souq follows suit.

In conclusion

As we get back to our bustling offices and team meetings, it is important to focus. Focus on solutions and technologies that enable your team, from the retail floor to the board room. Moreover, stay ahead of the competition by looking beyond your borders at new customer acquisition channels abroad. And remember, the landscape of retail is disruptive, so continue to think of new ways to stand out!