EP 47: Here’s a Sticker for Your $50k

It’s been almost a week since Shoptalk 2018 in Las Vegas and Todd is still on West Coast time, while José has adjusted perfectly. We spend some of this episode recapping some of the ups and downs of the show this year — luckily there were way more ups … including the show size that hit nearly 8,500 attendees this year.

In this episode:

  • 3 Things We Learned at Shoptalk
  • A Shoptalk session reaction
  • Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!
  • Weird News of the Week

3 Things We Learned at Shoptalk

  1. Retailers spent lots of time legitimizing their reason to exist
  2. Same day delivery becoming the new normal — with Target leading the way
  3. Grocery is the next retail segment to be disrupted


For…retailers, the fight against Amazon isn’t about winning…they have to defend their reason for even still existing in an Amazon-dominated industry. The strategy: Invest in private-label and other inventory exclusives, turn physical stores into fulfillment centers, position in-store employees as category experts and drive participation in loyalty programs, while continuing to invest in e-commerce and mobile commerce capabilities.

The Evolution of the Retail Store

We visited a few sessions and this one really stood out.

’The Evolution of the Retail Store’ — Technologies Optimizing the Store Experience (Shoptalk — Tue, Track 2)

Pano Anthos from XRC Labs interviewed three different retailers, showcasing three very different technology strategies:

  • Martin Wild, Chief Innovation Officer, MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group
  • Gerben van der Lugt, Head of Indoor Location Services, Philips Lighting
  • Joe Jensen, VP Internet of Things Group & GM Retail Solutions Division, Intel

Saturn Europe $22B Euros

(German Chain of Electronics Stores)

Martin Wild came out in a flurry of energy, detailing all the different ways Saturn is approaching in-store technologies and innovation. They ranged from digitalization to electronic pricing to wearing a VR/AR visor while walking around the store.

What’s even cooler is that he touted their push for innovation — the famous “fail fast” mentality where ROI is not a driving factor. Instead, Saturn encourages pilots of new technologies with Martin clarifying that out of the 50 pilots they have attempted, there’s a 50% success rate.

Lighting and location based services — Philips Lighting

Gerben van der Lugt detailed the vision Philips has for lighting. Instead of a “one job” store fixture, lighting is headed towards dominating the central nervous system of every retailer. The vision comprised of rich (yet somewhat creepy) data around customer dwell time, density, footfall, and behavior.

IoT in an Old Retail World — Intel

Ok, this wasn’t the exact moniker of his session, but Joe Jensen from Intel gave a compelling presentation on the impact of old measurements of success being too closely tied to P&L and Wall St. He made some great points that instead of being encouraged financially to innovate and take risks (that long-term could save or help a retailer), they are being somewhat punished and held to short-term financial growth targets that make any kind of change or adjustments extremely difficult.

Wonder twin powers, activate!

Target and Kroger are discussing a possible merger. The talks come as the grocery industry is making radical adjustments as Amazon successfully rustled everyone's feathers with the Whole Foods acquisition last year.

According to Fast Company:

The two companies first started conversations last summer about a partnership that could improve Target’s grocery business and give Kroger customers more access to merchandise and e-commerce. Target and Kroger spoke again in the fall and talks are ongoing this year. The companies appear to be struggling to decide whether a merger is the best path forward. Last year, Target and Kroger’s combined annual revenue added up to $195 billion.

BUT this may all not be true

Reuters and CNBC reported that that there was “no truth” to the report that the two retail companies were in merger discussions. Target and Kroger have met to discuss a possible Shipt partnership, according to CNBC. Target acquired Shipt, a same-day delivery service, in December.


Weird News of the Week — Someone started a GoFundMe to save ToysRUs

The hashtag #SaveToysRUs was trending on Twitter last week when news broke that the toy retailer had plans to close all of its stores. Among those tweeting was billionaire Bratz doll maker Isaac Larian, the owner of one of the largest toy companies in the country, MGA Entertainment. He not only directed his tweets at other toy companies like Lego and Disney, but even at President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, asking them each to help save what he calls “The American Icon.”

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