Blog post

Three key take-aways from Future Stores Miami

Published February 2019     

Earlier this month I had the chance to attend and participate in Future Stores Miami 2020: The In-Store Experience Conference, alongside executives from Verizon, Roots, Microsoft, and The Gap, among others.

The conference lived up to its commitment to inform and inspire, and in addition to gaining insights from other industry leaders, I participated in a panel titled “Apocalypse or Opportunity? A Look Into The Future Of Brick & Mortar Retail”. The panel focused on sustainable store practices to promote longevity for brands, including practices such as capitalizing on both the market share and the physical retail space left behind by store closures, and redefining the role of the store in the existing consumer journey to maximize its impact. I was joined on the panel by two leaders in their industries - Gavin Felder, Global CFO of KFC, and Andrew Neelon, Head of Real Estate at Bonobos & Walmart Digital Brands.

Over the course of the conference, I learned a lot from my fellow panelists and other conference speakers.

Here are my three key take-aways:

1. A data-driven brick and mortar future: While the online customer experience has been rooted in real-time curation of the customer journey for years, physical retail is starting to catch up. By effectively leveraging data to understand customer behaviours and trends, retailers are now starting to tailor in-store solutions and change consumer messaging throughout the day in a way that reflects when certain consumers and demographics are most likely to visit a store. 

2. Front line first: The opportunity and imperative to empower front line staff has never been greater. They are uniquely positioned to assess, manage, and adjust a customer’s direct experience with a brand, and there is a growing emphasis being placed on ensuring the right people are driving that engagement in-store.

3. Physical retail and the enthusiasm challenge: A challenge keeping retailers up at night these days is how best to evolve their brand to create and maintain enthusiasm given that the in-store customer journey is made up of the physical products, customer service, and brand engagement. Retailers are focusing on leveraging data to inform customer profiles and tailor store-level execution in order to maintain that enthusiasm. 

I’m looking forward to the next Future Stores Conference in Seattle in June, and continuing to discuss the future of retail with other customer-focused business leaders.