A Look Back: Retail Tech Trends at Shoptalk

By  Julia Suchocki,  Marketing Manager

Apr 18, 2024 | 3 Min. Read | Blog

Retail continues to rapidly evolve and shows like Shoptalk provide a forum for businesses to come together, share their experiences, and engage in meaningful conversations about the future of retail. At this year's Shoptalk, multiple sessions and panelists highlighted the importance of using technology to create unified retail experiences. 

The sessions at this year's event highlighted several pressing retail themes including, “How can I incorporate Artificial Intelligence into my store?” “How can I keep up with evolving consumer behaviors and create better omnichannel experiences?” and “How can I make my business more sustainable.” These are the questions that leaders are grappling with as they work to optimize operations.

Key trends that sparked conversations at Shoptalk

1. Retailers recognize the potential of Artificial Intelligence

The impact of Artificial Intelligence on the retail industry was a prominent theme at the show, highlighting its transformative potential. While discussions surrounding AI were generally positive, industry leaders emphasized the importance of establishing an adoption plan to effectively manage and implement AI technology. Before adopting AI solutions, businesses must first identify the specific problems they aim to solve, then test and lastly implement. Conversations covered key themes like how to maximize the use of generative AI applications, the pivotal role of AI in personalization, and the assessment of AI’s long-term advantages and hurdles.

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Anshu Bhardwaj, SVP and COO at Walmart Global Technology and Walmart Commerce Technologies recently said, “I think what AI is now allowing us to do is go from an omnichannel retailer to becoming an adaptive retailer, and adaptive retailer basically means I can intersect you at the point of your convenience to get you what you want, how you want.” 1

2. Retailers are putting fulfillment capabilities at the top of their priority list

Online discovery and shopping is changing with customers merging across retail, marketplaces and social channels. Meanwhile, the demand for convenient fulfillment options and experiences like pickup, delivery and ship from store remains high amongst customers. To reach a broader customer base, businesses must adopt a multi-channel sales and fulfillment strategy.

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However, as retailers venture into different sales channels, they encounter common fulfillment challenges. Their employees often grapple with disjointed workflows, resulting in a less than ideal customer experience. To address this, adopting a solution that simplifies the omnichannel retail experience becomes crucial, transforming stores into efficient fulfillment hubs for pickup, delivery, and ship from store services. These solutions encompass a wide range of functionalities, including Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), inventory optimization, item picking, packing, shipping, and order tracking.

Multiple retail leaders acknowledged the importance of empowering store associates with technology, tools and processes that enhance customer experiences and drive operational efficiency.  

3. Sustainability is shaping and driving business objective towards long-term success

Sustainability has become a key factor in technology investments, as it not only can boost cost savings and enhance a brand's image but also drive loyalty and trust. Retail leaders across multiple panels expressed that to maximize impact, companies should identify areas where they can make substantial contributions, set clear goals, and ensure support and ownership of these objectives.

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In order to meet the evolving demands of customers and contribute to a more sustainable future, businesses are adopting advanced supply chain management technologies. These technologies include Route Optimization software, automated warehousing, and real-time tracking systems. By implementing these solutions, companies can not only provide reliable and efficient services but also minimize their environmental impact, creating a greener footprint.

Integrating technology solutions can bring numerous benefits such as operational efficiency, customer loyalty, a more equipped and efficient staff, maximized cost reductions, revenue growth and so much more. At Walmart Commerce Technologies our mission is to help retailers better serve their customers by providing SaaS solutions powered by Walmart's proven technologies and services. Whether it's managing omnichannel experiences, orchestrating shipping strategies, or handling complex supply chain logistics, our tech-driven solutions ensure smoother operations, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction. Here’s how:

Store Assist

Store Assist is an app that helps retailers turn their stores into micro-fulfillment centers and powers ship from store, pickup and last mile delivery fulfillment methods. Learn more

Route Optimization

Route Optimization, powered by AI and ML, is your zero-touch companion in transportation logistics, ensuring timely and environmentally sustainable deliveries. Learn more

Want to learn more about the latest retail technology? We’d be happy to connect with you and explore how we could partner. To get in touch - fill out the form below!

1. Supermarket News. “Walmart tech COO says AI will give rise to adaptive retail,” Jan 22, 2024


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