This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Retail series which interviews the world’s leading retail experts to better understand how the industry has evolved and most importantly, where it’s headed.
The following is from a recent interview with Intent Chief Sales Officer Laurie Weisberg
What personally excites you the most about the retail industry?
LW: Change! Retail is exploding, and it’s amazing to be part of it. We have entirely new demographics of entrepreneurs selling direct-to-consumer (stay-at-home Moms , YouTube-star tweens, Podcasters, etc.) That’s forced giant retailers to redefine their business models. And that has given consumers more choices for everything. But, it’s also made people less brand loyal, which is driving a new wave of change as brands adapt to more fickle consumers. It’s exciting!
What has been the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?
LW: The shift away from third-party cookies has been tough for most online stores. Retailers worked hard to master the technology involved in online advertising. But then the browser companies began to shun third-party cookies. Apple’s Safari deleted them in 2017. Mozilla’s Firefox made the same move in 2019. Now Google has pledged an end to third-party cookies by 2022. Interestingly, retailers, which already own enormous amounts of first-party data are well-positioned for the future. But there’s still tremendous fear among retailers about how to advertise online after 2022.
What are the top trends you see shaping brick and mortar retail in the next 3-5 years?
LW: There are three trends that fascinate me: stores without merchandise (like Nordstrom Local); stores without cashiers (like Amazon Go); and stores that are personalized for me (like how Best Buy’s app tells the store when I’m enroute to pick up an online order.) All of these are catering to me the consumer and my purchasing behavior that coincidentally might differ by product or where I am on my buying journey.
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in the next 3-5?
LW: Predictive intelligence. Machine learning lets retailers predict how a user will behave online in real time. Think about that! When you visit a retailer’s site that uses predictive intelligence the site knows what you’re likely to do and behaves accordingly. The site offers a clean interface to someone ready to buy. It shows ads and landing-page varieties to someone else. That’s happening now. We’ve used our Predictive Intelligence PlatformTM to build thousands of models for ecommerce companies. The models boost revenue and reduce inefficient ad spending. And they run on first-party data. Soon every online retail site will have some version of this.
What’s the future of brick and mortar retail?
LW: It may be another decade or so away, but just as predictive intelligence builds an online retail experience on the fly — creating the page that is most likely to monetize any single individual — that level of prediction will come to brick and mortar too. Soon you’ll enter a merchandise-free store and the items on display (or the screens that show them) will change based on what you are likely to buy.