Jon is attending the Shop.Org Conference ( this week in Los Angeles. Here is his final recap from the Conference (see his report from Day 1 and visit the ICBA  Facebook page for more updates). 

Shop.Org’s final day kept me busy with both education sessions and booth browsing. Here’s what stuck out for me:

• Scott Galloway from New York University and L2 Consulting discussed how Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple dominate our lives as consumers, overall retail commerce, and, in many ways, the global economy. Check out Galloway’s YouTube video on how Amazon is disrupting retail.

- His view of “The Big Four’s” success is portrayed in this graphic, with Google as the brain, Facebook as the heart, Amazon as the gut, and Apple as desire was fascinating.

- One of Galloway’s more intriguing data points was that 1 in 6 Google queries (and they receive hundreds of millions each day) is a question that has never, ever been submitted before.

ICBA at Shop.Org

• Adam Grant from the Wharton School talked about how business leaders can facilitate innovation in their teams by helping overcome fear and doubt to stimulate creativity and collaboration.

• In terms of recurring booth themes, here are a few that are noteworthy:

Retargeting is in full force. Retargeting is the ecommerce technology that allows brands to continue to serve ads to consumers after they have left their web site. For instance, let’s say you look at some Nike apparel one day on the Nike web site. Then, you find yourself seeing Nike ads on a variety of unrelated web sites that you happen be browsing over the next 4-5 days. If you were thinking that was a strange coincidence, think again! You have been “retargeted.”

Abandoned shopping basket recovery
This proven winner of marketing automation technology triggers email reminders to consumers who start a shopping cart, but then “abandon” it (they never actually finish placing their order). The results are impressive and are measured by the number of abandoned orders that ultimately convert to executed orders after consumers receive reminder emails. The “game” that is played is that, after a couple of reminders, if the consumer still doesn’t act, discounts may be offered since the sellers now feel that they have nothing to lose and won’t otherwise get a sale.


Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is coming but is still not quite there as a retail tool for the masses. Yes, there was a whole section of the floor with plenty of booths touting VR tech to stimulate retail sales. Yes, in areas like home design, architecture, and landscaping, VR is already driving significant sales. However, I still didn’t see enough relevant “use cases” for most other retail categories to say it’s something college stores need to consider. In fact, we may be 2-3 years away from VR having practical applications for college stores.

Other booth themes
Fraud protection, web site session recording and analytics, tools to increase personalization/customization of selling and marketing messages, and the importance of consumer ratings & reviews.

Overall, the annual Shop.Org Conference continues to impress me as a forum to learn about what’s new and relevant in retail technology. With the expanded education programming at this year’s Conference, I would highly recommend Shop.Org as a Conference to consider for college stores. I will warn you that cutting-edge tech tools do not come cheap. But each vendor I spoke with confidently proclaimed that they deliver a high return on investment to their clients and they have mounds of data to back up that claim.

See you at the next Shop.Org (September 2018 in Las Vegas)…