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Insights from ShopTalk Europe 2024: How AI and Personalisation Transform the World of Retail

Advertising Agency
Warsaw, Poland
PXP CEE's Klaudia Kitowska and Guillermo Alonso Fernandez discuss key insights from the event and explore what this means for businesses

This year's ShopTalk Europe in Barcelona was a vibrant gathering of the industry's top minds, offering a glimpse into the future of retail and ecommerce. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Klaudia Kitowska, eCommerce strategy lead and Guillermo Alonso Fernandez the head of eMerchandising and regulatory submissions at PXP CEE who were at this year’s ShopTalk Europe to discuss their key insights from the event and explore what this means for businesses.

Q> ShopTalk 2024 featured a wide array of topics from digital transformation to consumer behaviour. With rapid technological advancements, how are companies adapting to the evolving consumer behaviours?

Klaudia> The landscape is shifting dramatically, especially with gen z and gen alpha redefining confidence and beauty standards. These consumers are moving away from a single beauty ideal to embracing diverse trends that reflect their moods and personalities. This paradigm shift requires brands to be more flexible and innovative. For example, focusing on iconic products and scouting for creators to form a creative squad, as Simone Dominici from Kikio Milano emphasised, is crucial. It's about leveraging technology where it truly matters and maintaining an organic connection with consumers, as noted by Laetitia Roche-Grenet from LVMH.

Guillermo> From a strategic perspective, companies must have a digital-first approach but tailored for today's world. Deri Watkins from Mars Pet Nutrition highlighted the importance of having strategies that fit the digital landscape. For instance, maintaining best-in-class product detail pages (PDPs) and executing full-funnel marketing strategies are fundamental. It's about being adaptable and continuously evolving to meet consumer needs.

Q> How is the concept of unified commerce evolving, and what does it mean for businesses?

Klaudia> Unified commerce is becoming the norm rather than an exception. The aim is to provide a seamless, personalised shopping experience across all channels. As Gaurav Goel from PepsiCo mentioned, failing to adopt unified commerce means being left behind. This involves breaking organisational silos and ensuring a cohesive strategy across all levels. Bubble Skincare, a self-described disruptor brand, goes beyond traditional unified commerce with a 360-degree, consumer-first approach and cross-functional teams. In contrast, Mondelez highlights the challenges of silos and stresses the importance of a full-funnel approach, urging professionals to "think beyond your role and be a full-funnel executioner."

Guillermo> For businesses, unified commerce means not just merging online and offline channels but creating a truly integrated consumer journey. PepsiCo's success during the Champions League activation period exemplifies this, with the company achieving three times the growth compared to business as usual. By fixing the basics, activating omnichannel strategies, and building towards a consumer-centric vision, companies can drive significant growth. It's about leveraging partnerships and data to create a connected experience that meets the evolving demands of consumers.

Q> What role does AI play in scaling personalisation and improving customer experiences?

Klaudia> AI is a game-changer in the realm of personalization. At Zalando, tools like the Zalando Assistant use AI to create hyper-personalised shopping experiences, tailoring recommendations to individual preferences. Pandora leverages AI to analyse vast amounts of data, identifying trends and offering personalised product suggestions. However, one of the significant challenges, as Paloma Juncos from Loewe pointed out, is ensuring high-quality data. To effectively use AI, it is crucial to have a seamless integration between IT and business teams, which helps in providing a more coherent and engaging consumer experience.

Guillermo> AI's role in personalisation goes beyond just data analysis; it's about enhancing the overall consumer interaction. AI-driven personalisation delivers unique experiences for each customer, ensuring that their journey is relevant and engaging. Jewellery brand Pandora's use of AI focuses on scaling personalisation by utilising customer data to create highly customised recommendations. Dirk Cohausz from BCG X mentioned that a robust AI strategy involves fixing foundational elements such as customer experience and data integration before scaling AI initiatives. This approach ensures that AI not only personalises but also humanises the shopping experience, making it more interactive and intuitive.

Q> How can companies leverage the power of social commerce and influencer marketing?

Klaudia> Social commerce is about authenticity and connecting with micro-communities. As Ekta Chopra from e.l.f. Beauty noted, these communities can drive brand presence in unexpected ways. The power of organic content and genuine creator collaborations cannot be overstated. Elena Montenegro from Bimba y Lola highlighted the importance of staying true to the brand while leveraging influencers to meet specific regional needs.

Guillermo> Influencer marketing should focus on brand truth and organic content. Andrea Martins from Stanley1913 stressed the importance of investing in top-of-the-funnel activities to build brand love, which eventually drives brand buy. The goal is to use creators and influencers to understand consumer needs and deliver authentic experiences that resonate deeply with their audiences.

Q> What are the key takeaways for businesses aiming to thrive in the current market?

Klaudia> Collaboration and breaking organisational silos are critical. Learning from disruptive brands and leveraging AI effectively are essential strategies. Technology should solve real problems, not be implemented for its own sake. It's about creating a cohesive strategy that aligns with evolving consumer needs and market dynamics.

Guillermo> Companies must stay adaptable and continuously evolve. Embracing digital commerce capabilities, leveraging data for actionable insights, and maintaining a consumer-centric approach are crucial. The integration of AI and technology should enhance, not replace, human connections and brand authenticity.

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