CX, Omnichannel & More: What to Look Out for at eTail West 2018

This upcoming weekend, retailers from far and wide will descend on Palm Springs, CA—not for the golf, the hot springs, or the sunshine (okay, maybe partly for the sunshine), but for this year’s eTail West.

This yearly conference sees thousands of retailers, analysts, and industry insiders coming together to learn about the biggest trends, see the newest innovative tech, and hear expert predictions for what to expect next. We’ll be there to get the scoop, of course, and while we’re attending sessions and networking with folks in the expo hall (come see us at Booth 810!), these are the big themes we’re expecting to see pop up throughout the week:

What does loyalty look like now (and how do I inspire more of it)?

It’s no secret that the question on everyone’s minds these days is, How do I keep customers coming back to my brand time and time again? It’s a question we explored at Summit 2018, and one we expect will be asked frequently as we move further into this digital-first era (led by the 800 lb. gorilla where convenience and transparency are table stakes, not differentiators, when it comes to CX.

We can see that this topic will be a prevalent one at eTail West, with sessions promising to cover practical steps retailers can take to retain customers (Reaching The Peak with Top Loyalty and Retention Tactics, Monday @ 8:35 a.m., with The North Face’s Director of Customer Lifetime Marketing & Analytics Ian Dewar) and discuss the importance of a customer-centric business model (CEO Chat with Matt Karnes of Modcloth, Wednesday @ 8:30 a.m.). The evolution of customer loyalty beyond just generic points, discounts, and other not-so-personal methods is a hot topic right now, and we’re sure to hear a lot about what that means for forward-thinking brands at this year’s big conference.

The evolution of customer loyalty beyond just generic points, discounts, and other not-so-personal methods is a hot topic right now.

Bridging the omnichannel divide.

Another big challenge that’s top-of-mind for the entire industry right now is how to best tackle the gap that continues to exist between digital and in-store. How do you efficiently stitch these experiences together to keep the entire holistic journey personal, authentic, thoughtful, and relevant, no matter where the customer is shopping?

So far as we can tell from the agenda, eTail West attendees are sure to come away from the conference with a variety of insights, perspectives, and advice on this very subject. For example, Tuesday morning’s C-level Keynote Panel Discussion, Your Big Opportunity: Tapping Into the Omni-Nature of Today’s Consumer (@ noon), promises to delve into how retailers can create retention-focused experiences that bridge this divide, and Wednesday afternoon Keynote session High Street Stores in the Digital Era: Goldmine or Sinkhole? (@ 12:20 p.m.) will discuss the online and offline priorities that all store owners should consider in order to see more success.

Meet your customers wherever they are in the journey.

Beyond just bridging online and in-store, there’s also a big push for retailers to provide the right experience at the right time to the right touchpoint, at all times. Being able to recognize where your customers are and what exactly they want to hear when they get there is huge—it’s what will ultimately help you deliver that seamless experience everyone is looking for (expecting, even) these days. But how do you do this in a way that actually works, and is personalized for every customer, at scale?

We aren’t afraid to admit that we may be a bit biased on the subject—our very own Founder and CEO Amti Sharma will be featured on a panel Monday afternoon (@ 2:30 p.m.) to talk about how retailers can map out the entire customer journey and make the most of every single touchpoint. But it’s not just us—Tuesday afternoon will see Gap’s John Stratford and Chris Chapo teaming up to discuss how to combine art and science to drive more customer engagement across touchpoints (@ 1:55 p.m.).

Being able to recognize where your customers are and what exactly they want to hear when they get there is huge.

Staying ahead of the advancement curve.

It wouldn’t be an industry conference without all the newest, most innovative technology providers playing a part. We’re highlighting this as a key theme this year because, right now, the stakes are especially high for retailers when it comes to focusing on and investing in the right tech. As mentioned above, this is the age of Amazon, and we as an industry are dealing with an ever-growing digital-first customer base. 2018’s eTail will surely delve into how retailers can take advantage of the tools currently available to deliver more seamless, convenient experiences to consumers across the board.

Where can you go to catch the tips and tricks that’ll help you stay on top of digital, AI, and other tech-centric trends? Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., KIDBOX CEO Miki Racine Berardelli will be talking about how she’s become a digital leader in today’s retail world, or you can check out the Innovation Fireside Chat on Tuesday afternoon at 4:10 p.m. to hear Imran Ansani (Walmart Global eCommerce’s Principal Manager of Innovation) discuss using visual commerce strategies to drive growth and engagement. And don’t miss Grant Barth on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. discuss how Levi’s has evolved into a 150-year old startup.

If you’re at eTail West next week, come say hi at Booth 810, or book a meeting to learn even more about how to tackle the new rules of customer loyalty, the omnichannel challenge, and more.