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Festival of Ideas Event Review: Markets, Mobile and Money.

Published: Monday,16 May 2016 by Neil Toulson, Strategic Sales Manager, EMEA

Festival of Ideas Event Review: Markets, Mobile and Money.
Attending the TrueStart R:evolution 3.0 Festival of Ideas event on 11th May proved interesting and thought-provoking.  The event posed the question, “What’s new and what’s next for retail?” - bringing together industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the same room to address the statement through a series of keynotes and panel discussions.

The context for the day was set by Matt Truman, Co-founder of TrueCapital and TrueStart who described how the make-up of the Fortune 1000 has changed, with so many companies disappearing and predictions that this trend will accelerate as many industries are challenged by disrupters.

The top industry trends include the increasing penetration of mobile devices into retail, with the expression 'Mobile-first' now fully embraced; the importance and increasing spend on digital advertising, but now at the individual level, and the change in retail stores to become showcase spaces.  With Celebrus' ability to capture granular individual level data across digital channels this market direction that Matt laid out really resonated with me.

Mike Jones, the former CEO of Myspace, provided some interesting insight into the future, discussing his experiences of investment success and failure across retail. Key trends that he looks for in successful retailers are related to retention rates, multiple purchases, high value repeat business and a move towards predictable subscription based models.  The reference to performance marketing, trackable and measurable down to the click so that you can ‘ROI’ everything was again great to hear as Celebrus is helping retail clients in this area too. The new younger consumer demographic is driving retailers to use store fronts as acquisition points for completion through digital channels, with brands increasingly placing devices in-store to enable purchases online or encouraging them to join loyalty programs. This new generation care about their time - Mike referenced attending millennial focus groups that state they wouldn’t contemplate queuing and rarely want to engage with shop staff – there are no barriers to completion online and no sales advisor required.

It is rare to get any insight into Apple but Allison Johnson, who worked directly for Steve Jobs as his VP of marketing communications and oversaw the launch of the iPhone and iPad, provided some intriguing anecdotes on her time there. The comment that resonated most with me was the importance of not creating a product but instead creating a market; 'market matters most' is a tag-line that underpins how new products like the iPad created a new market for 'touch-screen' interaction. Allison uses this philosophy at West Studios, a San Francisco based brand marketing and creative consultancy, to identify new emerging companies that can redefine an existing market or create a new one.

Listening to a day covering the future of retail was interesting and as a consumer you can relate directly to many of the initiatives underway within the sector.  The ever increasing importance of technology and on-going disruption from digital initiatives reinforced the importance of understanding an individual regardless of the number of channels and devices they use to communicate with a brand.  Of course, working for Celebrus Technologies I agree with the need to understand customers as coherent omnichannel individuals, but it appears that the retail market is increasingly driving in that direction too.  Exciting times ahead!


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