Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the World Department Stores Forum 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Forty five retail CEOs joined 300 attendees in an industry event titled "Digital and Brick-n-Mortar: One Magic Experience".
The host for the 5th Annual Edition was the Canadian luxury department store chain Holt Renfrew. The Forum is co-organized by the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS), the largest association for department stores worldwide. IGDS has 41 members from 38 countries on all continents generating $89 billion in total sales in 2016.
The stage for the 24 hour retail discussion was set by Craig Wright, SVP & Chief Economic of the Royal Bank of Canada when he said that the "Last time interest rates stayed low for so long was in 3000 BC." We are living in extra-ordinary age of disruption.
This post summarizes my favorite insights from this year's IGDS event.
"What a tough industry (retail), the consumer has changed more in terms of their demand preferences in the past three years than they have in the past thirty years." - Home Depot CFO Carol Tome
For the past two weeks, my youngest son was in France attending the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
As part of an extended university project, he participated in a week long "producer's workshop." By the end of the week, he was instructed to throw away all his notes for the era of major studios driving the movie industry is over.
This past week had to pleasure of speaking at the Retail Risk Conference in Singapore. The audience mostly consisted of loss prevention professionals responsible for major retail brands across Asia. The customized presentation was an opportunity to reassess the state of Asia in the global retail economy.
A Brookings Institute study noted:
-- 3.2 billion people were in the middle class at the end of 2016
-- 140 million people are joining the middle class annually and this number could rise to 170 million in five years’ time
In an article published in November, we discussed the following five ingredients driving the age of disruption: geopolitical risks ahead, need for technology speed, data as the new oil, next generation consumers, and shopping till you drop. Reverse globalization is a subplot of these trends impacting many industries including retail.
Recent publications highlighted the following challenges facing globalization:
Welcome to Euroshop 2017, the largest retail trade show in the world.
In early March, over 100,000 visitors from 60+ countries tracked to Dusseldorf to view 2,000+ exhibits on everything retail. The visual retail feast in Germany that is Euroshop is only held every three years.
At the conclusion of the event, the organizers cited the continued digitalization in retail, tailor-made onmichannel solutions and the emotionalization of the shopping experience as the dominant themes for Euroshop 2017.
A recent LP Magazine study, sponsored by Tyco Retail Solutions, highlights key technology trends around video, EAS, and exception reporting. The research also provides insights into future LP investments and the evolution of the Loss Prevention function.
Decision makers rely on a variety of tools in their LP portfolio. In the United States, CCTV/Video Surveillance and Exception based reporting were ranked the most critical technologies, while in the UK, CCTV/Video Surveillance and Data Mining were ranked most critical.
For those that have seen me speak around the world, you will recall my passion for sharing innovative videos that with few or no words convey powerful messages.
The days of busy PowerPoint charts are over. For my entire career, the mantra has been "less words, more graphics". In a world where our attention span is down to 8 seconds, even 140 or less Twitter characters are too much to actually read.
Video is the new medium required to package successful branding. The following are my current favorite future predicting retail technology videos.
NRF 2017 opened on good news that USA 2016 retail holiday sales increased 4% over the previous year to $658.3 billion, exceeding initial National Retail Federation forecasts. Number includes $122.9 billion in non-store sales which were up 12.6%.
For the106th Annual Convention & EXPO in New York this past week, NRF forecasted 35,000 attendees. The 2017 edition will exceed the over 3000 retail companies from over 90 countries attending the previous year.
On both personal and professional levels this was one of the best NRF events ever. Always enjoy participating in the motivational and educational RetailROI event on Saturday. During NRF, the group raised over $500,000 in support of global Retail Orphan Initiatives.
The past couple of weeks were filled with the delivery of regionally customized presentations on the future of retail in Spain, UK, Portugal, and Switzerland. As we are in the middle of the paramount shopping season, special focus was on three important retail holidays.
Over both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, 2016 brick-and-mortar net instore sales dropped 5% and the number of transactions fell 7.9%. Shopper visits to physical stores declined 1% during the same two day period. UK 2016 Black Friday shopper traffic fell a significant 8% which follows a drop of 4.05% in 2015.
Two weeks ago, had the pleasure of speaking to the Board of Directors at two major Brazil apparel retailers. An updated view on "The Disruptive Future of Retail" was the message. Very pleased that audience was engaged, embracing of the disruptive trends discussed, and had lots of questions on their direct impact in the Brazil retail market.