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Conference Keynote Craver Talks Tech

The STORIS Client Conference took place on the first week of November. The three-day event was packed with educational content, networking, and STORIS product direction. Keynote Ryan Craver, a digital strategist for global retail brands, headlined the event with “Living in a World of Unified Commerce.” Ryan’s upbeat speaking style got conference-goers ready for a full day ahead! Here is a recap of themes and insight from Ryan’s presentation.

Ryan explored how technology influences all aspect of life and how it effects home furnishings retail. He touched on tech giants like Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook, and how they are impacting our lives every day. Did you know Facebook is accessed by 26% of the world’s population each month? Uber continues to affect the utilization of mass transit. Throughout the presentation the common thread was clear—technology isn’t going anywhere, so we must adapt to it and use it for good. So, how does technology influence the retail shopping experience? The better question is, how doesn’t it?

Consumers are more educated, engaged, and demanding than ever before. They look up products, pricing, and availability before they even walk in your store. They probably even explore online reviews and social media pages. Ryan recognizes that tech “sits in the center of the retail ecosystem.”  In the USA, mobile accounts for 30% of retail sales. At the same time, in-store traffic continues to decline, with a 56% decrease from 2010 to 2016. Even the baby boomer generation is turning to tech, with 69% of them utilizing smartphones to do everything from finding store locations to making a purchase online. Ryan notes that the combination of digital shopping, mobile influence, and brick and mortar presence are changing what retailers should be focused on.

Ryan wrapped up his speech by posing the question “what now?” What did this 45-minute speech mean for these home furnishings retailers? What could they take away? His advice for the room of 250 retailers? Keep it simple, stupid. He notes that the pragmatic, connected brand environments will prevail. Utilizing tech and mobile capabilities creates a unified experience for every customer to browse and purchase. He also advises retailers “don’t fight convenience.” Some examples he gave of technology working well in today’s retail landscape are Walmart’s customer support text messages and Kohl’s dynamic discounting strategy. Walmart texts customers when they enter the store to aid in finding products. Kohl’s uses store traffic insights and inventory levels to determine merchandise pricing. It’s apparent that companies are thinking outside the box to stand out from the competition. Technology is here to stay, so it is imperative to think of ways to strategically use it to build brand awareness and drive sales.

The term Unified Commerce was introduced earlier this year and has grown to mean more to retailers than ever before. Retailers must have a unified strategy to give consumers the shopping experience they now expect. To learn more about how STORIS can help you achieve a unified commerce strategy, visit https://www.storis.com/unified-commerce-solution/.To learn more about Ryan, check out his blog, http://www.ryanmcraver.com/blog/.

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