eTail West 2019 Key Takeaways


There is more to Palm Springs than hot springs, golf courses, and spas. Last week, Palm Springs was the destination for 1500 retailers where they gathered to hear from 100+ speakers at eTail West 2019. During the event, industry leaders spoke on trends, changes to the customer experience, and what’s in store for the future of retail. The topic du jour were how to rapidly evolve from brick and mortar to digital as well as how to connect with existing customers on a deeper level on digital channels.

1: Customers First. Technology Second.

Customer centricity was a big theme throughout eTail West, and it’s clear why – understanding customers allows brands to engage in a more meaningful and authentic manner.

Ganesh Srivat, CEO of luxury fashion platform, Moda Operandi, uses customer data to offer a more personalized experience. Examples included addressing the customer by name on the website after they sign into their account. This simple yet powerful change has shown to increase cart size because customers feel a stronger sense of loyalty. Moda Operandi also shows specific fashion items to customers based on their preferences and past purchases, which has also shown to be linked with higher repeat purchases and increased cart size. 

Retail is an industry where customer loyalty sets the rules the game and where every small detail counts. As a result, it’s critical to get to know a customer as much as possible to create a meaningful experience. Knowing and understanding customers allow brands to build an experience that leads to the desired customer behavior.

2: Create Moments That Matter

The best customer experiences come from creating moments that matter. Customers are constantly evaluating, assessing, and exploring choices so leaving a lasting impression is more important than ever before.

In his talk titled “Designing for Delight,” Bogdan Constantin, CMO of Generation Tux, explains that “personalization can be achieved by talking with your customers, not by talking at them.” Using an online survey, Generation Tux finds the perfect fit for its customers, taking the hassle and stress out of shopping for clothes online while taking the extra step to delight customers. Throughout the show, we were reminded of the many different ways in which leading retailers personalize for their customers. Other great examples included offering discounts on favorite items, personalizing the homepage based on preferences, and sending follow-up communications post-purchase.

Greg Revelle, CMO of Kohl’s, said it best: “ensure your customers feel like their experience is different from everyone else’s.” And with perks like Kohl’s Cash, large buyer discounts, and quick payment options, customers are feeling rewarded when they shop at Kohl’s. In order to create moments that really matter to your customers, be authentic, connect with your customers on a deeper level, and most importantly, leave a lasting impression.

3: Leverage Machine Learning

In an evolving industry where there is no shortage of customer data, machine learning allows retailers to stay ahead of the curve. Not only does it allow them to react to customers faster and more effectively, it also allows retailers to understand customer trends and habits.

By using machine learning to understand customer behavior, retailers will be able to service their customers more effectively. Kedar Deshpande, VP of Technology and Marketing at Zappos, noted how it’s all about “finding a balance between data and insight,” and Zappos is utilizing customer data in the right way. By using machine learning and data to intelligently recommend products to its customers, the company is creating a more effective, curated shopping experience. Whether it’s to offer more accurate product recommendations, provide faster and more effective support services, or drive deeper levels of personalization, machine learning plays a part in allowing retailers to make more informed business decisions.

eTail West 2019 was packed with content, and this was just a taste of all the exciting material from the show. To learn more, be sure to visit the eTail West web page.

If you didn’t get a chance to speak with us this year, you can still learn more about what we’re doing to help retailers efficiently scale without adding headcount.