This year's edition of WIRED Smarter was dedicated to the main tech trends in retail, money, and security. The event featured a Retail Track programme and Retail Startup Lightning Showcase. For those who missed the event on October 30, we collected a bunch of exclusive insights from British retail leaders and innovators. Let's go down to it!  

Helen Hunter, Group Chief Data Officer at Sainsbury's, believes that big data and advanced technology might give an unprecedented boost to human curiosity and creativity in retail. What it means is that AI-algorithms are not going to eliminate human involvement in retail operations but would help managers to focus on genuinely important, creative, and strategic tasks.  

Sainsbury's integrated technology organization is aimed at making customers delighted wherever and whenever they shop. There are three fundamental dimensions in which data helps UK's #1 multibrand retailer:

  • getting to know customers better than anyone
  • empowering everyone at Sainsbury's to provide customers with a unique shopping experience
  • reducing human decision-making across the organization
     

Hunter believes that making more data-driven decisions is the only way retailers can survive in a highly disruptive and competitive market of tomorrow.

Everything we do is anchored around
'What would our customers think of it?'

Phil Jordan, Sainsbury's CIO

According to Kris Miller, eBay's SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, the resurgence of value is the crucial trend defining retail development in the 2010s. At the same time, the pace of disruption has now also reached an unprecedented level. What it means is that retailers have less time to adapt to changes while the risks of making a mistake get higher.    

Here is a shortlist of recommendations Miller gives to retailers:

1. Be customer-obsessed. Put customer needs and pains at the center of your business model.   
2. Find and use your superpower. It could be quality of the service or diversity of market proposition, like in the case of eBay. 
3. Use technology strategically. Even the most advanced tech solutions make no sense if they're disintegrated. 
4. Find your flywheel. Think what makes your customers come back and how is your business strategically different from other retailers. 

The resurgence of value becomes crucial in retail.


Kris Miller, eBay's SVP & Chief Strategy Officer

Jess Christie, Chief Brand Officer at MATCHESFASHION.COM, emphasized on the way technology can make customers more engaged, more loyal, and more valuable. In her talk, Christie emphasized that the personalization of customer experience and the ability to communicate with customers globally are the crucial opportunities associated with the use of advanced technology in retail. 
 

Technology makes customers more engaged, more loyal, and more valuable.

 

Jess Christie, Chief Brand Officer at MATCHESFASHION.COM

Richard Potter, CEO at Peak, explained what sustainability in retail means and how can AI help retailers satisfy customers' needs. Companies integrating AI technologies are growing 30% faster with 50% higher profit margins. Peak's CEO outlines the following aspects of retail as the most prospective in terms of embracing AI: 

  • targeted customer acquisition
  • hyper-personalization
  • optimized inventories and allocation
  • optimized fulfillment centers
  • highly efficient logistics 

Retailers integrating AI technologies are growing 30% faster with 50% higher profit margins.

Richard Potter, Peak's CEO

So, what conclusions could we make based on the insights taken from Wired 2019? As you see, retailers continue investing in customer-facing AI-driven technologies. The speakers at Wired Smarter 2019 are also univocal about the decisive role the personalization trend plays in retail today. In this regard, we should not forget that the price, in turn, remains the main and first thing considered by customers while making purchases. What it means is that advanced price optimization software remains one of the most powerful tools retailers can use to increase their revenue and reinforce customer loyalty.