The Future of Retail 2024: Industry Leaders on Emerging Trends and Technologies [Webinar Recap]

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The retail industry is going through a major technological transformation! Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological advancements, the shopping experience will change forever.

A recent webinar hosted by Codilar on June 25th, 2024 dove deep into the transformative altercations in the retail industry. The webinar, “The Future of Retail: Emerging Trends and the Role of Technology,” brought together prominent retail experts and industry leaders to share their valuable insights on how retailers should adapt to changing consumer expectations and upcoming technological innovations.

Overview of Speakers and Topics

Hosted by Hazeem Hanif (Account Manager at Codilar), the webinar featured three keynote speakers and two guest speakers, who shared their unique perspectives and widespread experience in retail and innovation.

Keynote Speakers:

  1. Yazdan Irani (Director, Global Partnerships at Fynd): Known for his unparalleled know-how in unified commerce tech, Yazdan shared his thoughts on how integrated technological solutions can transform the in-store shopping experience and simplify the future of retail trends.
  2. Mairaid Harte (Head of Partnerships, EMEA at Klevu): Specializing in AI-driven product discovery and customer experience, Mairaid contributed to the understanding of how AI enhances customer interactions and retail operations.
  3. Ashwin Santanagopalan (Global Director, Product Marketing at Freshworks): Ashwin focused on AI’s imperative role in retail customer service, improving customer engagement and operational efficiency.

Guest Speakers:

  1. Mostafa T. (General Manager at Wego): Having gathered vast experience in travel technology, Mostafa shared his views on leveraging Gen AI to enhance customer experience and customer service operations.
  2. Vasim Salim (Head of Ecommerce and Marketing at Hotpack Global): Bringing his expertise in omnichannel retail strategies, Vasim discussed the various customer touchpoints integration for a smooth shopping experience. 

Quick Summary on the Future of Retail 2024 Webinar

The webinar covered quite a few crucial topics, highlighting the trends and technology shaping the future of retail for consumer industries.

  • How generative AI can be integrated to enhance and improve customer service and operational efficiency.
  • How omnichannel retail strategies should be leveraged to acquire customers online or offline.
  • How the in-store shopping experience can be enhanced by implementing unified commerce technology.
  • How to personalize customer interactions and streamline operations by taking a strategic approach to use AI.
  • How choosing the right technological solutions is crucial to achieve specific business goals and improve efficiency.

Insights from Key Presentations

1. Unified Commerce and Transformed Retail Experience (Yazdan Irani)

Yazdan highlighted the role unified commerce plays in crafting better in-store shopping experiences while also mentioning how their Endless Aisle solution has improved sales for many brands. He noted the trend of businesses leveraging marketplaces to build an audience and subsequently directing them to their direct-to-consumer (D2C) websites to improve margins. Irani also discussed the financial challenges in e-commerce and the need for value-added incentives to attract customers to D2C platforms.

2. AI in Product Discovery and Customer Experience (Mairaid Harte)

Mairaid discussed the importance of AI in product discovery and customer experience. She emphasized the launch of Klevu’s AI virtual assistant, Moi, which mimics in-store experiences online. Harte stressed the need for businesses to focus on their objectives and challenges before implementing AI solutions to ensure they address specific needs effectively.

3. Impact of Generative AI on Retail (Ashwin Santanagopalan)

Ashwin outlined the significant impact of generative AI on the retail industry, particularly in enhancing customer engagement and scaling operations to meet market demands. He stressed the necessity for retailers to adopt omnichannel strategies to stay relevant in the future of retail.

4. AI in Customer Service Operations (Mostafa T.)

Mostafa from Wego shared insights on how generative AI, particularly the Fred AI bot from Freshworks, has revolutionized their customer service operations. He explained how the AI bot facilitates customer interactions from start to finish and provides comprehensive summaries of customer interactions for better strategic decision-making.

5. Omnichannel Retail Strategy (Vasim Salim)

Vasim of Hotpack Global discussed their omnichannel retail approach, which ensures their presence across various customer touchpoints, including WhatsApp, online stores, showrooms, and hypermarkets. He highlighted the use of AI-based chatbots and search functionalities to enhance customer interactions and product recommendations.

Statistics and Data Points

  • According to a YouGov report cited by Mairaid Harte, only 3% of British adults have not shopped online in the past six months, indicating a significant shift towards online shopping in the post-COVID-19 era.
  • Freshworks, represented by Ashwin Santanagopalan, reported over $600 million in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in 2023, highlighting the growing reliance on AI-driven customer service solutions.

Quotes from the Speakers

  • Mairaid Harte: “It’s about really drilling down to what key requirements you need and then picking the right technology, not picking technology first and then fitting the business needs to that.”
  • Yazdan Irani: “If you have built a strong connection and can show what the product offers, customers will be willing to come to the D2C website.”
  • Ashwin Santanagopalan: “Generative AI is probably the biggest technology that is going to have a significant impact on the retail industry.”

The webinar was a grand success! The speakers shared their insights into the future of retail in 2024. Moreover, they responded to the curious minds that shared their questions through the webinar.

If you missed the webinar for any reason, we’ve got it recorded for you.

Visit this link to watch the webinar:

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