More than 40 thousand people, 6,200 brands, 100 countries and other impressive numbers! With several records broken, the first day of the NRF 2024 Big Show came to an end. If I could summarize the first day, I would focus on some pillars, such as: Artificial Intelligence, Retail Media, Experience, Customer Focus and brands reinventing themselves to longevity.
And the day started off very well with Michelle Gass, President of Levi Strauss & Co, an iconic brand with 170 years of history. Gass, who assumed the role in January 2023, spoke about the leadership transition and how she participated in planning a smooth transfer of culture and operations, focusing on global growth opportunities for the Levi’s brand.
She emphasized the potential for geographic expansion and product diversification. This was a very interesting point, after all, when we talk about Levi’s, what comes to mind are the traditional pants. Michelle’s work focused on expanding the product mix, including dresses, shirts and other pieces. To achieve this, the company needed to maintain the strength of the brand, investing in complete clothing, strengthening its online presence and omnichannel concepts.
Gauss and the Levi’s team analyzed that they needed to place Levi’s at the center of culture, as well as seek deep connections with social elements such as sports, music and dedicated teams. This change in mindset revitalized the brand in the US and brought a positive impact in challenging markets, such as Asia. And how did they do it? Looking at the customer and what they wanted – obviously in a much more specific way, considering all world markets.
I couldn’t help but mention the incredible Michelle Evans, Global Retail and Digital Consumer Leader at Euromonitor International. For me, without a doubt, one of the best talks of the day, and it was certainly one of the most popular talks during the first day of NRF 2024. The reason for so much desire is simple: it raised the five main digital consumer trends that are shaping the e-commerce landscape.
Intuitive e-commerce, Tiktok economy, outsmart online, recommerece 2.0 and sustainability were the topics of his talk. I don’t want to generalize, but within each topic mentioned by Evans, I see a clear priority: improving the customer’s purchasing journey, personalizing journeys, being aware of what the market “screams”, and how we can use the technologies that emerge to achieve this. .
Intuitive e-commerce? People want to buy without friction and without problems, regardless of the channel: on or off. Personalized offers are gaining ground. Sustainability? This is no longer a trend. Companies that don’t worry about this, apparently, have their days numbered. The resale of high-quality materials to meet the sustainability demand of Gen Z and millennials is a “screaming” need.
And an important point: there is no denying that these digital consumer trends reflect a significant change in the way consumers interact with e-commerce and brands. And for another year, this time even more strongly, Generation Z gained prominence. And that’s for a good reason: it’s leading the AI-driven era, meaning it’s vital to understand how and when to employ this technology. According to information stated in Michelle’s talk, by 2025, 27% of the workforce will be made up of them, and the time to act is now.
Finally, I’m not going to highlight just one talk, but two trends that confirmed my predictions and were talked about a lot on that first day. I heard a lot about Artificial Intelligence, as I said before, especially when dealing with Generation Z, and retail media.
In general, the next challenge related to AI is to make it increasingly operational. For example: How do I use AI to make efficient Powerpoints? How do I analyze data and make people’s lives simpler? It became clear that the next step is to improve the
operational efficiency than using AI for branding – which still requires a more human perspective and “historical baggage”.
Now, regarding retail media, I understand that, in Brazil, we are still in our infancy. Here in the United States I notice a much more mature market. All retailers, from different segments, pharmacies, fashion, marketplaces, among other businesses, already use it with a certain dominance and understanding here. The use of the point of sale as a media point is already intrinsic and retailers have realized that this attention at the time of purchase is valuable.
In other words, it is the right time to monetize point of sale space, whether in the virtual or physical world. It’s a space to make money beyond traditional means, retailers even see it as ADS, thinking about traffic and conversion.
The title of my article, for those who made it this far, may have confused you, right? More of the same…But expectations from the first day of NRF were exceeded. Many interesting topics, rich provocations in the lectures, valuable insights. The provocation in the title is very provocative so that we don’t forget what is most important: the customer and how we use all these trends for them.
*Mariana Tahan is Marketing Director at Locaweb