Friday, September 24, 2021
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Hey Google, show me the future of retail

Today we’re hosting our Retail & Consumer Goods Summit, a digital event dedicated to helping leading retailers and brands digitally transform their business. For me, this is a personally exciting moment, as I see tremendous opportunities for those companies that choose to focus on their customers and leverage technology to elevate experiences.

Our event includes breakout sessions to help retailers and brands become customer centric, embrace the digital moment and transform their operations. Some of my favorite sessions include: 

Why Search Abandonment is the metric that matters, highlighting Retail Search, and featuring a conversation with Macy’s

Driving Consumer Closeness in a Privacy-Centric World, discussing how retailers and brands can create a successful first party data strategy, featuring a conversation with P&G

The Modern Store: 7 Innovation Hotspots, sharing how retailers and brands can approach store transformation to unlock the most value from technology, featuring a conversation with The Home Depot.   

I’ll be speaking in our Retail Spotlight session, discussing the current retail landscape and our industry approach, followed by conversations with Albert Bertilsson, Head of Engineering – Edge at IKEA Retail (Indga Group) and Neelima Sharma, Senior Vice President, Technology Ecommerce, Marketing and Merchandising at Lowe’s. 

Let me share a bit more about the topics we’ll discuss in that session.

In retail specifically, digital-first shopping journeys are blurring the lines between the physical and digital brand experience. Shoppers want to know what’s available before they visit your stores, and they expect fulfillment options like curbside pickup. We see this when tracking trends for interest in curbside pickup or in-stock items.

This has left many retailers asking how they can get smarter with their data, tackle the $300 billion dollar problem of “search abandonment,” move faster to create new customer experiences, and do a better job of connecting their employees and customers – with confidence.

Our team has been spending time thinking about how we can rise and succeed in this new era together. We continue to focus on areas where we can bring the best of our capabilities to our retail customers around the world. And we’re focused on ways we can bring the best of what Google has to offer through cloud integrations.

Our goal is to help retailers become customer-centric and data-driven, capture digital and omni-channel revenue growth, create the modern store and drive operational improvement.

Let’s dig into each of these strategic pillars in a bit more detail. 

Become customer centric and data driven

Customers today expect experiences that are timely, targeted, and tailored for them and their needs, and reject experiences that can’t deliver these features. Data modeling, legacy technology, and siloed systems often prevent retailers from providing that level of personalized experience. 

At Google Cloud, we work with global retailers and our ecosystem partners to activate and bring value from first-party data, particularly in the field of customer data platforms (CDPs). This includes integrations from Google Cloud, such as our business intelligence platform Looker and other popular platforms to power one source of customer data through the organization. We also help retailers modernize their data warehouse with Looker for gathering business intelligence across their organization. This is important not just for consumer data, but inventory, supply chain, and store operations as well. 

Capture Digital and Omnichannel Growth 

We power some of the largest e-commerce sites in the world, helping them scale for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday events. While scale is critically important, it’s also important to consider the quality of the online experience. How do your customers find products? How can you help deliver seamless online and omnichannel experiences? 

To help, we’re building product discovery solutions that bring together the best of our technologies that help retailers drive engagement with their consumers. Retail Search, for example, gives retailers the ability to provide Google-quality search on their own digital properties – search that is customizable for their unique business needs and built upon Google’s advanced understanding of user intent & context. 

The imperative is clear. Recent research found that retailers lose more than $300 billion to search abandonment — when purchase intent is not converted into a sale due to bad search results — every year in the US alone. 

Today, we announced that Retail Search is available to a larger set of retailers. If you are interested in learning more about Retail Search you can contact your sales representative for additional details.

Create the modern store  

With the rise of buying trends like curbside pickup and proximity-based search, our Google Maps Platform team is working on new products and features to help raise inventory awareness for your shoppers. We want to help you make it easier for them to understand what’s available to purchase in their channel of choice.

With Product Locator, each product page connects customers with information they need for local pickup and delivery options. This ensures customers are aware of pickup and delivery options throughout the buying journey—not just checkout. 

Awareness of local inventory can boost a wide range of key metrics for your business. Shopify recently shared that shoppers who opt for local pickup over delivery had a +13% higher conversion rate and that 45% of local pickup customers make an additional purchase upon arrival.

This is just one quick example of how our Google Maps Platform team can improve experiences for your shoppers.

Operational improvement

It can be challenging to operate in a world and at a time when consumer behavior and supply chains are so disrupted and volatile, and where entire retail teams had to go remote during the pandemic and beyond. 

We’re working with retailers to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to improve consumer experience through chat bots or conversational commerce that solves problems for customers from anywhere. You can learn more about these offerings in our Conversational Commerce with Google breakout session, featuring Albertsons.

As the need for digital transformation continues to accelerate, Google Cloud is helping retailers stay ahead of the curve with solutions for digital and omnichannel growth, data-driven and customer-focused experiences, and operational improvement. For every era of cloud technologies, from the past into the future, Google Cloud is committed to providing solutions to retailers.

Read more about our solutions for retail, and check out additional sessions, including the CPG Industry Spotlight Session How To Grow Brands in Times of Rapid Change – Featuring L’Oréalat our Retail & Consumer Goods Summit.

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