CNSS Keynote Session Recaps: Ulta Beauty, Publicis Groupe and Saks

👉 Register to attend the 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show on June 11-13 in NYC to learn from 150+ industry leaders about ecommerce and retail growth.

In case you were too busy paying attention to take notes or missed out on any topics, we’ve outlined the main takeaways from each keynote session. You can also watch the full sessions on our Youtube Channel.

(Psst… if you’re pressed for time, here are the big themes that came up during the Spring Summit: the importance of personalization, blending digital and physical experiences, being data-driven and staying agile in the wake of change)

Session: Experiential Shopping in The New Normal: Connecting Digital, Physical & Emotional Experiences

Speaker: Prama Bhatt, Chief Digital Officer at Ulta Beauty

  • As we get back to in-person life, start embracing all things omnichannel and find ways to weave digital into physical (and vice versa) to build stronger relationships with customers and allow your brand to provide relevant communications for the right audiences.
  • Personalized digital experiences increase engagement—Ulta’s Glamlab, a virtual try-on experience has improved discovery and play and increased engagement 7-12x over 2020.
  • Customers expect brands to move forward with a purpose, and Ulta is taking their commitment to celebrating inclusivity and diversity seriously: they’re on track to doubling the number of Black-owned brands carried by the end of the year, they’ve launched Conscious Beauty (clean, vegan, cruelty-free products with sustainable packaging) and are working to train employees to properly foster a diverse beauty culture.

Session: Customer Needs in a Post-Pandemic World

Speaker: Jason Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis Groupe

  • The pandemic spurred a lot of behavioral change—some of it will stick (like curbside) and some will likely revert back to pre-pandemic behaviors (like dining out). As you look at your business, it’s important to look for those one way and two way doors when predicting future behavior.
  • Blending the digital and physical shopping experience is increasingly important in retail innovations: ratings and reviews, which are a big draw to online shopping, are now accessible IRL through smart technologies like digital fact tags, allowing consumers to make peer-informed shopping decisions.
  • The future of physical brick-and-mortar stores is also changing: store traffic is down, as customers are going to the store less but buying more, bundling from specific brands/retailers rather than shopping in multiple stores.

Session: Reimagining Marketing for the Next Normal

Speakers: Emily Essner, Chief Marketing Officer at Saks
Interviewed by: Jill Manoff, Editor-in-Chief at Glossy Media

  • Fashion categories are shifting as more people are beginning to resume in-person activities: women’s ready-to-wear is coming back, along with attire for special events/occasions, office wear and menswear.
  • Customers have a wide range of feelings about returning to in-person living—be mindful of creating messaging that is optimistic and focused on the joy of reconnecting while being conscious of the reality that Covid is still hitting some communities harder than others.
  • Use the influence of your brand and platform to take a stance on an issue that is important to your consumers—Saks created the Saks Foundation to help make mental health and mental wellness a priority for all communities, and invested more than $1 million in mental health initiatives just last year.

We learned so many useful tips and strategies at the CommerceNext Spring Summit that will help us all move into the next normal of retail and ecommerce. Among the trends of the next normal is in-person life returning, and we are so excited to finally host in-person summits again, starting with CN IRL, September 28-29 in New York. Learn more about the summit here and apply to attend. We can’t wait to see you all again.