Top 5 Learnings from the 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show

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The 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show on June 11-13 at the New York Hilton Midtown brought together over 2000 attendees from top retail brands and innovative technology companies, 150+ industry-leading speakers and featured 75+ sessions. This premier event for ecommerce, marketing and tech professionals showcased the latest trends, strategies and insights shaping the future of retail. Read on to dive into the top 5 takeaways from this year’s event, providing actionable insights to propel your business forward in the ever-changing retail landscape.

 

  1. Fashion Forward: Walmart’s Strategy To Attract the Next Generation of Shoppers

Takeaway: For Fashion Retailers, The Online Experience Must Seamlessly Guide Customers Through The Purchase Journey With Intuitive And Engaging Features

In Walmart’s journey to become a fashion destination, the key lies in adapting to consumer demands and leveraging technology. Denise Incandela, EVP of Walmart US’s Fashion Division, emphasized the importance of democratizing fashion by making it accessible and affordable, a strategy that resonates with diverse audiences. Their focus on private brands and collaborations with designers reflects a commitment to meeting evolving consumer needs.

Walmart’s transformation showcases a seamless blend of in-store and online innovation. By revamping visual merchandising and integrating AI-driven features like “complete the look” and “fit predictor,” alongside a unique collaboration with Roblox, Walmart offers a dynamic shopping experience. For ecommerce and marketing executives, Walmart’s strategy exemplifies how traditional retailers can remain relevant through consumer-centric approaches and technological advancements.

 

2. Unlocking Growth Potential: How To Win CFOs Over to Marketing and Ecommerce Investments

Takeaway: Aligning on Key Metrics and Building Personal Relationships are Key to Driving Successful Collaboration between CFOs and Digital Teams

In the keynote fireside chat, “Unlocking Growth Potential: How to Win CFOs Over to Marketing and Ecommerce Investments,” CFOs from Uniqlo, Brooklinen and Coach emphasized the importance of key metrics and personal relationships in fostering successful CMO/CFO collaborations. Alex Goldelman, Susan Weisel and Alex Brocklehurst shared insights on how crucial metrics such as LTV, total shareholder return, incremental margin and sales drive alignment and decision-making. They stressed that clear communication and visibility in business cases are essential for proving aggregate growth and justifying investments.

Beyond metrics, the panelists highlighted the importance of personal relationships in building trust and effective collaboration. Getting to know each other personally and engaging in open, constructive debates were foundational to understanding each other’s perspectives and achieving alignment. Establishing trust and fostering open communication can unlock significant growth potential and drive value creation within organizations.

 

3. Fanatics: Creating 10x Growth and a Global Brand Through Culture, Agility and Innovation

Takeaway: Differentiated Merchandising and Strong Company Culture to Encourage Speed and Agility are Key to Unlocking Growth

Fanatics, a brand that has achieved exponential growth, emphasizes the importance of a unique merchandising strategy. Doug Mack, former CEO of Fanatics, shared that a differentiated product offering is essential for retail success, helping brands stand out in a crowded market. This strategy was pivotal for Fanatics, where exclusive merchandise and private labels significantly contributed to its rise as a leading sportswear brand.

Beyond merchandising, Mack highlighted the crucial role of a robust tech infrastructure and a cohesive company culture. Modernizing the tech stack allowed Fanatics to enable real-time responsiveness and data-driven decisions. However, the company’s culture, inspired by leaders like Nike and Amazon, was the true growth driver. By fostering a culture of speed, agility and connectedness, Fanatics created an environment of trust and empowerment, aligning everyone towards the goal of becoming the top sports fan brand. Mack’s future endeavors with REI reflect his belief in blending digital innovation with authentic in-store experiences to drive retail success.

 

4. The Z Suite on Brand Values

Takeaway: Authenticity and Transparency Define Gen Z’s Brand Loyalty

In the Z-Suite panel, young consumers emphasized that authenticity and transparency are paramount for brands to earn their loyalty. Panelists shared that brands like Glossier, which genuinely value customer opinions and maintain high product quality, resonate well with them. They expect brands to go beyond performative commitments to social and environmental issues, focusing on long-term quality and sustainability. This includes offering repair services and promoting re-commerce, demonstrating a real commitment to sustainability.

Transparency in pricing and business practices also emerged as crucial. An example discussed was a brand that explained the high cost of its products compared to cheaper alternatives by detailing supply chain costs and living wages. This level of honesty was surprising and appreciated by the panelists, showing that when brands are transparent about their operations, they can build trust even when prices are higher.

 

5. Fashion Disrupted: SHEIN’s Journey To Become a Next-Gen Brand Leader

Takeaway: Embrace Agility and Prioritize Consumer Feedback to Ensure You’re Delivering the Right Product & Experience to Customers 

SHEIN’s journey to becoming a next-gen brand leader highlights the transformative power of embracing agility and prioritizing consumer feedback. Their ability to connect designers and consumers in a dynamic, seasonless manner underscores the importance of staying responsive to market demands.

Key to SHEIN’s strategy is a culture of experimentation and adaptation, driven by a willingness to fail and pivot swiftly. By leveraging A/B testing and deep consumer engagement, SHEIN continuously refines its offerings, ensuring relevance and profitability. This iterative,  customer-centric approach exemplifies a forward-thinking ethos that resonates with today’s conscious consumers.

 

These top five insights are just a taste of the abundance of growth strategies shared at the 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show. Find more session videos and learnings today on our Youtube channel.

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