#RCCSTORE24 Conference – Key Take Aways

Earlier this week the RCC STORE Conference (#RCCSTORE24) showcased some of the current trends and insights for Canadian retailers as well as an opportunity to connect with others in the industry. The conference is one of the most impactful retail conferences in Canada, organized by the Retail Council of Canada.

The conference touched on a variety of topics including supply chain, logistics, security, and most relevant for us, digital. Here’s a quick dive into key takeaways we believe have an impact on the digital ecosystem – the transformative power of AI in retail, shifting generational influences, and new marketing trends.

The Transformative Power of Generative AI in Retail

GenAI’s potential to reshape business processes was a prominent and eagerly anticipated theme. Eric Morris, Managing Director, Head of Retail at Google and Matthew Kropp, Managing Director and Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), elivered an excellent presentation on how GenAI is revolutionizing the retail landscape..

An intriguing method to grasp the multifaceted capabilities of GenAI is through “The 5 Cs of GenAI”—Comprehend, Create, Converse, Coach, and Command. GenAI’s ability to transform natural language into code, deliver comprehensive knowledge at remarkable speed, foster creativity, and provide strategic reasoning is akin to magic.

Eric and Matthew emphasized the importance of deploying GenAI now to stay ahead, reshaping existing processes, and inventing new solutions.

Notable Use Cases for AI

There were two use cases for ecommerece retailers that were worthy of mention in my judgement:

1. Virtual Try-On

Google showcased their virtual try-on initiative, which uses AI to display a single piece of clothing on dozens of different body types. This innovative use case looks fantastic (definitely take a look at Google’s post t and its potential) and will likely significantly enhances customer satisfaction. Also, it helps to reduce return rates by helping shoppers make more informed decisions.

    2. Conversational Shopping

    The concept of a conversational shopping experience, where AI assists customers with queries like dinner party ideas and ingredient suggestions, was particularly exciting. While this option is currently a bit difficult to implement, the approach has big potential to boost customer engagement and satisfaction.

    There was a video during the conference demonstrating the power of conversational shopping showcasing a person that needed ideas for a dinner party. I was not able to capture the video to show in this post, but it is easy to find promotions for this type of tech. Here is a promotional video from Microsoft Cloud for Retail. Microsoft was not present at the conference, but this video showcases the theme in question.

      The Importance of Shifting Generational Influence

      Generational dynamics were also a hot topic at the conference. Kerri-Ann Santaguida, VP & GP of Merchant Services for Amex Canada and Diana Dimitian, a Global commerce executive, emphasized the diverse needs and behaviors across generations. For instance, while Gen X holds the wallet, Gen Z drives digital engagement. Soon the wallet power will shift to Gen Z and Gen Alpha (those succeeding Gen Z) will take the influence wheel.

      This generational shift necessitates tailored strategies in digital. Understanding these varying preferences through data can help retailers optimize their approaches across different platforms, ensuring messages resonate with each demographic segment.

      Leveraging AI for Marketing and Creativity

      The role of AI in addressing the explosion of formats in the last decade also came to light. Consider the different channels and format Gen Z’s and Gen A’s engage on a daily basis – search ads, banners, short video, long video, podcast, TV, radio, print… Not only have the number of formats increased, but the expectation of customized content for each type of content is increasing.

      This is creating the need for massive amounts of content – variations of the same message. AI is poised to help with this challenge.

      Final Thoughts

      This year RCC Store Conference highlighted the critical role of generative AI, the importance of using a combination of data and common sense for digital initiatives, and the critical generational shift impacting all areas of retail.

      As generational influences shift and AI technology advances, the ability to leverage these tools effectively will be key to staying competitive.

      If you would like to discuss how Ayudante can help you gather the right data for you to leverage your digital ecosystem, contact us today.

      Jose Uzcategui

      Global Lead / Sr. Analytics Consultant

      Jose Uzcategui

      Mr. Uzcategui joined Ayudante in Japan after working for ASICS and Amazon. His position previous to Ayudante was as a team leader, working on data construction/implementation and performance improvement using the Google Marketing Platform and the cloud. His hobbies are playing squash and cooking. He enjoys studying Japanese, Spanish, and English, and spring in Japan is his favorite season.