We’re continuing the conversation on Smart Retail Technology with omnichannel expert and Forbes contributor, Chris Walton of Omni Talk and Loïc Oumier, VP Operational & Digital Marketing at SES-imagotag. They will discuss and share their insights on:
There will be time at the end for live Q&A.
Automated Transcript May Contain Errors
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Megan Lueders: Hello and welcome to our webinar titled What's Next in Smart Retail Technology. If you're joining us we'll be starting momentarily.
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Megan Lueders: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us today for the what's next in smart Retail technology, we are giving everyone a few minutes to join and we'll get started momentarily. Thank you so much for being here.
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Megan Lueders: Hello and welcome. Thank you so much for joining us for today's webinar on What's Next in Smart Retail Technology.
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Megan Lueders: We are going to allow participants to join. Give them a few more minutes to come on board and we'll get started momentarily. Thank you so much for being here. You've got another minute or two to go grab a drink of water if necessary.
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Megan Lueders: Hello and welcome. We are so glad to have you here. We are going to start momentarily. We're going to allow a few more.
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Megan Lueders: folks to join the webinar and we'll get started momentarily. If you need to go run and grab a drink of water, feel free to do so we'll get started. Probably in another minute or so.
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Megan Lueders: Got a few more people trickling in. We are going to get started in a few more seconds. Let the people's meetings that run over, going to give them that that last few seconds before they join in. We all know
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Megan Lueders: In this day and age, how that goes with your wrapping up one meeting. You got to get on the other and you need that quick break before you before you tune in. So I we'll start another couple seconds. Thank you so much for being here.
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Megan Lueders: Okay, well let's get started. Hello and welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today for our discussion with three really great thought leaders who will share their insights and discuss what they are seeing for
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Megan Lueders: what is in store for smart retail technology. What's next? So my name is Megan Lueders. I am the Chief Marketing Officer of Silicon Labs and I'll be the moderator for today's session.
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Megan Lueders: A few housekeeping tips before we dig right into it. We have a live Q&A option that will happen at the very end of today's webinar. So at the bottom of your screen, please feel free to submit questions.
1200:05:31.290 --> 00:05:43.500Megan Lueders: At any point throughout the session, we will try to answer them live. And if we don't get to them, we will we will offer an email response after but please use that q&a box at the bottom and
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Megan Lueders: With that, let's get started and jump right into it. We have about 45 minutes to an hour to spend with you and can't wait to introduce you to our
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Megan Lueders: amazing lineup of panelists. So Chris, let's get started with you if you can introduce yourself, your company, and then we'll move on.
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Chris Walton: Yes, love to Megan, thanks so much for having me. First of all, background on me. I've been in retail over 20 years now, believe it or not, I started my career out in the gap in San Francisco in the late 90s.
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Chris Walton: And then I joined up with Target spent about 15 or 12 years or so, at Target, starting in 2005 there. I did almost every job under the sun. I was a traditional store merchant.
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Chris Walton: I ran a store and was also a district manager in the field out in Colorado.
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Chris Walton: Was the Vice President of home furnishings for Target.com and most recently was the Vice President of their store, the future project. And that's probably what's most remain today.
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Chris Walton: I spent two years designing, really trying to answer, designing and trying to answer the question 5 to 10 years out, why are people still coming to physical stores to shop.
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Chris Walton: And how would you conceive the Target brand and trying to answer that question. So I have a lot of experience in looking from a scale perspective at what works and what doesn't work when you start
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Chris Walton: talking about technology and consumer experiences. I left Target in 2017 and ever since then, that's actually all I do. All I do is write and talk about the future of retail. So I started my own blog. It's called Omni Talk.
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Chris Walton: I'm a Senior Contributor for Forbes, and you'll find that I write for them, about five or six times a month through my blog, Omni Talk. We do a podcast,
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Chris Walton: weekly video all on the top headlines and news in retail about how the future is playing out over this time. That's about 200,000 followers too. So, that's what we do every single day, is just live and eat this subject.
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Megan Lueders: Great. And it's an excellent blog. So, where I get my, the latest, the latest news so I appreciate all that you do to keep us updated in and informed. So thank you Chris and happy to have you here. Loïc, let's move over to you.
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Loïc Oumier: Yeah, thank you, Megan. So my name is Loïc. I work for SES-imagotag. So it's potentially an energy, don't know very well right now.
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Loïc Oumier: But at SES-imagotag, basically what we do is that we try to turn any physical store into a digital asset.
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Loïc Oumier: We manufacture editing shelf labels like the ones you can see on the screen.
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Loïc Oumier: And these labels, we are transforming paper labels into automatic paper or digital displays, meaning that you can automate your prices, you can automate your promotions and you can leverage these displays for much more such as promotions, for instance.
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Loïc Oumier: Any shopper interactions and so on. To this date, we have about 20,000 stores and bring our solution to running for about 200 million labels around the world and spread over more than 60 countries.
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Loïc Oumier: Myself, I'm working at the marketing and communications department and it's been five years now, and I am very happy to be part of this webinar. Would like to thank Silicon Labs for the invitation and I read it, Omni Talk is a really great blog as well.
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Megan Lueders: Great.
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Megan Lueders: Great. We'll be sure to share the links of all of our blogs when we're done with all of our participants. So thank you. Ross, let's move over to you and have you introduce yourself.
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Ross Sabolcik: Thanks. Megan. My name is Ross Sabolcik, I'm the Vice President and General Manager in charge of industrial and commercial IoT products at Silicon Labs.
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Ross Sabolcik: I've been with Silicon Labs over 20 years in a variety of roles. And then the last two years, I've really been focused on how we can deploy our IoT technologies
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Ross Sabolcik: into applications around commercial retail and industrial. And one of the areas we're finding great interest and great use cases for our technology is in the smart retail space.
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Ross Sabolcik: So, I'm excited to be a part of the panel today and to work with Chris and Loïc here and to answer any questions that come up during our presentation.
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Megan Lueders: Fantastic, thank you so much and
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Megan Lueders: certainly a broad diversification of panelists. And for those of you who just joined, we have live Q&A that will be available and we will certainly answer those questions at the end. Please use
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Megan Lueders: The Q&A box to submit at any point throughout the discussion. So let's get started and jump right into it with a discussion on, and really, the kind of the current state of retail.
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Megan Lueders: Every time you turn on the news or you
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Megan Lueders: read an article, read one of these great blog posts, you are reading about any retailer from big box to grocery to small retailers. They are everywhere
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Megan Lueders: in a discussion. And notably, one of the hardest hit industries that has just been severely impacted by this pandemic. So Chris, let's start with you.
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Megan Lueders: As someone who has been in retail technology at Target, you speak with more retail companies than probably any of us do. What is your take on the state of retail today?
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Chris Walton: Yeah, I mean, no doubt, it's changing. I think when I look at it,
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Chris Walton: I find when you pull back, I think there's two things that are going on. I think number one is probably definitively Covid related but the other two, I think, is what's happening before,
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Chris Walton: and it's probably just happening faster now because of Covid and honestly because of what Amazon's doing. And the first one is really
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Chris Walton: what I would call it, you know, there's just this huge focus on health and safety right now.
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Chris Walton: Now the buzzword in the industry is okay, how do you make that experience
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Chris Walton: contactless, right? How do you keep people safe, both your employees and your customers? So I think that is what's causing a lot of the innovation across the industry right now and I'll
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Chris Walton: talk in a minute about in terms of what you're seeing across different segments.
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Chris Walton: The other thing, though, that I think is happening that I think we cannot lose sight of is that the bar on convenience is also getting pushed higher.
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Chris Walton: I think Amazon continues to do this. I think we can't sleep on the fact that Amazon just last month opened up 2 new grocery stores, for example, they opened another go grocery store in Seattle.
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Chris Walton: They opened up their Woodland Hills store in California, which is you know roughly thirty to forty thousand square feet and it comes with a whole host of different activations.
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Chris Walton: Like they're continuing to push the bar of what consumers can expect. Walmart is too in terms of what they're doing with pickup, concierge shopping, their new Walmart Plus Program.
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Chris Walton: Things are not going to stop in those directions. And so I think then when you double click in from just those macro level trends,
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Chris Walton: what you start to see is patterns that emerge that are really clear. Well, where's the activity happening. Well, first and foremost, it's happening in grocery and convenience. Well, why? Because those businesses are essential.
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Chris Walton: And honestly, because Amazon is pushing the bar there pretty quickly.
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Chris Walton: The other place I think you're seeing it is mass, like Walmart and the Targets of the world have done really well and continue to do so. Also because they can be open,
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Chris Walton: but also, they've taken a very smart approach in terms of thinking about their stores
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Chris Walton: as almost nodes in their network in a different way to offer a range of flexible options for consumers, but people aren't really sure how to shop right now and that matters.
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Chris Walton: The place that's probably going to struggle the most that I think I'd love to talk about at some point during this and depends what the Q&A is too,
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Chris Walton: the places that still are struggling are really anything that's mall or mall based, of course, you've got the Covid factors there, which I think are real in terms of people not wanting to go indoors,
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Chris Walton: but the other thing to remember, there is there's a lot of infrastructural dynamics there in terms of how those retailers operate,
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Chris Walton: that are very different from say grocery and mass. Right. How do you offer concierge services, pickup service, where do customers go? How do you make those shopping experiences more convenient when they're all interconnected in a lot of ways?
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Chris Walton: That's still a huge challenge. And so how the rubber meets the road in that during this period of time and over the next two or three years, I think it's still a big open question.
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Megan Lueders: Fantastic, and could not agree more. I think all these are just plaguing questions of "what's next?" and "how is this going going to work?" and we will absolutely get back to your shopping mall
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Megan Lueders: reference towards the end. So Loïc maybe from a global perspective, how are things similar? How is it different than what you're seeing in the US? and obviously Amazon is global, but from a different, your perspective, how do you see things uniquely playing out?
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Loïc Oumier: Yeah. So Megan, preface I'm based in Paris, in France. Our company is also headquartered in Paris. We have most of our stores in Europe, but we also have a few of them in Asia and
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Loïc Oumier: plenty of them actually in the US.
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Loïc Oumier: What we see for sure, and I completely agree with Chris, is that there is, there always was a need to achieve the digital transformation of retail.
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Loïc Oumier: Because we wanted to turn their store into a true digital asset but sometimes they couldn't or didn't have the time to do so and so on.
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Loïc Oumier: If there's one thing that we're convinced now with this crisis in the context, its that retailers will want to do this and potentially faster than ever.
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Loïc Oumier: We need to leverage technology, we need to leverage IoT to truly transform the stores because shopper behaviors are changing very fast and sometimes the states,
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Loïc Oumier: or the country, they're also asking for new regulations. We mentioned contactless, but you also have new users and some that are used for a long time in
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Loïc Oumier: Europe, like curbside pickup and it's now only really beginning in the US, for instance. And this we see a truth extension in Europe in France, for sure, but in all across Europe, in Asia, and the US as well.
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Loïc Oumier: That's one thing. When it comes to retail technology in stores. It's always also about making the store more efficient and also creating or enabling a better experience for the shopper.
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Loïc Oumier: And when you have this question of safety, of health, it's really about both combined. Let's say you need to have items on stock. You need to have
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Loïc Oumier: items on shelves and at the same time, you need to have faster processing you need to have smaller checkout lines and so on. So, that
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Loïc Oumier: when you go to a store, it's not at all a pain point. It's only what you want to checkout and what you want at the time when you go to the store, actually.
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Loïc Oumier: So it's really about bringing the e-commerce experience to a physical store. And that's what we want to we want to achieve. It's our true vision and it's something we're seeing all across retail, to be honest, across industries and verticals, and in all countries.
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Megan Lueders: Fascinating, and you know we talk all the time about this digital transformation that every industry is in, but it is really the consumer and the customer transformation that we are seeing emerge in front of us. Right.
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Megan Lueders: Right now, more than ever, and it's something that we have to be able to respond to. So thank you, Loïc, for that. And Ross, let's turn to you, you know, you come about this with a little different perspective.
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Megan Lueders: You know, and you're part of a semiconductor and software company, how does Silicon Labs fit into the retail landscape.
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Ross Sabolcik: Great question, Megan. So as Megan said, Silicon Labs, we're the provider of the underlying technology that underpins many of these systems.
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Ross Sabolcik: So the RF communication that allows electronic shelf label system or that it allows to do asset tracking in a store.
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Ross Sabolcik: And, you know, one of the, I think unique perspectives we have is we sell into numerous systems that are deployed in retail.
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Ross Sabolcik: So, be that ESL or be it lighting or be it point of sale. So we have a vision of the market through a lot of different types of applications
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Ross Sabolcik: And one of the things that we're seeing those customers tell us is that it's important that the system they bring to market offers multiple value propositions.
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Ross Sabolcik: Not just a single value proposition. You know, the cost of building out these systems, building out, installing, provisioning, and maintaining these systems can be
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Ross Sabolcik: You know, meaningful. So the ability to be able to get multiple services deployed on one of these systems is becoming really important.
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Ross Sabolcik: And that could be, you know, in the case of shelf labels, a click-to-cart type model, and help shoppers who are, you know, picking for curbside delivery, find product in the store quicker.
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Ross Sabolcik: That could be using the lighting systems that are deployed in the store to do asset tracking.
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Ross Sabolcik: So I think, you know, what we see is getting that technology deployed is just the first step. And we help make that easy and robust and reliable.
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Ross Sabolcik: But then those systems need to really deliver multiple value props to both the consumers who are coming into the store and also the retail operators to be more efficient in their operations. So I think that's unique what we see across all these different systems.
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Megan Lueders: Absolutely, and I know being part of Silicon Labs, right, we hear from multiple retailers and they're sharing, just as you mentioned, right, these complexities both that have to happen at the store, and then how do they, how do they activate with the consumer as well.
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Megan Lueders: What are the main challenges they're coming to you, when they come into Silicon Labs, what are they coming to, what are the biggest opportunities that are in front of them?
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Ross Sabolcik: Yeah, so, you know, when you look at deploying one of these systems, the installation and the provisioning is really important.
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Ross Sabolcik: And, you know, to make that to make that system robust and reliable, what we bring to the table is a wealth of wireless connectivity that can be deployed in that system.
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Ross Sabolcik: And if you look at our history in the space, Silicon Labs has been doing IoT for over 10 years. And our wireless technology is in many, many large mission critical installations.
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Ross Sabolcik: So, you know, being able to take technology that's been field hardened in let's say 15 million unit installation or something like utility networks,
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Ross Sabolcik: where it's been really tested and proven and being able to deploy that in other applications like retail,
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Ross Sabolcik: I think that's that a strong statement to our customers that what they get is going to work. It's been field proven and it's tested. So I think that's a big part of what we bring to the equation is that wealth of IOT experience and installations, we have.
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Megan Lueders: Right, exactly. And, you know, one thing that several of you are kind of alluding to, and we'll transition to another big topic of ours is
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Megan Lueders: On omni channel. It's a consistent theme I hear about. Chris, you write about it clearly with the title of your blog.
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Megan Lueders: It's apparent. It's on top of mind for each of you, but obviously all of our retailers and clearly the consumers, whether they know that's what it is or not.
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Megan Lueders: Chris, let's start with you and share. Let's just make sure we're on the same playing field. What does it mean? What does omni channel mean? Why is it so important for retailers to take hold of this and act on it?
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Chris Walton: Yeah, I love that question. And I personally, as you know, from somebody with the blog Omni Talk, I'm glad that word is back in vogue too. There were a couple of years there where people, you know, had questions about the word and I always,
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Chris Walton: my running joke with them was okay well, explain to me when it really should be. And at the end of the day, everyone is explaining the same thing and
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Chris Walton: And really what it is and you guys have alluded to it already, it's basically a system, it's an interconnected system. In a lot of ways it's a smart system, the way we, you know, we've talked about this webinar
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Chris Walton: where the consumer really has all of the control, right. Where retail specifically is almost like a choose your own adventure type of experience for them. They can interact with the retailer brand however they want, whenever they want to.
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Chris Walton: And it's beholden to the retailer to figure out how to make that happen.
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Chris Walton: And so for me, I would actually say I would expand upon what Ross was saying, I would actually say the first step in this whole thing
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Chris Walton: is really having the belief that there are network effects from the connnectivity of how one thinks about this.
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Chris Walton: And so the way I always talk about this in terms of what is omni channel fundamentally, it's like what Loïc said, it's the digitization of really the store. We've always understood digital online,
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Chris Walton: but we've never been able to digitize the store in the same way where we can understand movement, where product is, the same way we can understand how a mouse moves on a browser.
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Chris Walton: That's fundamentally, if you're doing this right, what you're able to do as a retailer.
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Chris Walton: Now to make that happen. There's three key pieces. Number one is what I call cloud commerce.
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Chris Walton: Essentially, you have to have the foundational system where you can get all of the data that you're needing to acquire and be able to process it and understand it in real time no matter what the season and no matter what the scale requirements might be.
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Chris Walton: The second piece of, or second leg of the stool, is what I call systems of data capture or recording.
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Chris Walton: And that can be lots of things. It can be an electronic shelf label. It can be a lighting system like Ross was mentioning. It can be a scan and go mobile application. It can be a
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Chris Walton: magic mirror in your fitting room, something the employee uses. It can be all kinds of things, and it'll be different depending on what the brand is and how they want to set up all this infrastructure collectively.
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Chris Walton: But at the end of the day, you need something that records the activity. Similar to how the mouse is recording the activity on the browser like I described before.
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Chris Walton: And then third, and finally, and I think this is the important thing. And I think when this is added into the entire equation,
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Chris Walton: this is really when you've reached kind of that omni channel Nirvana and that's the third part. This was what I call location or context analytics.
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Chris Walton: So it's understanding your consumer in both mind and body depending on where he or she is whether its digitally doing something or out in the physical world.
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Chris Walton: Location analytics. That's simple, right? It's like basically understanding where in the store somebody is, what they're doing, what they're looking at, why that matters and then being able to serve up
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Chris Walton: business appropriate things to the consumer, for what they're desiring. The other important part is the context, though. What state of mind are people in?
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Chris Walton: That's why Alexa is so fundamentally interesting as a smart technology. That's why it's such a fundamentally interesting part
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Chris Walton: of being placed in the new Woodland Hills Amazon grocery store. Is it Amazon through Alexa, knows if we're happy, knows if we're sad, knows if we just got in a fight with our spouse, like those things matter as you start talking about consumer experiences.
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Chris Walton: And so, as all of these three legs of the store put together, then the retailer can start to understand their consumers in different ways. And then they can start to flex and ebb and flow different things that they offer to them when they most need it.
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Megan Lueders: Fascinating. And I think your three pillars are a great way, a great perspective to give us and
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Megan Lueders: to kind of set the tone and I'm sure you've got great examples of retailers that have accelerated and specialized in one of those pillars or legs really well and then others that are really achieving at the two and the three mark.
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Chris Walton: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I actually am writing a piece about this right now, hopefully to put out in Forbes here within the next week or so if you guys want to look at this, but basically it's called the five stages of omni channel retailing and I think you're right, Megan. You're alluding
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Chris Walton: to it. Most retailers, especially under Covid,
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Chris Walton: are probably really sitting in kind of like a stage two or three operation. They've had
13600:24:38.010 --> 00:24:46.140
Chris Walton: an online website. They've had a store. They're now trying to figure out how to bring those together and they're trying to do it really, really fast and those operations have probably been separate
13700:24:46.350 --> 00:24:53.280
Chris Walton: instead of designed with this holistic mindset fresh from the the ground up, right from the beginning. And so they're trying to triage and to figure out what they can do.
13800:24:53.730 --> 00:24:58.200
Chris Walton: But there are examples that I think that are fundamental in terms of seeing how this is going to evolve.
13900:24:58.590 --> 00:25:04.080
Chris Walton: And there's retailers where I say they're more kind stage four. No one's really stage five. The best example of that's probably Alibaba
14000:25:04.350 --> 00:25:08.610
Chris Walton: overseas in China. But here in the US, like stage four retailers that I would look at,
14100:25:09.060 --> 00:25:17.190
Chris Walton: I think Walmart's doing really fantastic things. What Walmart is doing with their Sam's Club organization, for example, is really, really interesting. So
14200:25:17.640 --> 00:25:27.990
Chris Walton: Sam's Club, they have a store called "Sam's Club Now", which, it's a concept store in Texas where they took an entire store offline. And basically, the way that store works is you can only shop it using your mobile phone.
14300:25:28.680 --> 00:25:34.860
Chris Walton: You enter using your mobile phone, you scan everything on the shelves with your mobile phone, and then you go through a controlled exit and you leave.
14400:25:35.310 --> 00:25:41.340
Chris Walton: Well, by doing that, essentially, like I described, it's a recording device. Sam's Club can understand everything that's happening in that store.
14500:25:41.910 --> 00:25:47.340
Chris Walton: Sam's Club also had that technology since 2016 and all of its stores as just an additional add-on.
14600:25:47.880 --> 00:25:53.790
Chris Walton: And what's fascinating about it is now you look at what Walmart's doing, conversely on the other side, they're using Sam's Club as kind of their petri dish here.
14700:25:54.570 --> 00:25:59.940
Chris Walton: But Sam's Club on the other side has what's called an intelligent retail lab out in New York, where they have cameras in the ceiling and they're
14800:26:00.060 --> 00:26:06.390
Chris Walton: using computer vision to track everything that's happening in and around that store, everything employees are doing, everything that's happening with product.
14900:26:07.290 --> 00:26:13.560
Chris Walton: But then you look, they just unveiled Walmart Plus, their new $98 per year subscription program. What's a part of that? Well, scan and go.
15000:26:14.160 --> 00:26:24.240
Chris Walton: Why? Well because it's another piece of this whole puzzle. It gets people to start using that inside their stores, possibly in concert with computer vision down the line. You start to get this
15100:26:24.660 --> 00:26:33.270
Chris Walton: omni channel understanding of what consumers need in addition to all the ballyhooed things that are talked about in terms of order delivery, curbside pickup, and things of that nature.
15200:26:34.050 --> 00:26:41.820
Chris Walton: But I think the real ultimate example right now, it's still, you know, it's still Amazon. I mean, I think we have to admit it. I think you look at what's going on within Woodland Hills.
15300:26:42.360 --> 00:26:48.270
Chris Walton: You've got electronic shelf labels. You've got Alexa part of that store. You've got smart cards.
15400:26:48.600 --> 00:26:58.890
Chris Walton: They don't have computer vision yet, at least publicly announced in that operation, but they've got the go grocery store in 10,000 square feet that does work that way where it's completely checkout free.
15500:26:59.250 --> 00:27:09.150
Chris Walton: You can already start to see how they're going to put all of those legs of the stool together at some point in time when they feel ready and when the customers feel ready, which I think is an important thing.
15600:27:09.570 --> 00:27:21.210
Chris Walton: So they're still to me and kind of that North Star beacon that I look to in terms of how this whole industry, especially grocery, is going to change in terms of what consumers expectations are around what an omni channel experience is.
15700:27:22.230 --> 00:27:34.020
Megan Lueders: Right. Can't wait. Can't wait to see it all evolve. And Loïc, let's move to you and ask, how do you look at Omni channels or anything different that you want to add, and you're coming at it from a different perspective as well.
15800:27:35.130 --> 00:27:42.840
Loïc Oumier: I think it's pretty interesting what Chris said because this one common theme to all of that is just to make the experience much better for the customer in the end.
15900:27:43.380 --> 00:27:50.820
Loïc Oumier: Whether it's scan and go, whether it's curb side, whether it's Amazon online and there's an in-store and Alibaba in China. We know them very well as well. I mean,
16000:27:51.720 --> 00:27:58.950
Loïc Oumier: It doesn't matter what you do in the end. The only thing is that you have to make the shopping experience better and faster. And now also safer.
16100:27:59.610 --> 00:28:07.620
Loïc Oumier: And I think omni channel used to be, two or three few years ago, a tech term, and now it's a retail service term, in my opinion. It's really something about customer service.
16200:28:07.950 --> 00:28:16.470
Loïc Oumier: And not just something, you know for CIOs or CTOs, it's for everyone, really. And it's also something that we are really trying to take care of because
16300:28:16.980 --> 00:28:20.610
Loïc Oumier: when you implement technology in the store, sometimes you can, not
16400:28:21.540 --> 00:28:26.520
Loïc Oumier: hit a wall, but you can be stuck because your devices are not talking to each other, you know. You have
16500:28:26.880 --> 00:28:37.770
Loïc Oumier: another very increased IoT penetration within your store. You can have computer vision, you can have ESLs, you can have POS, PDAs and so on. But if they don't talk to each other, if you don't have this network
16600:28:38.460 --> 00:28:45.630
Loïc Oumier: working as well, you're meant to be there and you can have a fully increased TCO, total cost of ownership, which can be in the end,
16700:28:46.140 --> 00:28:55.740
Loïc Oumier: just fully bad for your store and the whole chain. And that's something that we are trying to do, but plenty of IOT companies are also doing it.
16800:28:56.340 --> 00:29:02.550
Loïc Oumier: It's really about giving value to the devices and the technology where we can store. I think those are two very important things.
16900:29:03.660 --> 00:29:08.160
Megan Lueders: Right. Right. And I know, hopefully we'll talk a little bit more about TCO
17000:29:08.790 --> 00:29:24.690
Megan Lueders: in just a moment, but I think that's a critical component that you just mentioned, and we'll dig into that. So, Ross. You know, how does Silicon Labs think about omni channel? Again, we have a different perspective on this and how are the customers you're working with seeing benefits?
17100:29:25.350 --> 00:29:28.530
Ross Sabolcik: Yeah I would echo a lot of what Chris and Loïc have said.
17200:29:29.610 --> 00:29:42.030
Ross Sabolcik: You know, the point I made earlier about trying to be, have multiple value propositions that you mine from these systems or you enable with these systems, I think, is really critical
17300:29:42.780 --> 00:29:54.480
Ross Sabolcik: Kind of as was mentioned when you're trying to deploy multiple systems from multiple vendors, you know, that is, that's a real challenge for the retailers today. We hear pretty consistently.
17400:29:55.350 --> 00:30:02.130
Ross Sabolcik: You know, you may use your lighting system for indoor navigation, you may have a separate ESL system that you're using for click-to-cart.
17500:30:02.520 --> 00:30:12.570
Ross Sabolcik: You may have a loyalty app that you're using that is communicating with the Wi-Fi access points you have to do heat maps of how shoppers are moving through the store.
17600:30:13.230 --> 00:30:26.490
Ross Sabolcik: And I think that each of those systems brings a certain suite of those functionalities for the retailer. But today, not a complete suite. So,
17700:30:27.000 --> 00:30:36.630
Ross Sabolcik: You're typically trying to at some level in your back office bring these systems together to get to that sort of level five or level four that Chris mentioned earlier.
17800:30:37.260 --> 00:30:45.270
Ross Sabolcik: And what we see though, from our customers, is continuing to expand the services that are available on each one of these platforms.
17900:30:45.600 --> 00:30:54.780
Ross Sabolcik: So, that is, that's one way to try to solve this problem of integration in the back office, is through flexibility in that platform.
18000:30:55.380 --> 00:31:08.790
Ross Sabolcik: And part of, I think, what we can bring to the table is given that we see so much of IoT, not just in retail, but in all of these other spaces as well, be it hospitality or home or industrial,
18100:31:09.210 --> 00:31:18.600
Ross Sabolcik: you know, I think we see some similar problems, is the scale goes up on these systems that we can address with our technology.
18200:31:19.620 --> 00:31:22.200
Ross Sabolcik: So those are some of the big trends that we see, Megan.
18300:31:22.500 --> 00:31:32.340
Megan Lueders: Yeah, and I like that allusion to some of the convergence that we're seeing in smart home to what's happening in the retail store. And I do believe, as Chris, you've talked to, with the,
18400:31:32.670 --> 00:31:36.180
Megan Lueders: mentioning the Alexa, it is all starting to get a little bit more blended.
18500:31:36.450 --> 00:31:47.370
Megan Lueders: And that's exciting for the advancements both at the consumer and obviously at the retail store. So obviously, we've talked a lot about what these components are in technology is the underpinning
18600:31:47.790 --> 00:32:03.750
Megan Lueders: to making all of this happen. Let's talk about technology deployments and Chris, you did a great job of highlighting some examples with Walmart and Alibaba and Amazon with their retail stores that are deploying various infrastructure technologies, both in store and online.
18700:32:05.130 --> 00:32:07.290
Megan Lueders: Loïc, ESL
18800:32:08.460 --> 00:32:17.190
Megan Lueders: Electronic shelf labeling, how prevalent? I mean this is what you all do so well. What are the benefits for retailers?
18900:32:18.270 --> 00:32:19.740
Loïc Oumier: Yeah. Well, thank you for asking.
19000:32:21.060 --> 00:32:35.040
Loïc Oumier: I think we had a question also online asking what's the ... It's about five years. The industry standard is five years. So, you know, which is really inefficient, for sure. We can go up, cycle down, whether you're using it
19100:32:36.240 --> 00:32:54.660
Loïc Oumier: a lot or not. But let's transfer the question. Coming back to the general ESL idea, as I said in the intro, initially it was designed to replace paper labels. And I think before the year of fast internet, of install wi-fi, of, you know,
19200:32:56.130 --> 00:33:04.800
Loïc Oumier: POS and ERPs with deep integrations, and so on. It really stayed that way. Now we are right, it's fully different. I think
19300:33:05.880 --> 00:33:19.680
Loïc Oumier: everybody can agree that every year is not the same as the year before, especially this one. But the DSLs now, they are really an interactive and small ... We usually like to present it
19400:33:21.360 --> 00:33:28.290
Loïc Oumier: in two ways. The first one is the thing you see on the top of your screen here. It's all around store efficiency.
19500:33:29.400 --> 00:33:36.900
Loïc Oumier: The main benefits to anyone selling is that once you've automated your prices, you have your staff that's fully available to do
19600:33:37.590 --> 00:33:46.170
Loïc Oumier: tasks with much higher value added. So they can help with curbside pickup sales, or we can have to prepare online orders much faster because the ESL
19700:33:46.530 --> 00:33:55.710
Loïc Oumier: can locate the product and you can flash to show the product location. At the same time, if you combine these two some computer vision, so busy cameras,
19800:33:56.310 --> 00:34:05.280
Loïc Oumier: we can detect, monitor, and identify store counts but also merchandising plans. So the stuff you were using previously to change paper labels
19900:34:06.000 --> 00:34:13.770
Loïc Oumier: we can now work on the merchandising plans and make sure that replenishment is fully done and that you have items always available on the shelf.
20000:34:14.760 --> 00:34:24.330
Loïc Oumier: That's two of the main store efficiency aspects that we can offer. But as I said just before and Chris said the same and Ross as well, it's also about the shopper.
20100:34:25.620 --> 00:34:29.190
Loïc Oumier: Basically all lies around an enhanced shopper connectivity.
20200:34:30.510 --> 00:34:37.830
Loïc Oumier: We, we want to give the chance to shoppers to have more information about a product, you know, when you're shopping online,
20300:34:38.790 --> 00:34:50.100
Loïc Oumier: on Amazon or ... Walmart.com actually, sorry, or whatever, and you have access to customer reviews, you have access to product ratings, you have access to functionality, specifications and so on.
20400:34:50.910 --> 00:35:01.350
Loïc Oumier: These we don't have in a store, especially with a paper label. You have to go in the store, you have to Google the item. Often, you can land on the competitor's page, you can land on another retailer.
20500:35:02.970 --> 00:35:08.250
Loïc Oumier: 99% of the case, the price you see online will not be the price you have in store if you have paper labels and so on and so on.
20600:35:08.910 --> 00:35:19.110
Loïc Oumier: Here, when you interact with the label you will have a dedicated web page where you can see everything and all the information you want to see. Meaning,
20700:35:19.590 --> 00:35:31.590
Loïc Oumier: the product rating, the specifications, "Does it fit in my kitchen?", for instance if it's a fridge, or "Can I eat this?", when it comes to food and so on and so on with the local price. The price from the store and not the online price.
20800:35:32.340 --> 00:35:38.610
Loïc Oumier: And all of this fully synchronizing on platform. And the ultimate point or the final point
20900:35:38.970 --> 00:35:47.370
Loïc Oumier: is that since you can scan the label, and the label has the correct pricing, its linked to the POS, you can add it to a virtual basket with your phone.
21000:35:47.820 --> 00:35:58.830
Loïc Oumier: Whether it's in the retailers app ... you have no downloads, no sign-ups, and no actually waiting in line. You can do it over your phone. And it's completely free and
21100:36:00.150 --> 00:36:04.560
Loïc Oumier: I mean, free of contact and contactless. One of the
21200:36:05.670 --> 00:36:18.660
Loïc Oumier: main benefits from this also is that for all these foreign key topics by the way, is that whenever you start using your cells, when you start implementing the electronic shelf labels in your store, you can activate all these benefits.
21300:36:19.200 --> 00:36:26.070
Loïc Oumier: At almost no extra infrastructure charge because if you want to add a self checkout or a scan-and-go solutio
21400:36:26.550 --> 00:36:38.100
Loïc Oumier: If you have to implement additional scanners, then it's sometimes $1000, $2000 per scanner and, you know, people can break it or it doesn't always work. Same is true for shopping carts and so on and so on.
21500:36:38.550 --> 00:36:51.810
Loïc Oumier: The real benefit to ESLs is that with one small, one tiny IoT device in front of each product you can open a very wide array of services and software solutions for your customers and your staff in store.
21600:36:53.640 --> 00:37:12.240
Megan Lueders: Great, great. Thanks Loïc, and again countless benefits and I know one that we chatted about earlier, you just said manually putting these labels is probably one of the most dreaded jobs and hence how your company got started, which was a real fascinating story.
21700:37:12.900 --> 00:37:29.820
Loïc Oumier: Yeah, absolutely. Indeed, the founder of the company used to work in a retail store when he was a teenager and he had to task to change the paper labels during his summer job and he told himself that that he would make something to change this. And, well, here we are.
21800:37:30.450 --> 00:37:48.810
Megan Lueders: There you are. Yes. That is how these advancements happen. And we're so grateful to see it play out. So Chris, you know, you gave some great examples before of some interesting technology deployment of the Amazon, Walmart. What else are you seeing retailers focus on?
21900:37:50.460 --> 00:38:00.180
Chris Walton: Yeah, I mean I think, I mean, broadly, they're starting to focus on all the things we've talked about. I mean, I think the table stakes thing that everyone is, you know, really just hyper focused on right now is
22000:38:00.600 --> 00:38:05.610
Chris Walton: "What do I need to do on the delivery side", right? Like, so "how do I get closer and faster to my customer?"
22100:38:05.850 --> 00:38:13.230
Chris Walton: And then "how do I make that more flexible?". And so that's where things like curbside pickup, in-store, you're even starting to see movements in returns processing and things like that.
22200:38:13.890 --> 00:38:25.110
Chris Walton: I think the other part that's really on everybody's mind right now is, of course, holiday, right? Like, everyone, the season is moving up. Amazon Prime Day is 10/13 10/14. There's even a 10/10 holiday coming around the corner.
22300:38:25.560 --> 00:38:30.150
Chris Walton: You know, we're going to see how this holiday season plays out in the sense that Black Friday is not the way we expect it to be.
22400:38:30.780 --> 00:38:36.450
Chris Walton: But I think that's an important backdrop when you take into consideration everything Loïc just said.
22500:38:37.380 --> 00:38:43.170
Chris Walton: I've long been a huge fan of experimentation around electronic shelf labels and I'll tell you why.
22600:38:43.950 --> 00:38:48.390
Chris Walton: In 2017, I went on record and I predicted that we'd actually have a preemptive
22700:38:48.750 --> 00:38:56.190
Chris Walton: Prime Day before Black Friday during the holiday season. And look, here we are. It's happening. Now Covid spurred that fast. And it probably would happen otherwise.
22800:38:56.760 --> 00:39:03.270
Chris Walton: I predicted that it probably would have happened anyways. And I still think that. Now here's the crazy thing, you look at the Woodland Hills store.
22900:39:03.960 --> 00:39:14.250
Chris Walton: They have electronic shelf labels. Amazon is cloud based. Amazon can do whatever it want with those prices, mark to market and real time. Like you guys just said,
23000:39:14.880 --> 00:39:26.640
Chris Walton: physical store operation, you're probably having to execute price changes 7 to 14 days out. Its manual. It's a job i've done personally on a Sunday morning when the circular sets. It's not fun at all.
23100:39:27.660 --> 00:39:35.580
Chris Walton: And so electronic shelf labels allow a retailer to be mark to market at all times. So now I start asking the crazy questions. Well, what if Prime Day starts to expand?
23200:39:36.210 --> 00:39:48.330
Chris Walton: Where does it go next? What if Prime Day starts to come on the first and 15th of every month? Only it's at these random times, you don't know when Amazon is going to do it. You know, it could be in March, it could be in July, could be in September, who knows.
23300:39:48.870 --> 00:39:54.210
Chris Walton: But they can do it. They can announce it two or three days in advance and they can take a heck of a lot of groceries share
23400:39:54.420 --> 00:40:01.170
Chris Walton: as they start to build out their stores and, of course, as they still have their online presence as well. So I think that's something people have to think about, that
23500:40:01.500 --> 00:40:09.300
Chris Walton: there's more to, like, these types of things than just what they appear to be. Like, our mind goes to, "Okay, it's about pricing", well its not. It's also about strategy.
23600:40:09.780 --> 00:40:22.050
Chris Walton: It's also about how it connects to your inventory visibility to make all those other experiences better and more consistently accurate. I think that's the key takeaway as I start to look at all the activity that's happening in the industry right now.
23700:40:23.490 --> 00:40:37.650
Megan Lueders: That's great. And I think you're right. There is, there was a lot of opportunity for how these retailers change the dynamic, right? It's not about perhaps one holiday or one big shopping day. It's around what they can do
23800:40:38.160 --> 00:40:43.920
Megan Lueders: throughout the year to spur, and the speed of which they can innovate to do so, can support that.
23900:40:45.030 --> 00:40:55.920
Megan Lueders: Interestingly, Ross. We talk about technology deployment and Ross, you're at really kind of the beginning stage of the technology development. You've got retailers coming to you
24000:40:56.160 --> 00:41:14.160
Megan Lueders: to conceptualize these concepts that we may not see in a retail entity for two to three years and you're kind of at the front end, what should retailers consider as they're coming to talk or coming to you or others with ideas.
24100:41:14.580 --> 00:41:19.650
Ross Sabolcik: Right. Yeah. So, Megan, good question. I think you know, there's
24200:41:19.710 --> 00:41:25.410
Ross Sabolcik: a couple ways we can look at that. Tying back to the questions about battery life or a shelf label.
24300:41:26.010 --> 00:41:36.120
Ross Sabolcik: You know, if we look at that the RF technology and the E Ink that displays the price, you know, those are really the two big drains on the battery.
24400:41:36.840 --> 00:41:44.520
Ross Sabolcik: You know, displaying the information and then communicating back and forth to that tag about what information you want to display.
24500:41:45.510 --> 00:42:03.810
Ross Sabolcik: You know, back to this idea expressed earlier of, we're leveraging these big, big investments we have to do to do a wireless device that will play in IoT. We're able to leverage those across multiple markets. So if you look at some of our latest products, we really
24600:42:04.830 --> 00:42:15.090
Ross Sabolcik: raised the bar in terms of what one can achieve with battery life in those applications that make five years and beyond really achievable.
24700:42:15.780 --> 00:42:23.670
Ross Sabolcik: So, and what I find interesting is that same technology, let's say that we can use to make DSLs last longer,
24800:42:24.300 --> 00:42:37.350
Ross Sabolcik: in our other applications we target, like, let's say a battery powered security center in the home. where again you don't want to be changing batteries. You know, we can leverage that investment to make sure we can give these really optimized solutions.
24900:42:38.370 --> 00:42:51.870
Ross Sabolcik: I think, so at the very core level, you know, we make these massive bets on technology, wireless technology predominantly and since they're spread across multiple markets. I think that just brings
25000:42:52.680 --> 00:42:59.520
Ross Sabolcik: a best in breed by being able to roll those markets up in terms of the developments that we do. That's one thing.
25100:43:00.540 --> 00:43:12.660
Ross Sabolcik: The second thing I would say is that if you look at wireless over the last 10 years, it's really migrated from, doing wireless connectivity in your system is hard
25200:43:13.260 --> 00:43:23.610
Ross Sabolcik: so you would need to have, if you're doing a product, an army of RF experts who could actually bring that product to market. That was the world 10 years ago.
25300:43:24.300 --> 00:43:29.100
Ross Sabolcik: If you look at the world today, adding the wireless technology has become much, much simpler.
25400:43:29.850 --> 00:43:40.590
Ross Sabolcik: So I think what we see is the ability to realize a product idea with wireless has never been, the barriers never been lower.
25500:43:41.310 --> 00:43:51.840
Ross Sabolcik: And what we're finding when we talk to customers of ours is what becomes important now is "What is the business model you're going to unlock?", "What is the data
25600:43:52.230 --> 00:44:00.540
Ross Sabolcik: going to provide to the end customer that's going to make their operation more efficient or the customers experience in the store better?".
25700:44:01.140 --> 00:44:18.450
Ross Sabolcik: Those are the questions now that we're often getting asked, even as a semiconductor supplier. Where previously, we would be asked, "How can I make my system work?". Now it's more along the lines of, you know, "Help me understand what I could unlock by virtue of making my system wireless".
25800:44:20.340 --> 00:44:32.130
Megan Lueders: Excellent. And to imagine, just reimagine what their store would look like, you know, two years ago, five years ago or yesterday. I mean it's really just a reimagination process.
25900:44:32.490 --> 00:44:40.140
Megan Lueders: So transitioning, just a little bit. We've talked on technology deployments, omni channel. Let's talk about the challenges. I mean the hard stuff.
26000:44:40.350 --> 00:44:50.820
Megan Lueders: What are the challenges these retailers are going to face? I mean, clearly, time is one of them. And it's of the essence. There's so much that they have to do on a short period of time, but
26100:44:51.240 --> 00:44:56.940
Megan Lueders: What are the challenges retailers are going to face on implementing this omni channel strategy? And Chris, let's start with you.
26200:44:57.840 --> 00:45:03.360
Chris Walton: Yeah, I think, most of the challenges I've seen is really, it's just, you know, what is you're will to experiment and accept,
26300:45:04.020 --> 00:45:07.860
Chris Walton: basically accept some of the risks that come along with doing that experimentation.
26400:45:08.430 --> 00:45:11.940
Chris Walton: And I think there's two approaches you can take to that. One is, you can take more
26500:45:12.240 --> 00:45:21.720
Chris Walton: of a retrofit approach. Like how do you make this all happen almost as the ship is sailing, so to speak. And I think that's what you're seeing in terms of, you know, how Walmart is approaching this question.
26600:45:22.380 --> 00:45:31.110
Chris Walton: Then the flip side is, like how do you start to take a more fresh from the ground up experimental approach. And that's what you see from Amazon. That's the beauty of what they do.
26700:45:31.470 --> 00:45:40.560
Chris Walton: I think the thing that gets in retailers way, and it's right is that their consumers have a preconceived notion of how their stores should be shopped.
26800:45:41.190 --> 00:45:46.800
Chris Walton: The beauty of Amazon for them strategically is no one has a preconceived notion about what any of their stores should be like.
26900:45:47.670 --> 00:45:57.720
Chris Walton: So you have to think about how you're going to approach that. Do you go retrofit or do you take a fresh from the ground up approach and start to do small almost concept-like experiments, like what you see with the Sam's Club now or what you see with an Amazon.
27000:45:58.140 --> 00:46:12.780
Chris Walton: Those are my two, those are my two major pieces of advice is, you have to decide which approach, you're going to take, which is right for you. And then like Ross just said, what is the right expression for the brand within each of those? That's my best advice I can give.
27100:46:13.380 --> 00:46:26.820
Megan Lueders: Right, right. Ross. Let's jump right over to you. I mean, anything else to add. What are the retailers that you're working with? What's their biggest challenge? Again, you're looking at it from a, even an earlier stage. What are they facing and what do they need to be mindful of?
27200:46:27.150 --> 00:46:35.910
Ross Sabolcik: Yeah, I think there are two themes that we see. One is, there's a question about, you know, what's the total cost of ownership?
27300:46:36.360 --> 00:46:46.620
Ross Sabolcik: So, you know, what's it going to cost me to deploy the system in the store? And that's why I was mentioning earlier of having a platform that allows you to say,
27400:46:47.940 --> 00:46:55.590
Ross Sabolcik: "you'll get a good return on investment if you just deploy this one service". You know, to make, to say, you'll, the system will pay for itself.
27500:46:56.310 --> 00:47:03.600
Ross Sabolcik: But in addition to that, here are all the other possibilities you can unlock once you make the decision to make that investment.
27600:47:04.140 --> 00:47:12.270
Ross Sabolcik: I think that's very, very powerful. Because I think Chris is right that, you know, reimagining the experience from the ground up is
27700:47:13.200 --> 00:47:22.950
Ross Sabolcik: compelling. But I think there's also, for a lot of the retailers, they're not that far along in their journey. So they're only looking at one or two of those services
27800:47:23.850 --> 00:47:36.810
Ross Sabolcik: that are the make or break for it to happen. Having the ability for that system to be expandable in the future to say, hey, as you get past, you know, as you learn how to walk and you're ready to run now with your system, here are the other things you can unlock.
27900:47:38.070 --> 00:47:48.090
Ross Sabolcik: The other component I see, though, is right now, there is not one platform that a customer could buy or a retailer could buy that does it all.
28000:47:48.570 --> 00:47:57.090
Ross Sabolcik: So when you start looking at integrating these systems together in the back office. I think that can be a challenge as well.
28100:47:57.990 --> 00:48:05.250
Ross Sabolcik: You know what I've heard retailer say is, I've already got a bunch of boxes in the ceiling of my stores that are doing this service,
28200:48:05.730 --> 00:48:13.230
Ross Sabolcik: don't make me go and put a bunch more boxes in. So, and if they do take that step and put in those next round boxes,
28300:48:13.980 --> 00:48:23.970
Ross Sabolcik: who is going to integrate together at the back office level, stitching those systems together so that they can, you know, run their operations. Those are the two big challenges I see, Megan.
28400:48:24.570 --> 00:48:30.150
Megan Lueders: Absolutely, absolutely. And Loïc, your perspective on this. What are the challenges?
28500:48:32.130 --> 00:48:36.720
Loïc Oumier: You know, five years ago we signed our biggest contract to date with a
28600:48:38.100 --> 00:48:42.120
Loïc Oumier: retailer. We wanted to compete against Amazon and against "online".
28700:48:43.050 --> 00:48:49.740
Loïc Oumier: I think now, you cannot compete against online. You have to be online. You have to be offline. You have to be everywhere. Thats the main challenge that I see.
28800:48:50.220 --> 00:49:03.690
Loïc Oumier: And we are a solution provider, you know, to tech companies. So of course I would say to buy our products and then use our solution. But really, you have to be omni channel. You have to be at the essence of unified commerce. That's key to me.
28900:49:04.740 --> 00:49:07.620
Loïc Oumier: It's not either-or, It's, you know, a combination
29000:49:09.150 --> 00:49:14.250
Megan Lueders: Right, it is all encompassing. It is not just pick one and hope it works.
29100:49:14.850 --> 00:49:26.520
Megan Lueders: It is definitely all encompassing. So great, so before we wrap up and offer your last key takeaways. Just a reminder to please pose your questions. We're going to transition right over to Q&A momentarily. So if you've got any,
29200:49:26.730 --> 00:49:42.630
Megan Lueders: please submit. But let's start with the main takeaways. If you can offer one thing that you hope that the attendees heard from you specifically, what is that? And Loïc, let's start, let's go in reverse. Let's start with you.
29300:49:45.540 --> 00:49:54.420
Loïc Oumier: Well, I think we all agree on the same vision here, for sure. When it comes to install technology and install IoT,
29400:49:55.020 --> 00:50:08.130
Loïc Oumier: Here, I think, Ross also was very clear and very, very on point, It's very important to understand the coverage of the IoT, of the technology you want to put in store and what it will do for you.
29500:50:09.180 --> 00:50:17.700
Loïc Oumier: It's not about just going digital. It's about answering a need and answering a need from your staff, from your store, from your operations and also from the customers.
29600:50:18.810 --> 00:50:22.800
Loïc Oumier: When it comes to us and electronic shelf labels in general,
29700:50:25.020 --> 00:50:32.460
Loïc Oumier: it's very easy to set up, to be frank, and it's really a portfolio of services and you can activate as you wish.
29800:50:32.940 --> 00:50:44.310
Loïc Oumier: And yeah, it's up to the ..., and the brand as well made aware. Chris mentioned the way the branding aspect to it but brands also are really important to us.
29900:50:44.790 --> 00:50:50.400
Loïc Oumier: And I think will become more and more important, because sometimes we can also become the sponsor, you know, of technology deployed in store.
30000:50:52.080 --> 00:50:55.950
Megan Lueders: Right, right. Ross, what about you? Your key takeaway.
30100:50:56.250 --> 00:51:07.440
Ross Sabolcik: Yeah, I would say that, you know, it's never been easier as we look at IoT, in general, it's never been easier to get devices to provide real time data for the cloud.
30200:51:08.070 --> 00:51:18.150
Ross Sabolcik: So, you know, the conversations that I think that are happening now are really exciting. We've shifted from, "how do I make this work?" to "what do I want to do with this system?".
30300:51:18.810 --> 00:51:29.520
Ross Sabolcik: So, you know, our goal has been since the start of our involvement in IoT to really get the market shifted to that point of, the underlying connectivity
30400:51:30.000 --> 00:51:40.890
Ross Sabolcik: is robust than a checkbox. Now you can focus your efforts as a solutions provider on "what value am I bringing with that connectivity?" instead of "how do I make the connectivity work?".
30500:51:41.580 --> 00:51:54.990
Ross Sabolcik: And you know, that's what we are passionate about unlocking at Silicon Labs and I think we're at a point now where we really have crossed over where it's become incredibly easy. And has enabled some really exciting applications.
30600:51:56.250 --> 00:51:59.760
Megan Lueders: Excellent. Chris, we'll let you have the final word before moving over to Q&A.
30700:52:00.210 --> 00:52:05.700
Chris Walton: Yeah, I think, Ross, I thought, Ross said it really well there. I think what's inspiring to me about this webinar
30800:52:06.300 --> 00:52:16.740
Chris Walton: is its, and we've been talking about the digitization of a physical store, it puts the store in a different context than ever before. And by that I mean like the way to think about this is to think about that physical store
30900:52:17.070 --> 00:52:25.170
Chris Walton: almost like a software product. There's no start and end date to this product, it's going to continue to improve and improve over time.
31000:52:25.620 --> 00:52:34.230
Chris Walton: That's the mindset you have to adopt and that's how you have to think about the innovation and the approach you're going to take inside that store to make a better consumer experience fundamentally, at the end of the day.
31100:52:35.460 --> 00:52:48.930
Megan Lueders: Right, I could not agree more. This is not a destination. This is a constant. This is the new norm, a constant. So, great. Well, thank you so much. We're going to turn right over toQ&A. We've got several questions.
31200:52:49.260 --> 00:53:05.640
Megan Lueders: And again, feel free to continue to pose them. Chris, the first one comes to you on privacy concerns and the risks to the customer and providing the retailer process and so forth. Talk a little bit about privacy and the risks. How significant are they?
31300:53:06.480 --> 00:53:12.960
Chris Walton: Yeah, I get that question a lot. That's probably, I would say that's the number one question I get when I do these types of webinars. I think it's something you have to think about.
31400:53:13.290 --> 00:53:18.810
Chris Walton: And I go back to what I said before, I think it depends who you are as a brand, though. So you have to decide who you are as a brand and what you want to do.
31500:53:19.140 --> 00:53:27.810
Chris Walton: Now, there's a lot of different ways to design these systems where there's different degrees of data or personal information that's collected. So you have to decide what's right for you and put it into play.
31600:53:28.290 --> 00:53:31.710
Chris Walton: But the one cautionary I always have with people is, you know,
31700:53:32.550 --> 00:53:37.560
Chris Walton: be careful how you think about that, too, because sometimes the transfer of data can be very valuable. I mean,
31800:53:37.800 --> 00:53:45.420
Chris Walton: One of the reasons Amazon is great is they continue to make our lives simpler and we continue to get prices, our products at pretty good prices.
31900:53:45.690 --> 00:53:50.040
Chris Walton: In exchange for that we probably are giving up data. Now there's some degree that they can't push it too far.
32000:53:50.520 --> 00:53:56.880
Chris Walton: But that's how things work. It's the same with why we're attracted to social commerce and social media websites and things of that nature.
32100:53:57.180 --> 00:54:07.532
Chris Walton: There's a value we get from it. So I think it's just about knowing who you are as a brand, where you want to invest, and then I think where possible, And I think the younger generations really like this, when
32200:54:07.800 --> 00:54:21.360
Chris Walton: companies do it, be transparent about it. You know, I say, this is what we're doing, you know, and then, like we said before, test, iterate, develop the product as you go. Don't think there's going to be one answer, and just be able to be willing and able to listen to feedback.
32300:54:22.320 --> 00:54:34.470
Megan Lueders: Perfect, thank you, Loïc. So going to you, around shelf labeling, how can you avoid the out of stock situation on the shelf, right, in real time? There's still empty shelves.
32400:54:35.310 --> 00:54:42.000
Megan Lueders: Clearly, we had them at the start of the pandemic but now it's moderated, but we still have them. How do we avoid that?
32500:54:44.430 --> 00:54:49.200
Loïc Oumier: To avoid a out of stock thing, it's a much broader topic than just ESLs for sure, but
32600:54:50.460 --> 00:54:59.190
Loïc Oumier: at least, what we do is, we can already, you know, have a lot of people to really identify what's happening on the shelf. If you ask right now, any retailer in the world in any brands in the world
32700:54:59.640 --> 00:55:18.180
Loïc Oumier: they are able to tell you what's on the shelf and what's not. So if you start identifying what's not on the shelf, it's only the first step, you know. Then it's really about, I think what I said earlier, it's really about allocating time and staff to do the right things in store. It's not about
32800:55:18.210 --> 00:55:19.410
Loïc Oumier: changing prices manually.
32900:55:19.830 --> 00:55:27.600
Loïc Oumier: It's about customer service and it's about replenishing items. And so we can take on the shelf issue for sure.
33000:55:28.920 --> 00:55:33.480
Loïc Oumier: For the, out of stock. It's a different thing. So it's a bit more complicated. I think, but
33100:55:34.590 --> 00:55:36.300
Loïc Oumier: if you have customers, if you have people in store,
33200:55:37.650 --> 00:55:41.910
Loïc Oumier: if you have staff with time free, free time to do shelf. I'm sure we can only add.
33300:55:43.410 --> 00:55:49.860
Megan Lueders: Perfect, and kind of an add-on to that question. You know, for these ESLs integrated with a POS
33400:55:50.400 --> 00:56:01.920
Megan Lueders: where people can go and pay it. How do you foresee dealing with product protection? Like labels that get deactivated at checkout or robust reusable devices that are removed at checkout. How do you deal with that?
33500:56:03.960 --> 00:56:14.820
Loïc Oumier: The same way you deal with, you know, self checkouts in any store. It's really up to the retailer to be prepared for this. You can have a, you know, a little station where you can remove those tags or those pins.
33600:56:16.890 --> 00:56:26.850
Loïc Oumier: It can be someone helping you to do so. It's like when we get asked the question about theft, you know. With this, you know, imply more theft in a store and so it's really not about this happening, its more about
33700:56:27.450 --> 00:56:32.910
Loïc Oumier: how the store and the retailer wants to operate. And in the end, it's really the same as self checkout.
33800:56:34.080 --> 00:56:41.250
Megan Lueders: Okay. So Chris, I know one of your most popular questions on privacy protection. This has to be one of your other topics, I see right about it,
33900:56:41.550 --> 00:56:52.800
Megan Lueders: is on usability, accessibility, right. All of these things that we've talked about, all of the acceptance to go into this retail store and the convergence of technologies. The question is really
34000:56:53.400 --> 00:57:09.690
Megan Lueders: how can retailers consider the usability for elderly people, in particular. Here in Germany, they don't have that type of visibility. Thoughts on how to increase this and enable more smartphones with solutions based on, upon AI supported guidance.
34100:57:10.080 --> 00:57:15.030
Chris Walton: Yeah, I think that's a great question. I think there's two things to it. I think the question is really real. I think
34200:57:15.600 --> 00:57:19.290
Chris Walton: the one approach I would say is, like, you start to introduce things where it's
34300:57:19.560 --> 00:57:26.610
Chris Walton: where it's an option value type approach. Where everyone can still do things the old way, but those that want to try a new way of shopping the store can.
34400:57:27.000 --> 00:57:29.100
Chris Walton: Like I think scan-and-go is a great thing for that.
34500:57:29.430 --> 00:57:37.200
Chris Walton: Like I'm still surprised that like scan-and-go implementations haven't taken off faster than they have. Because at the end of the day it's just a mobile app with a capability.
34600:57:37.410 --> 00:57:42.540
Chris Walton: You put some carts and some bags in the entrance and you say, "here you go", with a sign and see what happens.
34700:57:42.930 --> 00:57:51.960
Chris Walton: And yet people are afraid to do just that. Which makes no sense to me in the world. So I think designing things like that where, "hey if it doesn't work, who cares". You didn't lose anything.
34800:57:52.680 --> 00:57:58.650
Chris Walton: But I do think the other point, the second element that is really fundamental is you do have to do some concept work experimentation.
34900:57:59.280 --> 00:58:03.660
Chris Walton: Like, take a look at what Walmart did. Walmart, biggest retailer in the world. Like,
35000:58:03.990 --> 00:58:10.770
Chris Walton: they took a store in Arkansas and made it fully self checkout. So the only way to get out of that store is with traditional self checkout machines.
35100:58:11.040 --> 00:58:17.820
Chris Walton: That's bold, they took a whole store offline. Are they going to piss people off, especially older people, potentially? Heck yes, they are.
35200:58:18.210 --> 00:58:32.370
Chris Walton: But they're thinking about the future and they're going to learn from that experiment and they're willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. I don't see how you innovate or evolve if unless you take that type of approach in some way, shape, or form.
35300:58:32.460 --> 00:58:45.390
Megan Lueders: I couldn't agree more. Alright, so, Ross. Next question to you, direction finding and location of a product in big retail stores. The biggest time saving for them. Do you have a solution using locating system?
35400:58:46.140 --> 00:58:54.300
Ross Sabolcik: Great question. Yeah, there's a, we see a huge interest right now in location services. And I think there's,
35500:58:54.990 --> 00:59:04.770
Ross Sabolcik: It's a multi-layered type of solution. And what I mean by that is, if you want to, you can take your phone and you know when you open your customer loyalty app
35600:59:05.580 --> 00:59:15.180
Ross Sabolcik: there will be systems that can build a heat map of where you are in the store within let's say, four or five meters. You could play somebody.
35700:59:15.870 --> 00:59:24.510
Ross Sabolcik: So, you know, you can do that sort of course direction finding say, just using Wi Fi to say, you know, people are roughly at this location in the store.
35800:59:25.050 --> 00:59:32.700
Ross Sabolcik: If you then have an ESL system that you can use to say where that product is that you're interested in, you can do some really course direction finding.
35900:59:33.450 --> 00:59:51.450
Ross Sabolcik: What I find really exciting now is in the past, you were looking at, if you wanted to get a more accurate location, you were probably looking at a tag that would cost you 10s of dollars and would have maybe months worth of battery life. That's going to be really
36000:59:53.010 --> 01:00:01.020
Ross Sabolcik: difficult to deploy at scale. We see some new technologies coming on, particularly are built around Bluetooth, that allow you to deploy
36101:00:01.530 --> 01:00:13.140
Ross Sabolcik: tags as either part of an ESL or as another, you know, marker on the shelf. They can get you down to, you know, sub one meter accuracy. So just a few feet.
36201:00:13.980 --> 01:00:22.560
Ross Sabolcik: So, you know, as those technologies become cheaper and have better battery life, we're seeing that unlock a whole nother range of applications.
36301:00:23.040 --> 01:00:31.680
Ross Sabolcik: Be it from putting beacons into shopping carts. So now you can see where the shopping cart is within a meter and then direct people through the store.
36401:00:32.130 --> 01:00:46.950
Ross Sabolcik: To even putting tags on high value products to help sales associates find them in the store. So there's a lot of exciting stuff happening right now on location services and my belief is over the next five years, you're going to see a real explosion
36501:00:48.060 --> 01:00:56.790
Ross Sabolcik: of applications in retail around a location because it's become so affordable and with such better accuracy and with such good battery life.
36601:00:57.870 --> 01:01:07.590
Megan Lueders: Right. That's right. So Chris, we're going to throw the last question over to you to conclude. Again, thank you to all of our panelists and for the attendees for submitting the questions. Chris, the question is,
36701:01:08.460 --> 01:01:22.680
Megan Lueders: what would you think that retail stores in 5 to 10 years will be completely replaced by a 360 VR virtual reality use from home, making a complete shift from pure virtual to feels like in real life transformation.
36801:01:23.340 --> 01:01:30.030
Chris Walton: That's a great question. I actually wrote an article about this probably three months ago if people want to read it about VR, but I don't think that's going to happen.
36901:01:30.900 --> 01:01:33.450
Chris Walton: I don't think that's going to happen for a number of reasons. I think
37001:01:34.050 --> 01:01:43.950
Chris Walton: number one, what you're really talking about there is you're actually talking about a shift of how we shop from home. So I think it's more of a shift of e-commerce versus a shift of why we go to a store. Those are two really different questions.
37101:01:44.340 --> 01:01:47.400
Chris Walton: Even if you look at the most penetrated categories across the world,
37201:01:47.880 --> 01:01:56.850
Chris Walton: you know, even in China, even in say Europe where groceries is really penetrated, you're still talking, you know, 50 to 60% of the business happening in a physical store.
37301:01:57.390 --> 01:02:05.370
Chris Walton: So that's not going to go away and stores exists for fundamental reasons, right? There's five psychological reasons. They're either
37401:02:05.700 --> 01:02:09.780
Chris Walton: a mode of convenience, immediate gratification, inspiration.
37501:02:09.990 --> 01:02:18.390
Chris Walton: Sometimes they provide what I call "taction", which is the ability to touch and feel product to get confidence in what you're buying, which is a lot of what grocery purchasing is about, especially when you think about produce and meats.
37601:02:18.840 --> 01:02:21.450
Chris Walton: And then the last part is to the experience of being somewhere.
37701:02:21.870 --> 01:02:29.400
Chris Walton: So VR can never replace, really, the experience of being somewhere and those tactile elements and even somewhat some of the inspiration, so
37801:02:29.670 --> 01:02:34.770
Chris Walton: You know I don't see that happening. If anything, it'll be a shift. But I also think we're a little too
37901:02:35.070 --> 01:02:43.650
Chris Walton: invested kind of in that VR discussion in a lot of ways. There are other industries that will take off long before retail in VR, and those industries. I won't name them,
38001:02:43.860 --> 01:02:51.630
Chris Walton: for the purposes of the webinar, but if you think about what they are, those industries haven't even taken off yet in that respect. So I think we got a long way to go there.
38101:02:51.690 --> 01:03:06.360
Megan Lueders: Well, again, thank you very much to all three of you for participating in today's webinar. Very much enjoyed the conversation. Great dialogue and thanks to all the attendees. We'll be certain to send a recording of this to you within the next 24-48 hours. Thank you so much.
Retail Technology Leader & Omnichannel Expert, Forbes Contributor
Chris Walton is one of the leading omnichannel experts in the world with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology. He is a regular contributor to Forbes, and CEO of Omni Talk, one of the fastest-growing blogs in retail. He previously served as the VP of Target’s Store of the Future project.
EVP Marketing and Communications
Loïc Oumier is Head of Operational & Digital Marketing and Communications at SES-imagotag, a global leader in Electronic Shelf Labels and Retail IoT solutions provider. The SES-imagotag solution enables retailers to connect and digitize their physical stores and create an omnichannel service platform that builds loyalty and meets evolving consumer expectations.
VP and GM of Industrial and Commercial IoT Products
Chief Marketing Officer