The inaugural season of the Retail Uncharted podcast is coming to a close. This year we dove into a wide range of topics from the impact of neuromarketing on retail to leading a business during a pandemic, and the future of omnichannel retail. These interviews highlighted how leading thinkers and innovators in retail are tackling some of the biggest challenges the industry faces. We hope that their insights will help guide you as you plan strategies to navigate the biggest trends shaping the future of the retail industry.
To recap the season, unpack its biggest lessons, and predict what’s in store for retailers in 2021 and beyond, we gathered our podcast hosts and commentators for a final Season One episode. Our panel includes Sidecar founder and CEO Andre Golsorkhi, Director of Product Marketing Mike Perekupka, and Senior Director of Integrated Digital Strategy, Mike Farrell. During the podcast we asked them:
- What was your favorite moment or episode from Retail Uncharted this year?
- What was the biggest lesson you took away from the Retail Uncharted guests this year?
- What are some topics you’d like to cover in 2021 on the podcast?
- How do you see this podcast evolving next year?
- What do you think the most impactful trend or technology will be for retailers in 2021?
- What long-term trend do you think will have the biggest impact on retailers in the next three to five years?
Top Sound Bites
On their favorite Retail Uncharted episodes:
Andre Golsorkhi: Talking to Rubin [CEO and founder of Fanatics] was one of my favorite moments. Obviously his experience in the e-commerce space makes his commentary very relevant to what we’re doing. I think his relentless focus and desire to build, his honesty around the mistakes that he’s made, and the challenges that he’s had really made that episode.
One of the things that he said was that when GSI Commerce sold to eBay for $2.5 billion, that was a failure. Obviously, not from a financial perspective. It was a huge win, and a great outcome for him and for the shareholders, but there was so much more to do. In hindsight, had they just stayed committed to e-commerce and building solutions for their customers, he probably could have built a much bigger business.
Mike Perekupka: One particular podcast that stuck out in my head, because of how outside of the box it was for me, was a podcast we did with Prince Ghuman from Pop Neuro, talking about the science of neuromarketing, getting into the head and the mindset of consumers, advertising to them, and thinking about their moment and what they’re trying to accomplish. I took a lot from that, and it made me look at the whole space of digital advertising differently.
On the 3 biggest lessons from the past season:
Andre Golsorkhi: Whether you’re in the digital marketing space or running an e-commerce business, staying committed to a particular problem and continuing to build around that problem, so long as the market is big enough, sometimes takes a lot of patience and a lot of resilience. Still there’s a tremendous opportunity in staying focused and a lot of room for growth in the space that we’re in.
Mike Perekupka: We recorded this series during 2020, and I realized how hard it is to think about the pandemic at a bigger scale, about how it has affected different markets. You always focus on how it affects you, your job, and your family, and this podcast has helped me bubble that up and realize how it’s affected different sectors of the business. I’ve now had the realization how unique retail is in all of this.
Talking to these different people and learning how some have taken this as an opportunity and have grown exponentially, while others who maybe have been a little bit slower to adapt to the online trends, have been hit so hard. It has been so interesting to me to just realize how unique retail is and how, I guess, lucky and dangerous it is that we live in retail at this time.
Mike Farrell: I think our podcast has had some really strong guests with varying experience levels. We’ve had industry heavyweights and mid-size business owners. We’ve had the editor and chief of a major industry publication. I think, for me, what comes through in all those discussions is that there are so many smart, passionate people in our industry that have very different perspectives and are coming from very different angles trying to solve different versions of similar problems.
I’m looking forward to 2021 to do more networking, to listen to more of these experts, talk to them, pick their brains, and really get more and more perspective about how different people from different walks of life and businesses are thinking about our industry, and what matters to them.
On top predictions for retailers in 2021:
Mike Farrell: I think retailers in very short order have been forced to rethink how to use their store space. I think more people are using their store space as distribution centers, because either they’re vacant, or people aren’t going to them. In the very near future, I think people will start using stores more as pick up centers and showrooms for products or technologies. I also think that the store will transform into a brand building experience.
Right now, a lot of people shop on Amazon, and the experience is pretty lackluster in terms of shopping for products. It’s great when it comes to customer service, checkout, delivery, and returns, but from an experience and branding perspective, it isn’t fantastic. I think that’s where smaller and even larger retailers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves from Amazon, by using their store locations as ways to build brands.
On the future of physical stores & shopping:
Mike Perekupka: I think there will be the Chick-fil-A of retail. Chick-fil-A has optimized the fast food experience, and they can pump more people through per minute than anyone else. It is a more enjoyable experience, and more and more people are flocking to Chick-fil-A. I think you’re going to get retailers who get that experience right.
That is a drive-up experience. There are not just three random spots that you park at and you wait for 20 minutes. It is going to be a drive through experience that’s very enjoyable. Everything that you used to do in a store, I don’t know why you can’t do it somewhere else. We’ve proven that you don’t have to work in physical locations. I think people that are traditionally store clerks can become online product demo people, where they run a Zoom call, run a demo of this product, and host a live Q&A. If I was starting a retail experience right now, I’d be focusing on that type of experience for my customers.