Joshua Ness 0:00
Hello everyone, and welcome. Thank you for joining us on your Thursday afternoon afternoon here in New York City. For our conversation around revolution, revolutionizing retail say that five times fast, specifically talking about the omni channel experience today. My name is Joshua Ness, I'm a Senior Manager of Verizon 5G Labs in New York City. And I'm excited to host this event as part of our 5G Labs event series. For those of you of you who are not familiar with our group we work with, we're part of Verizon, and we work with startups, academia, and enterprise teams to build a 5G powered world using the practical application of emerging technologies. And part of that mission includes having conversations like this that address barriers to digital inclusion, and create opportunities for communities to thrive and grow. If you're interested in learning more about our work, you can visit our website at verizon5Glabs.com, where you can also see a list of all of our upcoming events and there's quite a few so be sure to RSVP quick.
Joshua Ness 0:58
We also want to thank Alley for partnering with us in hosting this event. Alley is a community agency that unites rich and diverse communities around the country with corporate partners provide the resources and catalysts to drive positive change in technology in the broader world. And they are really awesome to work with so definitely check them out alley.com. So let's get started. I want to turn it over to our awesome group of thought leaders who are with us today for quick introductions about themselves and their organizations. Make sure you come off mute, and Tiffany, let's kick it off with you.
Tiffany Stone 1:31
Thanks, Josh. And thank you for having me today. So hi, everyone. I'm Tiffany Stone, I'm actually part of the 5G Labs, I lead the exploration and incubation of consumer and retail solutions that are enabled by 5G within the labs. Prior to the 5G Labs, I helped build, launch and scale a number of consumer startups.
Joshua Ness 1:56
Very cool. And Amanda, how about you?
Amanda Latifi 1:59
Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm Amanda Latifi. I'm the Co-founder and CEO of Hafta Have, we're really helping retailers unlock the missing data set and retail, which is their offline data set. So what are people looking at in store through being able to interact with just their phone, so no app, just SMS, they're able to interact with both barcodes or QR codes to save items that they find in store, retailers then can communicate with them real time or later to drive those last conversions.
Joshua Ness 2:27
Very cool. I think we're definitely gonna be diving into that as a as a new channel of marketing here in a little bit. Marie, why don't you close us out.
Marie La France 2:35
Hi thank you guys for having me and thanks to all the participants for listening in, I'm really excited about this conversation. Um, I'm Marie La France, I'm the Vice President of Strategy for Dash Hudson. Dash Hudson is visual marketing software that helps brands of all sizes optimize their visual presence online. The thing that sets us apart is we have proprietary technology that's AI called Vision that combines machine learning and computer vision to give you predictions about what visuals are going to work the best for your audience across all of your digital channels and finding ways to make those channels cohesive.
Joshua Ness 3:09
Very cool. Before we kick things off, for those of you in the audience, please make sure to drop your questions in the Q&A feature. That is going to be the best way to to get a question answered by one of our panelists.
Joshua Ness 3:24
So kicking it off talking about the brand experience and the evolution of omnichannel marketing. Things have changed in the in the digital world. And we're definitely going to talk about how they have changed up to this point how they're going to change in the future. I'm curious, what does what does brand experience mean to you either as a definition of brand experience, or even how it gets enabled? Because these new brand experiences are in fact enabled by technology and emerging technology. I'm curious what you think about how the nature of a brand experience, what it is how its evolved and how its enabled in the first place? Anybody who, Marie what are your thoughts on this?
Marie La France 4:09
Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts. What's interesting is I think you're talking about the current state of affairs in 2020. But really, it's just an acceleration of trends that have been around for a long time, right? I think consumers want what they want when they want it. So they want ease of use of everything that your brand brings to the to the table, but they also want consistency. I think, you know, there's an expectation that the voice that you're using, and whatever the main channel for the consumer that's communicating you with it, whether it's they're really just leaning in on your Instagram or they're just an in store shopper, they want to see the same tonality, the same visual, same brand identity, something that's really cohesive across the board. And I think, you know, it's going to take a little bit of shift for some particularly bigger companies to start thinking about a holistic view and understanding that to the consumer. They're the same there's not like this separate little thing that's called Instagram over here, and then the separate thing in the store, they are the same. And really making sure that you're approaching it in a cohesive way I think is super important.
Joshua Ness 5:11
I've noticed sometimes that like some brands will, they'll change it up a little bit depending on what channel they're on. So for instance, like on on something like Twitter, they might be a little more cheeky, because they have a chance to have more real time engagement with, with brands or with customers. What have you seen that happening as far as like, little tweaks in the consistency of voice across channels? And do you do you have a recommendation about that?
Marie La France 5:39
Yeah, I think there's a difference. So I think being platform native is super important. So what you put on Twitter should feel like Twitter, what you put on TikTok should feel like TikTok. So that that's just a creative sort of tweak and how you're going to market people say social first, but is tricking your creative to the to the specific platform that you're on. But so I do think there is tweaking that should happen. But if you're funny on Twitter, and like dead serious somewhere else, that's a bit of a disconnect. Right? You know, and like and I think people need to really think about how they're coming across as one voice with several different mics that might be a little bit differently, versus like, you know, totally separate on totally separate auditoriums.
Joshua Ness 6:25
Marie La France 6:25
That metaphor work? I don't know, hard to say.
Joshua Ness 6:27
No, I like it. No, I separate auditoriums. I like I feel like we're gonna touch on that again. Yeah, I think having that, that that voice, but being able to talk, meeting your customers where they are, and on what platform they choose to interact with you. I agree, I think that's important.
Marie La France 6:42
And being present is the only other thing I would say be present on all the platforms. You know, that's the most important thing.
Joshua Ness 6:49
Yeah. Amanda, do you have any thoughts on that?
Amanda Latifi 6:52
Yeah, I, you know, I think I'm going to take kind of an offline approach to this too. But I think for, I'd say maybe the past five years brand experience got a bad rap for being something that's soft. So when I go to the store, is there something interesting to do with the denim jeans? Can I embroider them? And I'm seeing and hoping and looking forward to what COVID has even done to accelerate what brand experience means in retail in the sense of the experience should also be a positive functional experience, too. So we're seeing a lot of innovation in returns, that's an experience within itself, a lot of innovation within customer service and chat, because if I'm making a return, I want to have a positive experience. That's one of the strongest places to drive a conversion or an exchange, a place to save the sale essentially. And same with us. And some of the things that we're doing offline, you expect a similar brand experience offline, as you do online. So why wouldn't that mean, some of the functionality and utility is there, locating sizes, stock, being able to say something you find in store. So, I'm just looking forward to brands, retailers starting to understand that brand experience is on a bad thing. It's not a soft thing, there is ROI against it, we should start to invest more in it. And I think you're seeing that even within the organization structure. So you're starting to see Chief Brand Officers and people starting to understand that it is about having the same voice, the tone, but that same operational approach as well.
Joshua Ness 8:20
Yeah, that raises such a good point, even leading back to what what Marie was talking about with consistency, it's not necessarily just consistency in marketing, it's consistency across the entire customer journey. Right, from from from purchase, to to validation to returns, and then to potentially repurchase, and making sure that you do offer that consistency and that ease, like she talked about, like it's so important.
Joshua Ness 8:43
Yeah, Tiffany, how do you feel about about technology's role in enabling everything that we've talked about so far?
Tiffany Stone 8:52
Yeah, definitely. And I think I take also a little bit of a different view on kind of brand experience from the 5G Labs. Where, you know, we've seen that it's really about the emotional signature that a brand leaves for a consumer no matter where they are. And that's traditionally been very much content driven. And I think that's where we've seen the expectation of consume anything, anywhere, whatever you want, in real time, but you know, where does commerce play in that world? And I think this is where omnichannel is super interesting. And technology has a significant role because retailers capabilities or brands capabilities, need to be able to align with that type of real time consumption. That's, you know, really been set precedent by content. And so you know, when we think about what 5G brings to the table, it is the types of analytics that we can start to gather about the user journey that previously wasn't available. And so you know, Amanda, to your point, like in the offline world, before all we knew was visitors. So when you walked in, and then transactions and that was two different systems, you had a POS system. And then you also have maybe a beacon or a sensor, or even a physical person out the door counting, especially for luxury brands. And then you were mapping those two data sets together. And then maybe you would be able to go on your website and get that individuals email and map it to their transaction information and start to stitch together a whole experience. But you know, we think that there are new content formats, distribution channels and monetization opportunities that come when we have real time analytics, new technologies, like computer vision, and you know, even new ways they kind of bring together that online to offline experience. But we can dig more into that, but just kind of sharing the high level perspective here.
Joshua Ness 10:48
It sounds like, it sounds like a total of like four or five different spreadsheets that you'd have to reconcile that sounds, I wouldn't I wouldn't want to be that intern.
Marie La France 10:56
Yeah. Well, you know, let's hope it's not happening in spreadsheet form, or something to make that easier for everyone. But Tiffany, to your point, and it's like, thinking about, well, two things, one, like, how are we measuring ROI, right? Like you talked about, it used to just be foot tracking into sales. But something that Amanda said, that was really interesting, it's like, and got me thinking about the saves functionality within all of the social platforms, that's a really great indicator of intent to purchase, right? So how are we making sure that you're looking holistically all the data that's being thrown at you from all these different vantage points, you know, if you do a beautiful insert, display, someone takes a picture of that insert display, and then their friend who sees it saves it? Are you measuring that ROI on your instore activation and the effort that went into that, and that data is available, but I would like to see people come up with a way to more cohesively look at it in a more holistic sense, right? And the other thing you brought up was about commerce. And commerce isn't a bad thing to consumers, people, like you know, it, I think sometimes it's looked at as these two separate functions, right, it's like, and now here's my message to you to buy this, when really, it's just about opening the doors and making it possible for someone to buy it when they have the instinct to do so. And offering them the technological capability to do that when a thought finally occurs to them that they need this thing, getting it to them as quickly as possible. So it's a it's a benefit for consumers, it doesn't just have to be this very top down. This is our sales moment. That makes sense?
Joshua Ness 12:27
Yeah, I thought about that. Because a lot of times you can look like stores and retailers are just trying to shove things down people's throats, when in fact the doing it the right way, is letting the consumer know that, hey, this thing is here when you want it. And then, like you mentioned at the beginning at the top, making it easy for them to say to make that decision to say, hey, now's the time that I want this thing because when we're talking about commerce and retail, we are really talking about a person or group that makes a thing and making it available to people who want that thing. Whether it's a product or a service or whatever. And so and then making that environment as as as workable and as pleasing as possible for both parties is really what we're talking about here.
Joshua Ness 13:09
Maria, I know that that Dash Hudson is a heavy hitter when it comes to omnichannel commerce, especially based on what you've told us already. Can you tell us a little more about how the platform works?
Marie La France 13:19
Yeah, I can. So we, um, you know, Dash Hudson's sort of ethos is that the idea is that the primary form of communication between brands and their consumers now is the visual, right? So everything that we do is about optimizing the actual visual, that's digital photos and videos. And so not only have we, we built a tool that allows multiple teams to collaborate with their creative. So like I said, at the top, you know, making sure your paid advertising team has access to the beautiful assets that your organic social team has, and that your ecommerce team can also optimize those driving to commerce, I think, again, getting people out of that siloed mindset and into the one cohesive voice is one aspect of what we do. But the other aspect of what we do is provide several, like really easy tools for brands to make that shopping experience more seamless throughout the social space. So, you know, customers or consumers are really used to the experience of going back to the link in bio to learn more, right? But you'd be surprised how many brands still have like, their homepage, and their link in bio even on like, TikTok and Instagram. So just providing a simple tool or URL that allows the consumer to find the content that drove them back to that link in bio in the first place. Like we know the consumer habits already there. Instagram actually got them used to that, but just making it seamless, and whether you want that content to be shoppable or not. And then we can get into custom utms and ecomm functionality too. Or it could just be a link back to like a great article that was written about your brand, whatever it is, understand the consumer mindset in the social space, which is about very specific content, not broadly. I don't really want to read about your brand on your homepage right now I want to know about the sneaker that you shot and where do I get that or who's that guy wearing it right. So offering the the tools for brands to make that experience on social more seamless.
Joshua Ness 15:00
I think it's not only understanding the consumer purchase journey, but the consumer interest journey is very important and actually getting them, walking them through all of the steps that that they're that they're going to get there that they're going to want on that channel to get them even to a point where they're considering the purchase. I think that is a very key part of that journey. Is that where is that really LikeShop comes in? How does that fit into what you're working on?
Marie La France 15:25
Yeah, LikeShop is actually the link in bio tool. So you can keep a custom link in your bio and click back and see up to 25 different specific links based on that like that one image that you put on Instagram. So if you are a brand like Nordstrom, or you know, a large retailer, you can link back to the product pages of all the different products you have in that shoot. Again, just making it simpler to shop. And then Vision is the other interesting thing that we have. So the implications there are, you know, like I said, at the top, using computer vision to analyze your images, and then overlaying that with historical audience engagement data. So you know, people that choose to follow your brand on Instagram, as it turns out, are like a really perfect focus group. And you can extrapolate a lot of learnings from just that group of people. And so all of the insights that come through our platform are really rooted in that. Even as we explore other platforms, and you can, you can really manage everything out of Dash Hudson, that organic Instagram is really solid. And I think, you know, you can get information about what your consumers want from you just based on what they're engaging with there or just doing informer stole story polls, or whatever it is. So our vision technology will give you predictions on what your consumers are most likely to engage with. creative teams are taking patents and and modifying their creative briefs with influencers for themselves based on what they know is going to resonate in that space. So that's where it gets really cool. And you can sort of aggregate trends in the space and see what's working for competitors, or people you aspire to be like, see if that's gonna work for your audience. There's just so much data to get out of social beyond just like engagement and saves and link clicks.
Joshua Ness 17:00
Yeah, yeah, speaking of data, Amanda, I know Hafta Have is also using omnichannel in a growing way that actually has really amazing return on investment, even though it's not being used by as many retailers right now. What's your approach would have to have and how are you using data to to do better, narrow in on that experience?
Amanda Latifi 17:29
Yeah, I think it's really interesting when you think about just the shopping online experience, and shopping offline can be very similar. So if you think about going on a website, you're on a website, you go to product page, you add to cart, the retailer knows everything about you, they know how to bring you back to that purchase to that proxy experience happens in store, you go in store, you interact with something you try it on, and for whatever reason, you may decide to leave to the point that Tiffany made at the beginning. Unless you get to POS and make that purchase. They really have no idea who you are, what you were looking at, to Marie's point what your purchase intent is, are you coming back? How can they get you to come back? Would you have bought if it was 10% off? So it's just a complete void and pre COVID. With 90% of conversions happening in store, you're talking about a major part of the pie that has no data behind it. So they've even said that if you're able to kind of attack abandon in store abandonment, it's about a $9 trillion opportunity. And I know everyone in retail would maybe like even have 1 trillion of that. So it's just a huge opportunity. And it doesn't have to be very tech heavy. Similar to Dash Hudson we're utilizing images. So people when they're shopping in store, since there is no way to save something you find in store, we've essentially manifested this tactic of taking pictures of the products or the tags to keep up with them, find them later online. And that's where we step in without an app, a shopper can take a picture of a tag text it either the barcode or the QR code, some retailers already putting QR codes on, on tags. And that helps us capture all that information in store. So who the person is what they're looking at down to size, color, if they've clicked through to look at an ecomm or not. So really starting to understand purchase intent there, capture all that, give it to the retailer with the shopper save it to a list on mobile web. But now the retailer can have a very specific conversation with someone on a very intimate channel, which is SMS about the exact thing they were looking at in store. So we're essentially unlocking offline retargeting but are connecting it directly to the PDP page for the retailer. So just you know, as we're talking about even brand experience in omnichannel, everyone wants a personalized experience. I don't want retailer to just keep telling me like, the whole store is 20% off, come back. But if you were able to text me, that thing you were looking at two weeks ago, it's 20% off, grab it now, I would click the link and buy it. Or if I'm looking at something in store and you say to me like hey, don't miss out get it today for 10% off. That's a margin loss that saves money for the retailer because now you don't have to retarget to them. You don't have to remarket to them. So just a much more seamless way to be able to capture the data instore but drive conversion with it too.
Joshua Ness 20:01
Are there is there is there data that's being captured, that companies are losing? That they're not doing anything with?
Amanda Latifi 20:10
You know, to the point that we made, the missing data set in retail is like, what, where is the, what is offline pre purchase intent? How do you know what any of that is? All we know is what someone's bought in store. And so you're using a lot of that data capture that you're getting from the store to even do things on social, for instance, but that is post purchase data. That's not what someone is thinking of buying. Yes, we understand who they are, as a consumer, where their tendencies are, we can definitely make inferences about if they bought this, they'll probably buy this as well. So I'm not discrediting any of that. But there is a wealth of data that's sitting essentially on the store floor of what do I actually have interest in buying that interacted with in, in real life, beyond that, even from merchandising, so being able to understand, you know, where were you close on things, what are people looking at, and saving a great deal of so was it because the color was wrong, the fit was it sweaters was it placement. So there's just a wealth of data that is essentially sitting on people's camera rolls, because they're interacting with products with the intent to find them later. And they don't, or just remember, if you're in a mall, your competitor probably shares a wall, they're, you know, stepping next door, and something is helping drive that consumer to convert for whatever reason, price, size limitation, so we can even help out with inventory conversations, there's just a lot happening in
the store that that we don't kind of have a grasp on yet.
Tiffany Stone 21:32
And I just wanted to add to what Amanda said, because I think you just hit on something, you know, so big for me, and you know, building off of even Josh is coining the term user interest journey. But, you know, as we've seen, so many digitally native brands, like open more than 1700, stores are ready. Um, they're coming across the same challenges as traditional brands and retailers, the store doesn't need to be an exact replica of all the inventory that you have online. It's not a fulfillment center. And I think there is kind of, you know, a lot of brands that are trying to turn their stores into fulfillment centers, but they're not doing that successfully. And I love this idea that, you know, personalization isn't just a specific channel, but how do you do it across all different ways you distribute, and you know, those types of channels are only growing. So I think you did, like an amazing job just highlighting, like, how much is left on the store floor, and that the store isn't just a fulfillment center.
Marie La France 22:31
Yeah, and I'm thinking about.
Amanda Latifi 22:33
You know what's...Oh, go ahead.
Marie La France 22:34
Well, I'm gonna compliment you to Amanda. I feel like you said earlier Tiffany about value. Yes, we all as retailers thinking about the omnichannels feature thing about value for ourselves, but also what a boom to the consumer to have that capability. My phone is full of tags of pictures that I've taken, because we all have phones, we have cameras with us now. I take pictures of stuff that I'm shopping, it's how I shop now. And that lift, taking that data lift off the consumer is a value you can provide as a retailer, right? Sorry, guys.
Amanda Latifi 23:04
And then I think everything is really interesting is that, and I'm just going to take us into some COVID realities really, you know, quickly. Like, look, everyone shopping on Amazon now. It just it is what it is. It gets there fast. And I've had a whole conversation UPS has a really interesting study about shoppers to and they've even said, because they're very centralized on shipping obviously, that, you know, it's a farce that people even really feel like they have to have something within two days, it's kind of something Amazon created for all of us. There's not that much drop off if it's if it's three days, but now it's become this expectation. And so once we do have a return to brick and mortar and retail, because I do think we need it for a sense of relief, a sense, sense of entertainment, you know. Wanting to get out. But what's going to happen with that comparison shopping? Like are people going to be checking their phones in store even more to see if it's cheaper on Amazon? And if that is what is going to happen, why wouldn't you capture that right there? Because again, it's about having that person that time and space and driving that conversion, or making sure you're getting them to your site to where you can retarget them digitally as well, not just you know, offline. So I just think there's a lot of work that I mean, obviously on this, there's a lot of work that can be done in offline, but there are a lot of opportunities that I think can be kind of spearheaded with some of the behaviors that we're just going to have to face whether we want to or not.
Joshua Ness 24:18
Yeah, I think especially with COVID, the the ship, the whole shipping conversation has changed. I can't tell you the number of times I purchased something on Amazon or another retailer and I get notifications from UPS or USPS. You know, your your item is being delivered on this particular day by this particular time. And I'm like, I have no idea what I ordered. I don't even know what's in there. And it's like, two days shipping through whatever day shipping like, it doesn't matter. I forgot that I ordered the thing. And so I think that the the the question about what is the key value driver? Whereas it used to be, I want it now. Now it's going to be Is this something that actually adds meaning and value to your life? And which which is which probably is a whole different panel
that we can have whole a different discussion.
Joshua Ness 25:02
Tiffany, like, we've touched on some really great ways that the consumer should be spoken to and reached. And I'm curious, what is your, what is your opinion about how, what what role has technology played in creating these new funnel experiences? And these new omnichannel experiences? Like what channels, just give us a quick primer, what did 4G unlock? And what kind of effects do you think 5G is going to have on omnichannel experiences?
Tiffany Stone 25:31
Yeah, I. So I think with 4G, it's the experiences that we see on our phones today. The ability to kind of engage more deeply with social media, you know, having videos even. But I think you know, where it falls short, and this is where 5G is truly, you know, transformational is being able to kind of weave in that commerce component, and break out these kind of subcategories in each platform. So, you know, think about, like Instagram, like, we've, you know, we have the Instagram posts, and then we start to introduce video and, you know, most recently, you know, now we're starting to do some, like, you know, stories and some live streaming. But there's clearly demand for individuals to want to purchase on Instagram. So that's, you know, one of the reasons why it's such a great acquisition channel to because they're seeing very high ROI from those users on Instagram. So brands are starting to tag their products to their posts. But, you know, I think the next iteration, and I think we're seeing this with already live stream videos is live stream shopping. And that's where you need the bandwidth, the latency, the ability to support millions of users that are trying to purchase products, and being able to tie it in real time to your actual inventory, so that you can fulfill all these orders. You know, that is something that actually can't exist today, just on 4G alone. But beyond that, you know, it's consumers also want to feel more confident about shopping remotely. And that's where 3D merchandise plays a new role. And this is where we're talking about new distribution channels now. And this is something that at the 5G labs we call immersive commerce. And so you know, the the ability to try on a piece of product at home, and how does that help reduce returns? How does that give somebody more confidence that like, oh, I see this going with my outfit? Or oh, I could definitely see this, you know, sitting in my living room. And so I think there's added functionality that we haven't even seen exist yet. And existing channels, there's channels that are emerging, and there's revenue opportunities sitting in, you know, all of these different features and new ways of distribution.
Joshua Ness 27:48
Yeah, I think they the whole experience is changing, and it's going to continue changing As it continues changing, what are some of these next generation data points that you think are going to be important for driving the omnichannel of the future? Like, what what will retailers need to be measuring that they up to this point might not have even thought about? This is actually, I mean, Tiffany, feel free to kick it off. This is a question I'd love all your opinion on.
Tiffany Stone 28:14
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think, one, it's like, what do you do with all of this data, when you collect is, is the most important. And so this goes back to what Marie mentioned in the beginning. But you know, looking at, and I would say, like channel by channel, in the offline space. I mean, that is low hanging fruit. You know, there, it's obvious that consumers are walking into stores, and they're walking out, we don't know enough. And, you know, as Amanda mentioned, there's just so much opportunity to incorporate technology to understand, like, how customers are showing intent to purchase. So, you know, something that we've been incubating in our 5G Labs is using computer vision, to skeletal track people as they walk around a store. And we can actually get granular insights into what products somebody has actually reached our arm out grabbed a product, what that specific product is, and how long they're holding on to that product. How long are they standing in front of a certain fixture in the store? And, you know, what does that tell us about how we can optimize the store? And are there products that are being highly engaged, but we're seeing low conversion rate? And, you know, what can we do there to kind of drive conversion of those products? And so I think all of those, you know, tie back into this concept of, and I'm obsessed with this term now, but user interest journey, and so this conversion funnel becomes much more layered rather than just, you know, from walk in to transaction. I think, you know, with immersive commerce, the data points that were produced predicting in the future are you know, if if somebody goes in actually tries on, let's say, a piece of apparel, in augmented reality, and that is part of a new again, layer in that conversion funnel because it now it's not just about acquisition, but there's a new form of active activation. And then I think even thinking about referral, it's, you know, they have a digital souvenir now, so how do they share it? And how does that feed back into new customers or how they kind of return and transact too. So those are all things that I think you know, are on the horizon, but definitely very possible.
Joshua Ness 30:24
Yeah, that makes me think of this, this whole idea of like aspirational shopping, like the the people who walk into a Barney's because they want to feel like they want to feel like they like they can and do shop there, even though they might not be able to, to be able to afford a lot of what's in there. But I think what you're talking about these new types of immersive shopping allows for a whole new generation of aspirational shopping. And not only can I try on this particular piece of clothing, but I can set that as my profile photo. And now I can project to the world that this is, this is how I see myself, even if I'm not there yet. And that's I think that's a super interesting way to start thinking about customer, customer loyalty, to start capturing that customer before they are even in a position to be your customer is something really interesting. Also, while we were talking I went and copyrighted customer interest journey, so nobody else, nobody can take it.
Tiffany Stone 31:21
Yeah, and just to kind of respond quickly to that, Josh, I think you hit it hit it right on the head in terms of distribution context matters. And that's going to be different across product categories, channels. And I think that's actually a data point that is it feels more qualitative. But I think when you have lots of people deciding what distribution context matters for what products or brands are engaging with, that actually becomes, you know, actually a quantitative data point of them.
Joshua Ness 31:51
Yeah, for sure. Amanda, what do you think about that? What do you what sort of things do you think that your, the types of your customers are going to have to be collecting new data points as they move forward into omnichannel of the future?
Amanda Latifi 32:05
Yeah, I mean, the things that I think we need are not that hard to get is and to the point that Tiffany made like it's low hanging fruit in the store. And I think the way we're approaching the solution is that it doesn't have to be tech heavy or tech centric, to make it happen on the front end, for the consumer on the back end can be very tech heavy, there's a lot going on. But on the front end are already behaviors that consumers across the generations are starting to exhibit that I think we can just build from. And I think that's one of the most important things that tech and retail need to come together on is, instead of trying to force new behaviors, really paying attention to what's there, where's the desire, where the pain points for the shoppers instead of just where the pain points for the retailers, and I think some of those indicators, even for, you know, pain points on both sides is inventory, it's a pain for the retailers, when they don't have the inventory, it's a pain for the shopper, when they don't have the correct inventory. And even just creating that connectivity between in store and online just in regards to that is a really easy place to start.
Amanda Latifi 32:55
I'm excited for image recognition to come a little bit further. So I would love it if someone could just text us a picture of a clothing item. And we even know the exact item that it is. It's just not there yet Google's tried Amazon's tried. That's how we have to tag everything. And then just the attribution from from, you know, offline to online. We're not even there yet. And that's something that we're really focused on too. But there are just some very basic functions in the offline space, they could just create a much more well rounded approach for for retailers. And again, just to hit on some of the things we talked about. And just specifically, in regards to consumer demos and generations, I think we always thought in retail, we were really going to have to you know lead with the millennials are 18 to 24. And again, sorry to be the one that keeps talking about COVID. But I think what it's shown us all is you know, an older generation and older group of consumers are willing to adapt and adopt as long as it creates a functional brand experience for them. So curbside pickup by online pick up in store, I just think it's really interesting to pay attention to where the generation are latching on as well. And it tends to be a better experience driven by a better function.
Joshua Ness 34:16
That's a really good point that the type of data that you capture might vary from generation to generation or, or type of shopper. Marie, what do you think about that? And how are you in Dash Hudson and thinking about brands and their traction with different generations?
Marie La France 34:31
Well, I do want to say when it comes to that computer vision aspect, Amanda, we're working on it, you know, my...
Amanda Latifi 34:38
Marie La France 34:39
Yeah, we're going to talk offline. But my dream is a shopper, first of all I am a big shopper I shopped to be inspired, not just to purchase and that happens offline and online. Right? And I think, you know, my dream for my personal age group of demographics is I would love to see a cool shoe walking down the street in New York be able to take a picture of it with my phone and have it surface up as a way for me to buy it. I don't wanna have to talk to that stranger. Right? So I think the, the way we know that Gen Z and generation below them communicate is through visuals, like, people would much rather research the perfect meme or the perfect gift to send and craft like a text response to something. So I think, you know, the way we orient is very visually minded, I think thinking about the visuals your brand puts forth in the marketplace is super important. But in terms of data points, I think we would be remiss if we didn't talk a little bit about privacy, too, because I think the other thing we think about the next generation, they are very attuned to what has happened in the privacy space, you know, where does their data go? And I think, you know, we're gonna look back on the 2010s is a time where like, targeting just got crazy and didn't really move the needle that much, right. Like, if micro targeting based on someone's demographic works. So well, we would all be in boom times right now. And it's just not the case. So I think like, you know, pulling back a little bit on the need to know every single thing about your consumer because it's also not fair to them. And looking at things on a more macro scale, like your the way you can map a skeleton, the storm without touching, you don't even know who that person is. But you really don't you might want to, but do you need it? Probably not. And it's the same thing we see on social media, you know, I get asked all the time from Brand Partners like, well, I want to drill down to this this this this and this about an influencer? Like, I don't think you really need it, is it? Is it? Are they putting up beautiful stuff? Do you like it, go with that go with your gut, you know, so I think we need to, like, the next generation is going to be hyper aware of privacy and data sharing, I think it's only gonna get harder and harder. And I would like for brands to sort of take a step back and think about what they really need. Versus and and that's a little bit more macro, like finding tech, that's easy, easy for people to use, you know, it's going to be much more important than drilling down into specific data points.
Joshua Ness 36:52
Yeah, the you raise a really good point. It's a question that, Alexandra and the audience asked, which is about how, if we're capturing all of this data to surface the thing that people want, when they want it? How do we balance that fine line between maintaining trust with that user that, hey, we know enough about you that we're going to give you the things that you want without convincing them while trying to convince them that we're not gathering any of that extraneous data? We all we all I mean, if there's anybody here who was not convinced that social media listens to you, and then surfaces, things that you're talking about, you're crazy. And so like, how do we, how do we move beyond that conversation and say, you know, what, we are gathering data about you, here's how we're doing it, we're giving you the things that we think you want, we're enabling a feedback mechanism. So you can tell us whether we're right or wrong. And we want to make sure that we maintain your trust as a preferred retailer, how do you think we're gonna be able to do that in the next 10 years?
Amanda Latifi 37:51
I mean, I'll just talk really quickly, and this is very high level to your question. But even the way that we approach the relationship with the consumer, is they're essentially opting in to the product. So there is no passive data collection, when it comes to us. Someone let's just say from a tagger side is taking fish bag and texting it. So when they get a sale alert on that, or they get a specific offer offer on the product, you know, it is because they were the ones that engage, you know, not how it was when you know, none of us really understood retargeting, and it's like, oh, that I was looking at it, I must get it. It just appeared. It's happenstance. And I think, on this effort, my mother understands how that's working now. So I just think we're far past that. So I just think, I think even just moving from this passive data collection, where it did almost feel a little bit sneaky to be able to have I don't know if you'd call the conversation, but just an open exchange, like, hey, to have a better shopping experience, like, you know, show us things you like better. And a lot of it is about how can we serve you that creates a better retail experience for everyone, you know, sales, we're not, you know, wasting time on ROI things that don't deliver, we're continuing to invest in remarketing and getting charged for clicks that aren't driving ROI and things of that nature. That's a whole nother soapbox, I can get on. But I think just creating the relationship where it's not so passively captured anymore. And someone actually knows like, Oh, I'm getting this because I did this. And that's something I want because I'm now getting a more personalized experience, which is better for everyone all around.
Joshua Ness 39:16
Yeah, I would love to tell the internet that I already bought that pair of Adidas four months ago, you can stop showing me.
Amanda Latifi 39:22
I don't get I'm not gonna buy another pair. I bought two pairs of jeans for the year. That's all I need.
Joshua Ness 39:29
Marie La France 39:30
I do think there's a willingness of the generation that's grown up on social media to share you know, as long as they've got that opt in, like Amanda said, I think people are dying. What I see online and by platform is like, consumers are at mentioning a photo tagging brands in so much every day. I mean, it's just, like barrage of people like shouting about your brand. Listen to me, listen to me, listen, me, I use you, I use you and like, we're not listening to that enough. And again, it's like figuring out what you really need and should be listening to and keeping it transparent and letting people opt in. Because I do think there's a real willingness to share and what freaks you out when you get served something on Instagram, right? If you're talking about it, which happened to me recently, like, because I didn't, I didn't ask for that, you know.
Joshua Ness 40:12
Marie La France 40:13
But if you give me the platform, believe him to tell you what I want, because I want a lot of things.
Joshua Ness 40:17
Marie La France 40:17
So if there's a willingness, there just it doesn't have to be. So I mean, the place we're coming from, and the retail spaces is, we're still growing into this new world, like, the traditional way was very top down. This is our messaging, this is what we're telling you, here's our sale. And this is what this is. And we felt like we had to be better in this back room, like watching the shoppers as they walk through the store. But it doesn't say that you can move the curtain, you know, we can all participate in this together consumers and retailers together.
Tiffany Stone 40:44
I can also think of two really interesting examples like to, you know, both of what you're saying about like the opt in and how consumers get really upset when they don't have the opportunity to opt in. And they're served a personalized recommendation, I think it makes me it reminds me of the wine, the target kind of case study where they started targeting young woman who, you know, were probably shopping and displaying like that they might be pregnant. And so they all of a sudden started getting targeted with diapers and baby products, before they even actually, you know, we're ready to kind of share more broadly that they were pregnant. And that was like a huge fiasco. So again, I think that opt in is really important. And I was also thinking about, well, is there an example where consumers were okay, with not totally opting in, but we're really happy about it? And I think Amazon is really interesting there. Because, yes, you opt in to go into a cashless checkout store. But when you're in there, and I mean, they're collecting so much data about you, they're giving you recommendations you didn't ask for, they're reminding you of the things that you previously purchase. And do you want to transact again? And, you know, you haven't really agreed to any of that. And it's interesting that, I think, depending on how and where and individuals shopping, serving that passive data could be okay. And maybe it's, that's where it needs to be very, like needs base focus. So like, maybe also providing that passive data and recommendations is okay, when you're going into a store and returning something. And there's suggestions on oh, maybe you would like this. We're sorry, this didn't work out. And that's a nice experience. But absolutely, I think, um, you know, when in doubt, opt in or opt out.
Joshua Ness 42:35
It's a good one. Oh, man, you need to go and copyright that. Trademark, that one. Um, so, Tiffany, going staying with you for a second, you had mentioned, something that I thought was really fascinating that that I hadn't even really never engaged I've never really seen done about live stream shopping. And we got one of the questions from a member of the audience about how isn't that just QVC on your phone? Is it is it? Is it a disaggregated QVC with like better technology enablement? And why would something like live stream shopping be considered revolutionary? Or is it just more of the same? And I'm wondering how the types of of complimentary technology that 5G enables will make it we'll differentiate it from the home shopping network.
Tiffany Stone 43:25
Yeah, I mean, simply it is kind of like QVC. But now it's all together on like one device on your mobile device. And, you know, actually, in Asia, live stream shopping is already a multi billion dollar experience. So billion, billions of dollars of transactions are happening. And it is a influencer, like a social influencer, who is just live streaming, the things that you know, they've they're wearing, or they recommend, and, you know, the products are surfacing on a mobile device on your phone, and you're able to transact right there. And I think where 5G comes into play is, typically with a lot of shopping experiences stay, you're downloading all of this content onto your phone. And then and that's why it's, it can be really laggy. And then once you've downloaded it, and you're like scrolling through the product images, that's a you know, very kind of feels like a very 2D type of experience. It's not interactive, you're not having a community kind of engage with you. And imagine a million other people around you giving you feedback on this as well, that just takes a lot of data. And the ability to kind of stream a product onto your phone as somebody's recommending it and then boom, they've already moved on to the next product and you're still trying to like purchase it. That's just a less than ideal experience. And so I think, you know, the concept sure it is QVC but I think the experience will feel so different. And imagine navigating through multiple influencers like it's almost like going to a mega mall and every little storefront, like virtual storefront is an influence influencer standing there waiting to talk to you and sell you all these products. So I think there's an opportunity like for so much more when it's an integrated experience.
Joshua Ness 45:16
Yeah, it makes me think about what about how that might. Because when you think about live stream shopping Marie's example of seeing someone with a pair of shoes on the street, it's it's seeing that product and action and it seeing what someone looks like and how someone behaves and what that what that aspirational with aspiration might be around that live stream, whether it's live stream on your phone, or live stream right in front of you. Or if it's something that's on TV that isn't even meant to be live stream, which I think is where is what we're kind of talking about, is enabling those kinds of experiences. When I think about one of the first one of the first significant unintentional influencers, Michelle Obama, who, when she would show up on a talk show or when she would be at an event? I mean, isn't there an argument argument to be made that Michelle Obama contributed to JCrew's rise in the 2010s? Because of what she would wear and people saying, I see that I aspire to that, how can I get that? And how long was it? Or did they ever JCrew, create a mechanism for to say, you just saw this thing on TV or on the internet. Here's how you can buy it? And and how can we use technology, then this isn't necessarily a question of if anybody wants to answer it, how can we use technology to create those types of engagement opportunities? And that might lead us into something that were that we that we talked about in the future. Is is is what types of, of these experiences or innovations are being created within within emergent channels that can drive these conversions? And we've already talked a little bit about enabling or being capable of enabling these new secondary channels of purchase influence. What so the example is already given up, somebody's taking a picture of something in a store, posting it, and then someone else being interested in saving that. And so I'm curious, as we as we're thinking about how to win the purchase today and tomorrow? What are these new types of experiences and product innovations that are going to need to be created?
Amanda Latifi 47:21
I was just going to, I'm going to lead it into what your question was, and piggyback on Tiffany, like I even know for a fact that, you know, NBC Universal is doing the shoppable TV, sorry to be the person that just keeps saying tech doesn't have to be that hard to work. But it's the exact thing of you're watching a show here is the item scan the QR code, we take you to a checkout page, and it happens all within kind of one experience. And it happens outside of US the fact that, you know, it's taken us a while to kind of like get it all together and start doing it. But then the fact that we're using, I feel like I'm the tech doesn't have to be heavy in COVID has created opportunities person, but we're all interacting with QR codes now, you know, just to get basic information now. So just being able to create an experience with that seems like an obvious solution. And you know, to the point that you said, Josh, like, it's right there, why would you give someone the ability to connect desire to purchase instead of leaving it up to the consumer to maybe find that item? Why not just make the user interest journey easier? I wrote that down, I'm going to start using it as well.
Marie La France 48:25
I think, from my perspective, first of all, what's wrong with QVC? Like, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But QVC is an interesting example of entertainment and commerce are not mutually exclusive. I know plenty of people that just space out and watch QVC because it's soothing, you know what I mean? Like, they're, they're it they're not enemies. And this idea of a separation between church and state between entertainment commerce is just like, I think it's kind of old school, you know, I, it's, as long as it's not trying too hard to sell something to me in terms of the content space, right? Like, if you're just displaying, I'm on I want to watch it, but if I want something I want to be available to me. And I think that's the shift in mindset. But in terms of the tech that, you know, we want to see in the future and how we're gonna make this possible. If Amanda's thing about the in store experience and how you're optimizing in real time. But we're thinking about is one visual, obviously, and we're building towards that, but to how you're analyzing all the data that you have in a cohesive way to get to your main your main KPIs overall, right, and finding a solution that can take in all of these million data points and make it easier as you're evaluating the performance so that you actually do evaluate the performance because what I'm seeing also in the market is that there's just so much we have like, analysis paralysis. That I hardly ever see teams really dive into what worked and what didn't, and something because they've already moved on to the next everyone's stretched too thin. So finding a way to cohesively analyze all your data quickly. That so that you can empower yourself to make smart choices. I think that's going to come down the line and getting data from 10 different endpoints to tell one story that's going to have to change. So using your Google UTM codes plus the information you're getting from social media plus your in store plus your ecomm, like finding a way for that all to be one cohesive set of numbers that's analyzed for you so that you can make the right decision. That's where our heads are up for the future.
Amanda Latifi 50:17
I do that too. Because to be honest, like, it is data paralysis, we have so much data. And I think we all keep using the word. I don't think we're misusing the word data. And I don't just mean us as a group here. I mean, in a general sense, it's like, we don't just need more data, we need more insights. So even for us like this, many people interacted with this product, okay, we can tell you that, but what we've also done is added a button that says now create a win back. So it's not just about, here's the data you have, but here's the data you have, here's an insight or recommendation to empower you to now do something with that data, because we all just keep like collecting, collecting, collecting. And then we said, let's start putting it together and putting it together, and now have a bunch of pretty pictures. And we know a lot of stuff, what are we doing with it? And so I think even now, I'm speaking broadly again, to but when you're going into these groups of concepts, or you know, pilots, or you're investigating something going and really understanding what the KPRs, you're trying to get out of this, like what what what is the measurable thing, and I'm harping on that a little bit because of in store, because there aren't a lot of, you know, KPIs, because there's not been really specific things. So even as we all start to use tech to take this further on, either on the offline or online journey, like, you know, what is that that data point that we're trying to understand better? And when we have it, what are we going to do with it?
Tiffany Stone 51:33
I'm super excited that you brought that up, I think, yes, the confusion between data and insights is constant, and there's no value or utility if you can't come up with a recommendation. And this actually reminds me of a learning that, you know, we had in our 5G Labs working on a couple of pilots within retail. And this actually goes back to the very first question of defining that conversion funnel that you aspire to have, and, and asking, you know, your teams internally, why do you want to have that information? Like what what decisions will you do with it, then? And then really, this is more like dashboard reporting, and how you present the data. But then what as you're collecting data collected in a way that you know, ties into that conversion funnel that you aspire to have and the decisions that you want to make. And that is where to your point, Amanda, you're not collecting data and then deciding, like, we could structure it like this, or maybe we'll look at it bottom up and top down and this sideways. But instead, you you have already a structure of how it's flowing in. And once you have enough, you know, a couple months of it, you can look at trends, you're like, okay, this, this makes sense. And now we immediately can kind of gain insight, and you don't have to set set up a separate team to kind of, you know, go down that funnel. So I love that distinction that you just made between data insights and recommendations.
Joshua Ness 53:00
Yeah. As we're looking to the future, how are we with it with a couple minutes that we have left. As we're looking to the future, what are what are some of the ways that your future proofing your work? And I'd like to hear from from each of us here in just a few minutes about about something that you might be using. A lot of people have mentioned QR codes. And I think QR codes have seen this resurgence in COVID. And I'm wondering, what what do you have in mind as we as you as you understand how connectivity has the potential to change things. What are you doing to make sure that you and then your clients stay relevant moving into the future?
Amanda Latifi 53:46
I can jump on here because we brought up QR codes. So like I was part of the first wave of marketers, I was in CPG. At the time 2008. We were testing putting QR codes on boxes for SC Johnson to see if we can help people understand how to use oils. No understood QR code was. And I think we all just like forget that this doesn't work. But the ease of the QR code has always been that connectivity. So taking offline to online where we're trying to do it is take them a step further to be a specific product identifier for us not to drive someone to an online experience, but to create function. So now you can scan a QR code, save a product, we've gathered the data. And now we can have a conversation without anyone actually having to tap send. And it all happens with just a scan, for instance. So for us, it's just kind of that ease and connectivity but just using it a little bit differently. And that's really how we're trying to stay future proof as well. So we started utilizing QR codes about two years ago built our system around it. And as retailers are starting to use QR codes as product identifiers. It just helps our process run. So again, for us, it's looking for ways to respond to a behavior that a consumer is already exhibiting solve a pain point easily without heavy tech for both the retailer and the shopper. And I think as we all stay mindful of you know what we're doing to be future proofed, I think we would be ignorant to say ease and function and utility doesn't need to be a big part of that. And we need to use 5G because apparently makes everything much, much faster.
Joshua Ness 55:16
So much faster. Marie, any any thoughts on future proofing?
Marie La France 55:20
Yeah, I mean, I said before, you know, we've placed a bet that visuals are still going to be the main point of communications for generations to come, right, like we've put our stake in that ground. And so what we're working on is kind of twofold. One is the innovation in computer vision and how how we can apply it in positive ways versus extraneous and or nefarious way. Like we're not doing facial recognition that's not on our roadmap of product recognition certainly is. and creating visual predictions for videos, which has so many other elements like sound and so that's on Dash Hudson's radar from an innovation standpoint, but on our radar from like, it's very funny, like back to basics, exactly what you're saying, Tiffany is is taking in all this feedback from our huge base of customers about what what data they want to see and saying no, to a lot of it honestly, like, what are the most actionable insights that you can get from all of these different places? And how are we surfacing that to you in a in a cohesive and understandable way? So, you know, it's sort of twofold at Dash Hudson, but I think even we were talking earlier on, like, when we all got to know each other for this call about 5G and how it's, hopefully, you know, it will, it will