Two Takeaways from 2018 Shop.Org


Retail in 2018 is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Data and machine learning are redefining the way we sell and shop, trade wars are looming, Millennials are dominating, and we’re at the outer bands of what’s forecasted to be the biggest holiday season in history (if 2018 Prime Day and Singles Day are indicators… and they are).  It’s no wonder that this year’s Shop.Org was packed with cutting-edge technology and the conversations to match. Also, Pauly D. 


Simplr had the pleasure of spending the week learning about new retail brands, seeing the awesome technology on the expo floor, and listening to the best minds in retail tell their stories and make sense of the completely uncharted retail landscape of 2018. 

(Side note: I loved that 62% of Shop.Org’s Main Stage speakers were female leaders. 38% were guys, but only 4.5% were named Guy. It was Guy Raz. And he was awesome.)

Ok, here we go: 

Takeaway #1: Customers are Building the Biggest Names in Retail Right Now

The heavy-hitters of retail on the 2018 Shop.Org Main Stage shared a common thread: their brands live and breathe by their customers’ every whim. Obviously, good retailers have focused on the customer since Man’s First Convenience Store, but this is different. Way different. 

It’s Glossier’s SVP of Marketing Ali Weiss harnessing millions of Millennial voices every week to develop a brand that reflects their preferences and styles. 


It’s Away co-founder Jen Rubio on the cusp of disrupting the travel industry alongside the company’s legion of  globe-trotting ambassadors.

It’s Talia Halperin – Head of Commerce for Buzzfeed’s Tasty – stepping head first into a content tornado only to to discover brand/product value and success in the Facebook comments. 

Companies’ access to their customers (and vice versa) is higher than ever. Not only are vocal audiences sustaining brands, they’re creating them from the ground up.

Takeaway #2: Personalization is the $800 Billion Elephant in the Room

Kiran Mani, Managing Director of Retail at Google, gave it to us straight: Over the next few years, $800 billion in sales will shift to e-retailers that use site personalization and away from those that don’t. It’s because today’s online shoppers aren’t messing around. According to Mani, Google Data shows that they’re:

  • Curious. 55% growth in searches for “ideas” on mobile
  • Demanding. 1 in 3 expect personalized recommendations
  • Impatient. 120% growth in “same day shipping” searches. 53% of mobile site visits re abandoned if a page takes 3+ seconds to load. Ouch.
Kiran Mani Google

We saw Google Lens in action and heard about Pinterest’s venture into visual-based, personalized shopping: Lens Your Look.

“When thinking about ‘buzz’ around emerging tech like AI, I consider how much more relevant, appropriate shopping is getting for me personally & how that anchors the experience — then the ‘buzz’ goes away,” said Amy Vener, Retail Vertical Strategy Lead at Pinterest.

With personalization dominating all facets of UX and digital marketing, isn’t there a concern about customers’ privacy and data? Not so much, said Erik Archer, Marketing Director for Treasure Data. In fact:

  • 67% of Milllennials expect offers from companies to always be personalized
  • 63% of Millennials say they understand how companies use their data
  • 64% of Millennials say they’re comfortable with companies using their data in exchanged for a personalized engagement.

And so, the investment in personalization rolls on. 

Thank you to Shop.Org for a memorable and informative week! 

Simplr is a way to personalize your 1:1 interactions with customers at scale for a fraction of the cost of hiring staff to do so. We do this by leveraging an on-demand, human network of US-based Simplr specialists. Equipped with AI capabilities, these specialists have the knowledge at their fingertips to support any retailer’s customers.