The third edition of Shopgrade saw dozens of representatives from brands, agencies and retailers re-uniting for a full day of research reports, trends analysis and solutions showcase. With a line-up twice the size of the previous edition, the event was hosted in Bucharest, marking the re-opening of live conferences in the post-pandemic context.
Speakers from leading agencies, thought leaders and members of the startup ecosystem showcased their views on the new-normal in shopping behavior and the future of retail marketing. The day was opened by Raluca Raschip, Consumer Goods & Retail Director at GfK, which walked us through a quantitative outlook of the past year’s consumption dynamics. As one could expect, everything home-related experienced substantial growth, with the beverages category being the top-performer.
Diana Stafie, Foresight Consultant at Future Station continued the discussion, shifting the perspective from how the retail looks today to how it will look in the near future. Besides introducing concepts such as dark stores, robotic shelves and AI driven assortments, Diana proposed an actionable approach for adopting foresight analysis in everyday operations.
The panel reserved for MarTech solutions saw Cosmin Marinescu, Managing Director at Lummetry AI presenting a compelling case for practical applications of Artificial Intelligence. Working only with sets of basic data found on a regular cash register receipt, an AI engine can forecast with incredible accuracy future sales and can pinpoint unexpected connections between SKUs and categories.
Coming next, Florina Zamfir, Client Service Director at g7, introduced a smarter way to do sampling, built on opt-in from consumers, data-driven segmentation and home delivery. Sampleit, a service first developed in Ireland, offers brands a direct connection to consumer feedback and it brings a new social media dimension to the good-old sampling tactic.
Moreover, a novel way of managing field marketing projects was presented by Silviu Costin, Product Manager of Feasy.io, a platform custom built for the industry, that offers brands and agencies a powerful campaign management software connected to a marketplace of independent field agents. With an architecture built on individual missions, Feasy brings more speed and transparency in field marketing projects.
In the second half of the day Radu Atanasiu, Lecturer of Thinking & Decision in Business @ Bucharest International School of Management, provoked the audience with a nugget of critical thinking. When it comes to sales pitches, common wisdom is to focus on the positives. Yet preparing in advance for the negatives and understanding why customers may say no is much more effective.
This is a bit contrary to the rational approach we take on business. But the truth is that we, as consumers, act many times in irrational ways. In her keynote, Ana Iorga, Chief Neuroscientist at Buyer Brain, highlighted precisely the irrational behavior that can be observed in the new digital journeys through which online shoppers go. There is a magic solution to this, and that is reducing friction and making life easy for consumers.
Sorin Psatta, a true institution in the local advertising landscape, did a wonderful job in getting us back to the basics. A brand is a promise and all that marketing and advertising are really about is building relationships. And even though the context is radically different, people’s needs and aspiration are still the same. And also our job as marketers is the same: keeping true to our brands promise and delivering it every day, on every channel.
The discussion on media channels was continued by Mirela Bucoviceanu, Founder of Molecule F and Molecule PR which, as an Influencer herself, was the perfect guide to walk us through why influencer marketing is here to stay. After touching on the state of digital channels today, she highlighted both the benefits and pitfalls of working with influencers and provided a practical toolkit to ensure brand-influencer fit, the golden rule in this topic.
Razvan Cucui, a seasoned professional in the media industry and a HoReCa entrepreneur, closed the day with an intimate story of his challenges as a business owner with digital transformation and the abrupt disruption of business models. He also provided some valuable insights on how to reposition yourself and how the new platform industry and direct-to-home model work.
“We’ve received fantastic feedback from our guests and we are more than happy now for our decision and audacity to host an offline event. It is a bet that payed off. We believe retail marketing is about human connection and, even though we recognize the value of online events, in this respect, you can’t beat face-to-face gatherings. We are honored by the presence of so many retail marketing professionals at Shopgrade and we are humbled by the openness of our speakers. 2021 is already behind, we’ve started working on the next event, so stay close for the 4th edition of Shopgrade in 2022, hopefully free of restrictions.” said Toni Gherca, CIO g7 Marketing.
Shopgrade is the Forum for Retail Marketing Professionals. It is designed as a space in which everyone can share views, exchange ideas, digest emerging trends and work together towards a brighter future for our industry. Because at its core, retail marketing is not about shelves or stock, but about people and relationships.
Shopgrade is hosted by g7. For 20 years, g7 lives and breathes Retail Marketing. As the ultimate meeting ground for brands and shoppers, we believe retail is the foundation for sustainable brand development and long-term consumer loyalty. We work openly with clients, retailers, technology partners and fellow agencies to advance the shopper-centric approach towards retail marketing.