8,000 people—that would be the expected attendance for Shoptalk 2019, taking place next week from March 3rd to 6th in Las Vegas. That’s a good growth curve for just its 4th annual meeting. One way to think of Shoptalk is that it’s where retail meets digital commerce. Having attended the event since the inception, it’s no surprise that this event has taken off in fast fashion. Formerly at the Aria Hotel, an excellent conference venue in its own right, Shoptalk will move down the Strip to the Venetian Resort. The latter complex has the advantage of housing the cavernous and adjacent Sands Expo hall which suits the expansion needs of Shoptalk 2019 just fine.
The changing logistics aside, here’s what Mercator is looking to track down for significant merchant payments topics and related technology applications:
- Mobile payment apps sponsored by single merchants will show high growth in usage in 2019. While this mobile pay category suffers from inconsistency in quality and user experience, there are some best-of-breed applications. Fast food and fast casual restaurants lead the way in how to develop a successful mobile pay app, but other retailers are catching up.
- Mobile self-checkout will see more deployments of this nascent technology in both the U.S. and Europe. Realization of a pure-play, totally automated self-checkout has taken a while to become operational for the buying public. Amazon’s development and implementation of the Amazon Go mobile self-checkout has received most of the headlines, but other developers are entering this market with different types of technology in the mix.
- Online ordering and delivery has reached escape velocity across various retail segments. Watch for the U.S. grocery online sales to have a breakout year in 2019. Online grocery sales in the United States have very low penetration, estimated at 1–2% of the total market. In comparison, penetration of the U.K. market is about 8–9%.
- Merchants’ customer loyalty programs are being energized. Heavy competition from credit card loyalty programs with higher incentives and cash back means that stores must fight back by offering premium rewards and experiences for their best customers.
Mercator will be on scene at Shoptalk 2019 starting Sunday afternoon, March 3rd. We’re happy to talk shop and exchange thoughts on happenings at the event—reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule some time with us. Hope to see you there!
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group