ShopTalk 2018: Scott Bitney

By March 23, 2018Insights

Scott Bitney

Broker, L3 Corporation.


I was pleasantly surprised at how upbeat the show was compared to recent events that I have been to. It was the first time that I felt people were excited about change. Now that might have been the setting since it was a tech conference focused on e-commerce and they are moving up the bell curve not down, but there were some interesting perspectives. In addition, I was also impressed about the initiative that retailers were taking to invest in new technology, people, and store upgrades to change the future of their store performance.

  • Wharton Professors – Group of Wharton Professors speaking about what they see with market trends
      • Key Point Takeaways
        • Gen Z – Is not brand loyal
        • Retailers must be aware of the new threat of direct-to-consumer
        • 55% of all Retail searches occur on Amazon rather than Google
  • Retailer Startup Relationships – Panel with Lowes, AYR, Mizzen and Main
      • Key Point Takeaways
        • Lowes
          • Focused on Customer Experience and Design
          • 60% of Purchases with Lowes are influenced by some type of digital
          • They sometimes find it easier to buy or partner with tech firms like b8ta to do stores within stores
        • AYR
          • Past – Brand set the style, Today – People are telling the brands what styles they want
          • Exclusivity and Experience – Keys to their success
        • Mizzen and Main
          • Great story about start of the company and success to date
          • Used the media to get his brand name out there
  • GroceryTalk
      • New segment this year at ShopTalk that was extremely popular
        • Key Point Takeaways (From Kroger and Sprouts speakers)
          • People are buying for today rather than a whole week
          • Private label has a lot of potential, but it must have great taste and be differentiated by low price. Price can’t/won’t be the only determining factor in the future
          • Grocers are taking the extra step to engage with the customer for example with fish, telling them where the fish has been caught, how to cook the fish, the nutritional value of the fish – this is done all by the store employees and digital signs within the store
  • Macys Keynote
      • Macys CEO
        • Key Point Takeaways
          • 2017 – Macys conducts a Forensic Analysis of Customer to determine why they are losing market share and visits
            • North Star strategy focused on:
              • Inspiration, Value, Fashion and Great Experience
              • Redid website and App
            • Other updates
              • New loyalty program, mobile checkouts, doubling online assortment, raising exclusive products assortment from 29%to 40% within stores
            • Macys Backstage
              • Adding a Macy’s Backstage within a store boosts sales in the full line store by 7%
  • Target Keynote
      • Target CEO
        • Key Point Takeaways
          • Target will continue to grow its private label and brand partnerships – just signed Hunter Boots for limited run partnership
          • Partnering with Google Home to link up shoppers and Target
          • Focused on making it easier for the customer pickup items outside of the store and stressing their acquisition of Shipt as an example of big strides that they are making to show that Target is changing
  • Amazon Go Keynote
      • This was a very interesting conversation about how Amazon created this store and concept.
      • Two fascinating points that they revealed is typically Amazon writes a press release about a product or feature and then builds it and that they have thousands of people focused on machine learning – probably should have made that assumption but crazy to think about compared to others
  • Ulta
      • Ulta CEO
        • Key Point Takeaways
          • Ulta is completely focused on the personalization of retail, making a retail connection become a human connection
          • Partnering Google shipping for 2-day shipping, Facebook, and Spruce Labs
          • The new normal is investing to innovate, collaboration, using your funds to maximize efficiencies
  • Nike
      • I know that you run and don’t know if you have the Nike app but this speaker sold me on it.
      • Started a line called Reserved for You – dedicated to loyal customers and allows them access to special brands – has a 40% conversation rate – shows the power of exclusivity
      • Nike is offering customers the ability to interact with their expert athletes about shoes they like, workout gear the use, etc.
      • Sneaker Stash – Custom sneaker growth has seen a 300% increase in recent years
  • Ocado
      • UK Online Grocer – Fascinating company
        • Online Grocer Business in US 2-3%  — UK 7-8%
        • Online Grocer Business will expand by 100 Billion in the next several years
        • They focus on home delivery and will even put it on your shelves in your house
        • They have the highest penetration of Fresh Food in all of UK – They also tell the customer how long the food will be fresh for
        • They have 99% item accuracy

This guy blew me away on a sector that I thought was going to be hard to penetrate with the idea that no one has done it right in the US yet. He explained the logistics process during his speech and after seeing that there is no doubt that the food gets to you quicker and fresher than any other traditional grocer if done right.

  • Pinterest
      • Pinterest CEO
        • 9/10 Pinterest users say Pinterest sways them on what to buy
        • Their goal is to inspire – personalize – buy
        • New feature allows you to tag items then search for the product
  • Facebook
      • Key Point takeaways from several Facebook speakers
        • People look at their phones over 100 times a day
        • Both traditional retailers and startups are using Facebook messenger to assist with customer service. Allows for a real-time conversation.
        • Instagram Shopping was launched last week
        • 2.1 Billion people are on Facebook – 90% through mobile devices
        • 6 million companies advertise on Facebook
        • Targeting reaps 4 times the results/sales as other advertising
        • 79% of consumers would rather watch a video than read text
  • Walmart
    • Marc Lore
      • Walmart saw 40% growth in their online business this year
      • Free 2-day shipping and same day shipping will be offered in 100 markets by the end of the year
      • They are keeping the brand acquisitions autonomous
      • New launches – Allswell and Walmart Home
      • They are looking to acquire more brands
      • still focused on urban dwellers making more money / is focused on middle America
  • Google
      • Data is the new backbone of retail, Google is the #1 driver of traffic to retailers
      • Six ways Google is getting into the game
        • Google Assistant
        • Google Cloud
        • Shopping Ads
        • Shopping Actions
        • ARCore
        • Google Pay
      • Stat – In-store  sales influenced by a digital touch point
        • 2004 – 13%
        • 2017 – 58%
      • People want now – see attached picture referring to same day delivery, travel, etc.


  • Startups
    • It was interesting to hear the conversations from startups. There were common themes. They loved pop-up shops so long as they didn’t look like pop-ups and they were not willing to commit to permanent spaces for over 5 years. There was not one session that I was in with a startup that the point was not made that brick and mortar increased online sales for them.


SCOTT BITNEY specializes in third party landlord representation, tenant representation and property disposition. A graduate of Saint Louis University, Scott began his career working for a development firm specializing in Wal-Mart anchored projects where he transacted deals with junior anchors, small shop tenants and outparcel users.

Rachel Elias Wein

Rachel Elias Wein

Rachel Elias Wein is CEO & Founder of WeinPlus. Focused on the impact of consumer change on commercial real estate, Rachel serves as the principal strategic advisor for industry-leading owners and operators of commercial real estate. Additionally, Rachel is an independent director for Alpine Income Property Trust (NYSE: PINE) a net-lease retail REIT.

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