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Planning for retail’s new priorities

Carrie Tharp
VP Retail & Consumer - Google Cloud at Google
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Google Cloud Next 2020
July 14, 2020, Online, San Francisco, CA, USA
Google Cloud Next 2020
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Planning for retail’s new priorities
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About speakers

Carrie Tharp
VP Retail & Consumer - Google Cloud at Google
Neelima Sharma
Senior Vice President Ecommerce, Marketing & Merchandising Product Management & Technology at Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Innovative Chief Digital Officer/Chief Marketing Officer with experience driving growth and business transformation in retail, consumer products and eCommerce based businesses. Creating data driven, customer centric strategies that drive growth through new customer experiences, digital innovation, and business model expansion. Currently focused on evolving retail capabilities for the new digital age - dedicated to building teams and experiences to serve customers in new and compelling ways.

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nnovative technology executive leading Product Management and Engineering of E-commerce, Merchandising and Marketing technology.A Builder at heart. Passion for creating delightful Customer experiences and technology products that drive loyalty, sales and market share.Collaborative leader and business partner with “Big 5” consulting experience. Natural ability to forge strong relationships. Demonstrated success in building high performing teams.Expertise in establishing Product vision and roadmaps. Skilled in setting technology strategies that leverage modern architecture, cloud-native and open sources technology.

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About the talk

The unprecedented shift in consumer behavior caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a momentous impact in retail, with exponential demand for some, and devastating cost pressure for other retailers.

While the new normal is still being defined, the industry’s shift to digital has been universally accelerated. Retailers are sprinting to cover gaps in omnichannel capabilities, customer experience, and supply chain responsiveness that have come to the forefront in the last few months. In this session Carrie Tharp, VP Retail, Google Cloud, shares how Google Cloud can help retailers plan for what's next in retail.

Speakers: Carrie Tharp, Neelima Sharma

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Hi. I'm Jerry Tharp and I lead retail for Google Cloud driving her strategy, product roadmap, and go to market for the industry. Thank you for listening in. I'm excited to talk about how we're supporting the transformation of retail. First, I want to start by recognizing everyone joining into the session, many of you, and your team have been working tirelessly to keep your customers and employees safe, while ensuring everyone has access to the products and services. They need, we know, it has been a trying couple of months and appreciate everything that you were doing to adapt to serve

your customers during this crisis. Thank you from all of us. Heart of a pandemic retail already have a lot going on keeping up with waves of change in the last 20 years. First launching e-commerce business has been shifting to operate in a more on the way and most recently trying to break them all to create truly channel is experience, is all well, customer preferences and expectations, have continually evolved, the piece of disruption has been high in an industry where prior to covid-19 revenue, growth rates were generally low and now, sizable Revenue declines or for some of you grows with

margin pressures, have created a new urgency for digital transformation plan, and creating a new retail. Playbook the volatility and uncertainty for you and your customers in a recent survey by Mackenzie, only 15% of people felt optimistic about an economic recovery and 25% said they intend to spend less so understanding demand and consumer behaviors in real time is now, Whenever? I've been forced to break their normal routine. Necessity is when people to try new products and services that can help them adapt and everything. Google

survey, we saw that you tried a new service for the first time. More than 25% went online to purchase something. They would normally buy in store and more than 50% that curbside pickup only beneficial even when your stores reopen. The critical question is, how much of a stick which of your operational? Metrics will go back to historical averages and which type of behaviors will continue with routines. Impacted consumers, old habit Loops have been broken and they may have been forming new one right now. The novelty of virtual happy hours May wear off, but perhaps all

that digital grocery shopping will stay as months of repeated Behavior. Comes convenient Hereford. We are now well, into the time frame. It takes for me to have it Research into Behavior change after the 2014 tube strike in London found, that 1464 alternate route, people found Superior journey and after the strike, people are less likely to return to their priests write commute. We want to make sure that your position to capture growth opportunities with these new Journeys that are being created in retail right now, but changed the opportunity to grow your share and reposition

with customers Google Trends. And our survey showed some new patterns for you to be thinking about in your updated. Playbook. Consumers are trying to regain a sense of control through safety measures. This is just function change in recent on some level, what changes to your physical environment needs to be made and how fast can you stand up new digital experiences? Basics are still coming. First, while non-essential luxury, and aspirational shopping remains low as economic impact lingers, how do you digitally engage consumers and love local inventory, and

fulfillment to capture more to manage private and personal life. Promotion, also can take on new, relevance consumers to help bring me outside into their home as things. Return to normal, how will you recapture traffic and engagement as trip Dynamics? Have changed and may not recover. And finally, e-commerce is now at the center of the journey. The store isn't ahead and will always have a huge role but do your store has become a digital extension and is restoring e-com supply chain as well enough for future uncertainty. Consumer

Trends in mind. Let's talk about priorities for creating. What is next in retail? In addition to changing consumer Dynamics, the paint has created a new contacts for business. Continuity plans, the store has always been the heart of retail but now no one is certain what the new normal will be, including the exact role of the store. Many of you have been tasked with pulling your digital transformation plans forward two to three years as retail. Executives expect a slow path back. No one can predict exactly how things will evolve over the next year, but comparisons to lyr out the

window, operational metrics have turned upside down and consumer behaviour is in in charted Waters. As you set your path forward whether its recovery or holding on to the growth, you may have recently experienced, I want to share with you a few of the top things were working on with our retail customers right now. First is boosting online experience. A recent survey. Retail Executives revealed that respondents expect online penetration to remain to 13 basis points above pre-coated level. Enabling Ecommerce systems to handle the sustained. Increase in demand,

as well as rapidly adding scalable new on the experiences increasing 121 personalization and understanding digital signals is a top priority on roadmaps regardless of what product category. Second is rethinking store operation, keeping employees in customer safe, requires new in-store capabilities finding the right model for your brand and customers will require some tests and learn short-term. Appointment, adjusting Staffing, creating new contact list engagement and more pick-up. And delivery options are all critical. Disney Digital Store experiences,

do create more operational and optimization. Need to ensure that you can meet customer expectations while managing your margin. We are working with retailers right now to help navigate to Senor. Complexity third is ensuring organization already. Now responding to this crisis is a massive organizational undertaking, as you shift into recovery mode, it will require investment to develop and Implement new processes and tools. We provide solutions to tackle, work-from-home conditions and can Implement training programs. To prepare stores. Do shit for the new policy and procedures.

Fourth is resilient supply chain has certainly been exposed. This is gone from a top topic to the topic of the day. Inventory has been locked up in stores, that sell men's that are strained and there is lack of visibility and ability to react quickly. We're working with customers to implement real-time analytics capabilities to better predict demand and market trends to help him capture, local demand and understand. Their real inventory position at all times. Likely reimagining customer interactions changes in consumer behavior and expectations

are already disrupting. Retail, have accelerated consumers are now experimenting with new technologies, including video, augmented reality, social commerce, and Live Events. Necessity of got people over digital experience, trial barriers with this job. In people trying you digitally enabled Services, reducing friction. And on the experiences has now become make-or-break for everyone from groceries to apparel retailers. open in store and online, helping rabbits, and launch, new apps, and experiences enabling better personalization, and creating new customer feedback

loops Who took a little bit more about solutions to help you accelerate your go forward plan. Google call can help you solve for what's next in retail in three important ways. First Star Solutions can help you improve operations and Waze a drive Capital efficiency as well as Creek cost reduction and operational Improvement. Second, we can help unlock value in your piano through data-driven decisions at the intersection of customer product and supply chain data. Finally, we can help you capture that digital, an omni-channel growth with modern and responses systems and new experiences.

Because the prices are creating a lasting brand Impressions with your customers. No one wants to lose customers to operationally more agile competitors and cost reduction will be key to fund. A Novation going forward. We know it isn't easy to operate in a world where both consumer behavior and Supply chains are disrupted and entire teams have had to go remote. Google cloud has solutions that can connect your Workforce to drive real-time collaboration. Do you say I provide customer service or create operational chatbots, the Streamline store operation and solutions that can help

optimize inventory and Logistics. We can also help streamline your store in the structure and get you ready for compute at the edge? With anthos and 5G offerings. We can also help do all of these things and we can set of months with the cost savings security and Agility that come with our Cloud offering. An example of a retailer who use their solutions to improve customer service during the pandemic is Albertson. Albertsons operates in over 2,000 locations in the US and they saw call volume. So their stories Increase five times versus the norm during covid-19 questions. Like, do you have

toilet paper? And can you deliver took on a whole new urgency? Do customers get faster. Response has Albertsons enlisted our rapid response virtual agent. That's part of our contact center AI offering to manage surging, inbound calls and address customers. Basic question, with contacts, didn't realize you were virtual agent, can converse naturally, the customers 24/7. And it's this human agents on complex pieces in a greeting with your existing infrastructure while decreasing costs to serve and improving metric bike. Net promoter score. Next is becoming data-driven. You've all heard

it. Retail is in the detail and the details are in the data. Result has been on a journey to make customer-centric and data-driven decisions for years. But the transition from reporting an insight into real-time action, can sometimes be a challenge with Legacy text back and file a data. Google Cloud can jump start or accelerate your agenda, whether it's creating 121 engagement, with AI, or using more signals to create a better demand forecast. We can also migrate and modernize our data platforms for all of your marketing merchandising and supply chain e Solutions. Such as

Retail, Services can help you out. Today I in real-time and moved from reactive to proactive decision-making leveraging data from all parts of your business. We will work with you to fully capture the value of your data and take the hype out of AI to deliver Real Results. You can feel in the piano Ulta beauty is an example of a customer who uses data and personalization to create a differentiated digital experience. While their stores were temporarily closed. They acted with Shoppers their virtual beauty. Advisor tools built on Google Cloud for particularly useful,

providing consumers with Taylor recommendations, powered by customer, and product inside as well. As a high-quality virtual try-on experience. All the stories Beauty experience was not an option. And lastly e-commerce and channel is retail are here to stay but now it's all about how fast can help you accelerate your shift to digital by untangling eCommerce system, introducing a containerized architecture, that provides for greater agility to deploy new services and capabilities and provide Superior reliability. And scalability we can help you build a

forward-looking architecture that creates a flexible platform. That grows to meet your expanding transformation mean and tools like a sheet or no code development platform for web and mobile app experiences can take your rapid test and learn agenda to the next level. Enabling better discovery of your products is also of utmost importance. Google Cloud provides products, every solution such as Google, Cloud retail surge, which is powered by Google's unique, and leading query understanding, and contextual search capabilities. Lastly, and very relevant in these recent months, you've also have a

white glove e-commerce service to help you get ready to manage Peak capacity needs working shoulder-to-shoulder with your warranty since you're a koala speak. These capacity Management Services have helped many retailers during the spikes caused. By covid-19 across all of these poor solution. Areas were also focused on bringing together the best of Google for you. Through Google Cloud platform. The broader. Google ecosystem can play a significant role in helping retailers, deliver a true channel is experience. With eight products that have over a billion users. Google can augment

the shopping Journey, helping consumers, discover products and Brands, while improving conversion and reducing friction. Google Cloud can be your trusted technology partner, creatively, leveraging. All of our consumer Innovation and brought our offerings to help you deliver on a new and unique Journey for your brand. For now, let's talk to a customer that has been on a path of Rapid digital transformation with Google cloud and what they've been able to achieve in just the last few years. Boat screw from a single small town, hardware store in North Carolina to become one of the largest

Home Improvement retailers in the world today. They serve 18 million customers and 2019 was 72 billion dollars in sale. To talk about their experience. I recently spoke to Reena Sharma, senior vice, president of technology for e-commerce marketing, and Merchandising at Lowe's, By the way, it's great to see you. Thank you so much for joining us today. Hey, Carrie, it's good to see you again, great. Yeah, I saw that you guys had a great quarter last quarter at Lowe's, and digital was a big part of that success. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience

and the response to the covid-19 pandemic. However, customers choose to shop with us in this environment has to be able to create new capabilities and meet a customer needs. But what's online? And also in stores, customers increasingly turn to us and March for the essential items to keep their homes running, it was a sharp uptick in sales in lowes.com. Many spikes, exceeded Black Friday, demand. Pivoting to served Ant-Man requires agility and stability of our people and our systems, and our progress with

your side. Stability and allowed us to be effective, effectively handle, that increase traffic. Lowes.com sales were up 80% of the last, the first quarter of 2020. And he saw triple-digit growth and lowes.com in April and into May. Well, that's really impressive. I'm glad that you guys were able to meet all the demands through this pandemic. I know you guys at Lowe's have made a concerted effort over the past couple years to invest in digital. Can you tell us a little bit about how you went about this journey and how to prioritize, where you invested

invested in technology and then Marvin Ellison became CEO. He was candid about some fundamental things that need to be fixed. You know, that all of the successful retail companies have a successful technology footprint and that immediately subdivision for Lowe's to become a world-class technology leader review technology at the backbone for delivering a best-in-class personalized integrated experience. Home Improvement, projects, take time and a customer may start researching their Project online and complete the transaction in store or online

or go back and forth. Their focus is on making sure their Journey seamless, no matter where they are on at any point in time. Great, that's great to hear. You're really thinking about that customer Journey at the center that the critical to meet all the new demands of customer expectations. We're headed into yet another holiday season where omni-channel is expected to be more important than ever before. Can you talk a little bit about what you were thinking of for Readiness in this new retail reality? Yeah, you know, actually you don't go to

last quarter, our team has been through a sustained peak of demand that amounted to an extended holiday season. It was like having a Black Friday for a whole quarter and they responded tremendously to this unprecedented circumstances changing in customer demand, omni-channel capabilities to Home Improvement customers at the war. Completed over the past few months, has given us that confidence that we are on the right path. But that's Black Friday Cyber

Monday or are just are busy spring season or goal is for the holidays to be a non-event omni-channel is a tremendous growth opportunity and they're excited about our technology and the progress we've made. And he seemed a very well on our way to build a channel s, retail experience for our customers. Thank you so much for sharing. Your journey with us in the Lima. I'm excited for the Talk to you guys have seen and what lies ahead, both as a customer and a partner. I know there's lots more to come. Thank you to your company, your Associates in your team, for helping support everyone

through the pandemic. Thank you so much Carrie. And really appreciate our partnership and looking forward to more work and amazing things together. So now that you've heard a little bit about our Solutions and directly from a customer, I like to mention our partners to help deliver our Solutions at scale. We are growing our ecosystem of Partners who have deep expertise in retail and can help you get faster results with integrated or out-of-the-box test Solutions, ultimately our goal. A Google cloud is to bring the best of Google to our customers and to be a trusted partner that

helps you fulfill your business goals. For more information about our Solutions and to hear success stories from your peers, attend our retail breakout sessions throughout. Next on are also will be conducting Regional digital event, that goes deeper into your concerns and round table and webinar format. Lastly, we understand each Enterprises journey is different to reach out to your Google Cloud sales representative for conversation on how we can help you solve for what's next in retail. Thank you for joining.

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Carrie Tharp
Neelima Sharma