PROFILE

Cameron Conaway

Director of Content, Reflektion
Cameron Conaway is a content marketing leader and a top 50 content marketing influencer. He lives in San Francisco and is the Director of Content at Reflektion, a top 100 AI company of 2018.

An award-winning poet, essayist, and international investigative journalist, he's the author of five books, including Malaria, Poems, a Best Book of 2014 by NPR.

Cameron's writing has been submitted for a Pulitzer Prize, nominated for a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in Newsweek, The Guardian, Reuters, NPR, Forbes, The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Stanford Social Innovation Review, among others.

In the retail space, he is interested in the application of artificial intelligence on the customer experience, experiential retail, and ecommerce individualization.

To learn more, visit Reflektion.com.
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  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    Retail and weather go together

    YES to all of this, Neil. Retailers focused on predicting future weather trends can build the tolerance you mentioned, which cascades into just about every aspect of their business -- including the development of meaningful customer intent models.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    Is Walmart aiming for a new customer with personalized text shopping?

    I completely agree, Gib. My first thought was that, in part, this is yet another way for Walmart Labs to collect and assess data (and then train AI with it) on a demographic they are desperate to win over in the next few years.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    J.C. Penney is feeling merry about its Christmas performance

    Their strategy of not so much "going after Sears" but finding new and creative ways to scoop up Sears' customers will be critical for their success in 2018. But I'm not sure that the aggressive language from Ellison does much except for maybe portraying the company as stronger than it really is. Still, although J.C. Penney did better than them, Kohl's and Macy's closed the season in a merry mood as well. If J.C. Penney can weather the market downturn in Q1, they may be able to pick up customers not just from Sears but from a few other sinking chains as well.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    Will retail be woven into the fabric of the new, walkable suburb?

    100 percent retailers should be considering these new concepts. Your mention of Target's small-format stores was particularly spot on, Matthew. I'm increasingly seeing massive apartment complexes being built with "walkable spaces" and "green courtyards," but a few months later you'll see what is perhaps the primary reason for these spaces: retail. The spaces offer breathable perks for city dwellers and allow the apartment complex to pull in another revenue stream as they convert these spaces into mini retail outlets. Mall-based retailers will, of course, be forced to downsize considerably, but moving into these smaller spaces with essentially guaranteed foot traffic could be one way for them to remain top-of-mind and maintain their physical footprint.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2017

    Branding for a brand-averse generation

    Thanks for this piece, Jasmine. I'm not sure that they're brand-weary, but they are empowered consumers and therefore have little tolerance for the traditional interruptive experiences offered by the (mostly) long-standing brands. As Lee mentioned, brands like REI and Patagonia continue to shine. I see this as being partly because they stand for something positive and meaningful -- which is to say something vulnerable and that can be exploited for profit, which is to say something at risk of being completely destroyed by the current political establishment. As Sinek said, "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." This is only growing truer over the years, and will manifest fully with Gen Z.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2017

    San Francisco limits robots on its sidewalks

    Completely agree, Cathy. This is going to happen, and it'll be interesting to watch our various adaptations as it does.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2017

    Are micro influencers better for retailers than macro influencers?

    Conversations around influencer marketing typically assume the phrase means paying someone to endorse your product (this can be one dimension), and therefore they miss the core ingredient: forming authentic relationships. Influencer marketing can be part of a broader marketing approach whereby you seek to build relationships with influencers in the space so that they grow aware of your product and come to talk about it on their own and when/if it feels right. Additionally, "micro-influencers" are usually "macro" in their niche and, depending on the product/service, they can generate far greater and more targeted engagement than the famous celebrities we often think of as "influencers."
  • Posted on: 12/13/2017

    Will mobile move the needle for J. Crew – this holiday and beyond?

    To turn the brand around, J.Crew must make radical improvements to its on-site customer experience. User-generated gamification campaigns may create some buzz, but eventually customers will still have to deal with a friction-filled online order experience. Ideally, they'll do both: the buzz and the reduction of friction. In just one example: A search on their site forces you to complete your query before (hopefully) displaying relevant content. But that hope quickly falls flat. I just searched for "red women's long sleeve shirt" and was shown orange, gray, black, white... everything but red. Campaigns alone can't turn brands around, especially if they're trusting in the energy of customers but not delivering to those customers the experiences they deserve.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2017

    The next logical step for category management

    Customers may not think in categories, but algorithms do. And category management, as in Mark's third point, is evolving to address a new type of "how." Properly tagged and structured data on-site and off is critical for digital retailers who care about creating smoother and more relevant search experiences. This could certainly be considered an extension of the category management discipline. Thanks for kickstarting an important conversation, Mark! It will be exciting to see how this evolves over the next few years.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    Will last-minute pickup payoff for Walmart?

    Walmart has no choice but to leverage its physical footprint, but a few questions remain:
    1. Will customers choose to pick something up when another company will deliver it to their door?
    2. How many of those who pick up will make the purchasing of additional in-store products part of their trip?
    This is a great service for retaining existing Walmart shoppers, but it's hard for me to believe that it's enough to win over many new shoppers -- including those who live near a Walmart but do not routinely shop there.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    Penney gets fashionable with its Jacques Penné pop-up

    I couldn't agree more, Cathy. When I read this article I thought, "Of course they should be leveraging influencers to get people in stores." And they probably should have been doing this five years ago. Aside from that, such moves must be considered a smart part of the "radical re-thinking" you mentioned. If this alone is the radical re-thinking, I'm afraid J.C. Penney isn't as radical as it needs to be to survive.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    Will shoppers pay services to do returns for them?

    The friction of returns used to be the cost; now it's the time. For that reason, I think there's potential here. It doesn't feel accurate to equate these types of services with "paying for shipping." Customers are paying to erase the hassle of having to pack things up and make a trip. I'm reminded of the many laundry services popping up, especially in cities. Rather than lugging laundry down to the laundromat, waiting, and picking it up, you can pay to have someone pick it up at your door and drop it off clean. Such services aren't for everybody, but they seem to be gaining traction among busy professionals who want to safeguard/maximize their free time.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Is inventory or staffing the biggest omnichannel challenge for stores?

    Well said, Dave. Too often, it seems, training happens in batches. Staff training should be as continuous as the supply chain refinements you mentioned. This becomes an impossibility, however, when retailers rely on waves of seasonal/temporary hires.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Corona owner is getting into the legal pot business

    Great point, Neil. I've heard of this and will now do more research into it, thanks to your calling it out.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Johnson & Johnson takes aim at digital disruption

    It's not mentioned here, but I think maintaining its close networks with universities is just as critical to Johnson & Johnson's plan for "digital disruption." They continuously hire steady streams of new graduates, and these graduates, if given the opportunity, can keep J&J relevant. Sustained relevancy, after all, depends on incremental industry disruptions.
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