shoptalkLast week, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas, where we unveiled our AI-powered personalization platform, Genie. I was excited for the show given conference founder Anil D. Aggarwal’s history of successful events in the retail space, including the wildly popular fintech show, Money20/20. And I was right – Shoptalk did not disappoint. The show was beautifully executed and filled with valuable content that made my trip more than worthwhile.

On the content side, here are just a few highlights from the show:

Gracious Homes Lionel Richie

Fireside Chat with Lionel Richie – Like many other attendees, I was surprised to see Lionel Richie speaking at a retail conference, but his fireside chat was incredibly inspiring. He was there to discuss the creation of his recently launched Lionel Richie Home Collection alongside Gracious Home CEO Dottie Mattison. Richie shared his experience in the music industry, where executives were constantly trying to put him in the R&B category. Richie talked about how, by taking risks and thinking outside the box, he was able to successfully carve out his own niche in the music industry and encouraged retail executives to do the same.

 

Jerry Storch Hudson's Bay Shoptalk presentation

In his Star Wars-themed keynote on “the stores strike back”, Hudson’s Bay CEO Jerry Storch talked about how ecommerce is not killing brick and mortar, and how a vast majority of sales are still done in stores. He discussed the need to embrace omnichannel as retailers continue to integrate online sales with stores. Storch highlighted examples of successful online businesses like Warby Parker, who are incorporating physical locations so customers can interact with items prior to making purchases. Omnichannel will help retailers adapt to shifting retail models in which more shoppers are turning to the Internet for pre-purchase information.

 

Dunkin Brands John Costello Shoptalk presentation

John Costello, president, global marketing and innovation for Dunkin’ Brands, arguably one of the most influential people in marketing, gave a great presentation on brand identity. He noted that Dunkin’ customers don’t think of themselves as coffee house snobs or elitists. They think of themselves as “everyday people,” so Dunkin’ markets to them in such a way. Costello also discussed the importance of the company’s perks program in engendering loyalty among its customer base. He talked about a new, completely redesigned Perks program that they recently rolled out. Costello commented, “Hope is not a strategy,” noting that by actively engaging their customers, Dunkin’ was able to better understand what works and what doesn’t, helping the $10B coffee chain evolve its loyalty marketing to meet the changing needs of customers.

 

On the show floor, I met some impressive IMG_5537retail executives, vendors and reporters who were interested in learning more about the launch of Genie. While some of the more established vendors had standard booth space, there were opportunities for vendors of all sizes on “Main Street” – an area on the show floor (with prominent placement, might I add!) with fake storefronts and shared tables designed for demos and talks with prospects and partners. I thought this was a smart way for vendors to “test” the show to see if they wanted to make a larger investment next year.

In its first year, the well-organized and well-executed Shoptalk really hit it out of the park and I’m already excited to participate in next year’s event. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

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