The retail industry, and perhaps, especially, the CPG space, is not necessarily known for being the hippest, most technologically-advanced industry out there. While there are many important, informative conferences for retail professionals, Shoptalk differentiates itself by aiming to offer a fresh, innovative approach to tackling industry challenges. In only its second year on the circuit, the 2017 conference attracted more than 5,000 retailers, manufacturers, shopper marketers, sales professionals, venture capitalists and solutions providers all looking to get a new perspective on the state of retail. And it didn't disappoint.
InContext was there this year, where CEO Mark Hardy took the stage to demonstrate our virtual reality solutions for retail. VR was a big theme at the show, and while some of the discussion was around VRs future for commerce and online shopping, we facilitated many good conversations around retail's changing economics and the need for B2B solutions with professionals looking to shake things up. Innovation is a popular theme at many retail conventions, but the general acceptance and willingness to adopt technology was an obvious sentiment from attendees.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was another big theme of the event. Voice recognition, such as Amazon's Alexa, is starting to help retailers mine real-time data.
Target chose Shoptalk to make a big announcement, debuting a peek into their new store redesign that will roll out over the next three years. The store of the future will include a separate entrance for quick pick ups and online orders, modern fixtures and curved center aisles, and alternating seasonal displays.
Walmart also used the event to unveil its launch of "Store No. 8", a new tech incubator that will help grow and nurture startups, through financial backing that will "allow these businesses to grow and flourish under the umbrella of the world’s largest retailer."
And Instagram debuted it's expanded shopping feature to include "all fashion, apparel, jewelry and skincare brands using the commerce platforms BigCommerce and Shopify." This feature is set to be available to users in Q2 2017.
Overall, Shoptalk proved to be an important catalyst to facilitating further discussions around the need for true innovation and technological advancement in the retail space. Looking forward to next year!