The wide world of retail will come together in less than a week for Retail’s BIG Show in New York City. With so many educational and networking opportunities, it can be a blur for BIG Show veterans and rookies alike. So to help attendees get their bearings, here’s my list of sessions infused with digital DNA that I’m excited to see at this year’s event.
Is there anyone who understands the power of social media and innovation better than Jack Dorsey? Famous for co-founding Twitter, now he’s changing the payments game for small and large retailers alike as CEO of Square. And with HSNi’s Mindy Grossman asking questions, this is definitely going to be a fascinating 60 minutes.
If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find it here. Retail’s BIG Fast Track closes the show with short, back-to-back presentations from some of the coolest innovators in the industry. This is an impressive group of entrepreneurs who are one step ahead of everyone else—the creative risk-takers behind the robot/mobile duo of Hointer, made-to-order suits of Indochino, personalized shopping advice on Yabbly and custom-made designs of Hatch.co.
Personalization is one of the top trends this year and will continue to shape all of retail. And while there’s lots of hype about Big Data, this panel (chock-full of great brands like Cornerstone Brands, Facebook, Stylitics and Wayfair) is all about how to get and use the data that matters most.
Sucharita Mulpuru is back. Shop.org Board member and our favorite Forrester analyst will preview the State of Retailing Online report. This is the cleanest way to get the full picture of what’s happening in online retail — that’s probably why it’s one of the top sessions every year.
Drones aren’t the only reason you should be watching Amazon. Amazon isn’t just bigger than everyone else, they’re growing faster — at twice the rate of e-commerce. You’ll get a look into how they do it and ways to both partner and compete.
The innovation firm Deeplocal has a knack for bringing cool ideas to life. Some of their well-known examples include Reebok’s interactive FitList store display, Toyota’s mind-controlled bike, or Nike’s inspirational tweet-drawing Chalkbot from the Tour de France. Their founder and CEO will give you useful tips and processes for how to generate and execute your own new ideas to kick off 2014.
Great session title, even better cast of speakers. All the panel members in this session serve on the Shop.org Board, and these guys get it. Your customer doesn’t think in terms of channels, but you need to know her and be there for her wherever, however, whenever. And you better believe they will discuss why it takes an optimal organization to make it possible.
This is just one of several mobile sessions that I’m looking forward to. Sephora, Century 21 Department Stores, Sears Holding Company and IDC Retail Insights will talk about the best ways to use loyalty programs and mobile in tandem.
The evolving role of the retail CIO is a fascinating one. As key players and partners in driving innovation, we could all benefit from a look at these CIO’s tech priorities for 2014. And there’s a lot to learn from the brands here — Neiman Marcus Group, L’Occitane en Provence, Carter’s, Build-A-Bear Workshop and lululemon athletica will not disappoint.
Warby Parker is a retail rocket ship. From a quirky online eyewear retailer just starting out in 2010, they’re now valued at $500 million, and have extended their online success to spectacular stores and showrooms. They’ll talk shop about how online and offline doesn’t have to be black and white.
Follow along on Twitter as I share my favorite stats and tidbits from Retail’s BIG Show. And even if you can’t make it to New York, check out all the BIG Show chatter on Twitter via #nrf14. And for those attending, I’d love to hear what sessions are on your must-see list!