Events

3 Non-Retail Conferences Retail Leaders Should Attend in 2018

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Consumers don’t measure retail experiences solely against their past retail interactions.  They compare how they shop with how they share funny videos, get automated, personalized financial advice, or learn to make a new favorite dish.  Why only spend time at retail conferences?  Why not look beyond them for innovation and fresh perspective?

More than ever, retail leaders must look across industries and technologies to find the tools and insights to meet the ever-growing expectations of the consumer.  These three non-retail conferences and their speakers provide a view to where the world is headed.  Get on-board or be left behind.

Retail Conference - IBM Think

IBM THINK 2018

March 19-22

Las Vegas, Nevada

Think 2018 brings together some of the most creative minds and visionary leaders of today.  You’ll hear from leading innovators in technologies from AI, cloud, blockchain – even groundbreaking futurists like, Dr. Michio Kaku.  Why is it important that retailers care about this kind of technology?  Increasingly, technology is the conduit to better understand customer passions, drive loyalty and accelerate growth.  Retail titans like Walmart, Unilever and Adidas will be on hand to talk about how they are leveraging new technologies and data to form closer relationships with customers.  Plus, there will be hands on labs, so you can experience these breakthroughs for yourself, unlike most retail conferences.  Techie or not, you’ll be sure to walk away with a better picture of how technology will affect our future and how it can create retail experiences to combat and win against that smiling, prime-delivered, 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Highlights:

  • $1000s worth of value in training, certifications, labs, and expert talks to build your own expertise and marketability.
  • Leading participants include Lowe’s, Unilever, Lotte, Columbia Sportswear, and Yum! Brands
  • Visionary speakers include Neil deGrasse Tyson, CNN’s Lisa Ling and Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy
  • Bonus: Entertainment from The Chainsmokers and Train
  • Local Tip:  See Artist James Turrell’s secret light show, Akhob, tucked away inside the Louis Vuitton store in the City Center complex.  Book early as they can fill up a month in advance (702-730-3150).

GrowCo Conference

Inc.’s Grow Conference

May 31 – June 1

New Orleans, LA

Not surprisingly, this Inc. built conference focuses on unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit through tactical business advice.  Past conferences have brought a wide range of speakers and sessions ranging from manufacturing, retail, media and more.  GrowCo looks at many areas of business, including how to foster the right culture, scale your business, and encourage creativity.  For retailers, this conference also includes a healthy dose of leading product and brand marketers, having hosted speakers like Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, and Nancy King, director of global consumer insights and brand strategy for Airbnb.  Plus, since it’s in New Orleans, you can start every session with the breakfast of champions – beignets.

2017 Highlights:

  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
  • Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker
  • Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution; Co-Founder of AOL
  • Bonus: New Orleans Pub Crawl
  • Local Tip:  The aforementioned breakfast of champions from Cafe du Monde is often more easily enjoyed in the late afternoon when the crowd is smaller. (They’re also open 24 hours a day.)

 

FAST Company Innovation Festival

New York City

Fall 2018

Why would a retailer want to attend a conference with a bunch of agencies and media groups?  Because those media properties usually have a good idea of where the hearts and minds of the consumer are headed.  Just ask leading retail experience brands Bandier, West Elm and Warby Parker who were participants at the 2017 Festival.  Fast Company’s gathering is promoted as a mix of “creativity, design, entrepreneurship, leadership, social good, and tech”.  Sounds like a pretty good recipe for creating customer engagement and a thoughtful departure from your traditional retail conferences, no?

2017 Highlights:

  • Issa Rae, Actress, Author and Director
  • Marc Lore, President and CEO, Walmart E-Commerce
  • Emily Weiss, Founder and CEO, Glossier
  • Local Tip:  Plan on using the subway in NYC?  Buy a $10.48 MetroCard (for 4 rides) or $20.95 MetroCard (for 8 rides) to ensure there is no remaining balance on your card.

To experience world-shifting technology that retailers care about, visit Think 2018 to register today.

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