Beyond the basics: Shop.org digs deep into digital retail

Shop.org's two-and-a-half-day annual summit will commence on the evening of Sept. 29 in Seattle—headquarters to some of the biggest names in retail such as Nordstrom and REI. The Summit is the premier event for the digital retail industry and the perfect opportunity to build professional relationships between retailers and technology companies alike.

"The Shop.org Summit is all about making new connections, networking with your own teams and partners, learning new strategies and tactics, and discovering and test-driving the latest technologies and services that will help your retail business," said Artemis Berry, VP, digital retail, Shop.org, National Retail Federation.

And attendees will do just that through a series of well-known industry speakers, more than 23 sessions, one-on-one mentoring services, and an EXPO hall at networking events. Summit leaders and attendees will include retailers big and small, pure-play and multichannel, local and global.

The 2014 Summit will focus on the digital rush in retail. "This year you are going to see sessions specifically focused on mobile, dynamic marketing, channel convergence and in-store digital, talent acquisition and organizational structure, conversion and acquisition optimization, and retail innovation," Berry said.

The networking event begins on Monday with an educational agenda geared specifically toward students, which includes a career fair, executive mentoring and educational sessions. More than 325 students will be in attendance to learn about all things digital in the retail industry as well as the career opportunities that await them post-graduation.

For all those new to the industry, there is also a one-day Digital Retail Boot Camp on Monday. Separate registration is required for this special event that packs one year's worth of digital retail learning into one day.

The show will kick off on Tuesday morning with the keynote session, "REI: Blazing Trails to a Real, Alive, and Connected Digital Experience," featuring REI's president and CEO, Jerry Stritzke, and senior VP of digital Brad Brown. Another keynote session later in the day features best practices of one of the largest e-commerce players, Amazon. "The Amazon.com Story," will be led by Brad Stone, author of "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon."

Tuesday evening will feature a special members-only keynote: "Decoding the New Consumer Mind – How and Why We Shop and Buy," led by Kelly Mooney, CEO of Resource, and Kit Yarrow, PhD, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University.

The sessions will start fresh Wednesday morning with an informative keynote session, "Capitalizing on the Digital Transformation of Commerce," led by Michael Rubin, founder and CEO of Kynetic.

In addition, this year's "Digital Retail's Fast Track Program," will feature fast-paced presentations and an interactive Q&A panel. The keynote program will showcase an eclectic mix of innovative brands within and parallel to the retail industry, whose leaders embrace their customers' influence to guide the path of their businesses and remain fresh and relevant among a crowded digital landscape. Presenters include the founders and CEOs from Zulily, Houzz, Urban Outfitters and Birchbox.

Attendees won't want to miss this year's EXPO, open to all retailers for free with registration. It's a great opportunity for retailers to meet with more than 280 partner companies.

New to this year's Summit, attendees can sign up for "The Doctor Is In: One-On-One Website Critiques." This opportunity is free to anyone who registers and provides a 30-minute one-on-one session with a consultant whose expertise includes multi-channel strategy, end-to-end customer experience, site design and merchandising best practices.

In addition, there are several chances for attendees to join peer discussions in more than 20 roundtables, as well as opportunities to learn about best practices through more than a dozen exhibitor Big !deas sessions, which are 30-minute sessions produced by EXPO vendors to showcase how their latest solutions are helping retailers overcome challenges and reach goals.

"We'd love to see our attendees walking away with a few new ideas and tactical takeaways, several valuable contacts, great conversations with current and prospective partners, and renewed enthusiasm for their future retail endeavors," Berry said. "After all, budgeting and the holiday season are right around the corner for our members."

Stay tuned in to FierceRetail for full coverage from Seattle next week and be sure to follow us on Twitter @FierceRetail as well.

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