What's in store for this year's attendees of the National Retail Federation's Shop.org Summit in Seattle? FierceRetail spoke with Artemis Berry, VP of digital retail, Shop.org, National Retail Federation, to find out about the Summit's "don't miss" events, first-time presenting retailers, and the overall theme for keynotes and sessions.
FierceRetail: What will retailers gain by attending the Summit?
Artemis Berry: 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. The two-and-a-half days go by quickly, but the connections and insights are endless.
FierceRetail: Are there any new speakers/panel members that you're excited to welcome this year?
Artemis Berry: We received over 700 session submissions to speak at the Summit from the retail community. We… make sure the event programming is by the member, for the member. Since we have some great topics to pick from—and help from the best in the industry—we are proud to have a brand new keynote lineup and dozens of new speakers that will be sharing their insights. My personal favorites include our REI keynote and our Fast Track program featuring founders and CEOs from Zulily, Houzz and Birchbox.
FierceRetail: What are some of the key themes being addressed at this year's Summit?
Artemis Berry: It's all about the digital rush in retail. But 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.
FierceRetail: What has changed about the Summit from last year?
Artemis Berry: We have a few big changes for our show this year.
We have proudly moved the show this year to another fantastic retail and technology city center: Seattle. Our sold-out EXPO has grown to accommodate even more of our technology and service partners. You'll find more than 280 companies there this year. We have added some members-only programming to our show this year, including a closing keynote presentation on Tuesday.
We have expanded our student program at the Shop.org Summit, which includes a career fair, executive mentoring and educational sessions. More than 325 students are joining us at an all-day event on Monday to learn about all things digital in the retail industry and the career opportunities that await them post-graduation.
FierceRetail: Are there any local retailers that you are recommending attendees see while in the Seattle area?
Artemis Berry: Well, of course Pike's Place Market and Fisherman's Wharf. We also have a few NRF and Shop.org members with headquarters and flagship stores, including Nordstrom and REI. This year we even surveyed our exhibitors for the advice and tips for the best ice cream, cupcake and coffee shops in town.
FierceRetail: What do you hope retailers will walk away with when the show is over?
Artemis Berry: 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. After all, budgeting and the holiday season are right around the corner for our members.
FierceRetail: What else should attendees know going into the show?
Artemis Berry: There is so much going on at the Summit that the best thing to know is to plan ahead. If you have a team attending the show—which I highly recommend since we have up to five simultaneous tracks of content and a robust, sold-out EXPO—meet in advance and set your agendas. Connect with partners and prospective partners to set up meetings in the EXPO. Download the event mobile app so you can customize your agenda and rate sessions. And the most important tip: Wear comfortable shoes. We are proud of our digital rush, but we know it may be hard on the feet.