Shoptalk came out of nowhere and became the hottest retail and e-commerce event with its much-anticipated Las Vegas launch this past May. The event was all it promised to be … and much more. Over 3,100 industry leaders and disrupters gathered to start a fresh commerce conversation and create a new community — spanning major retailers and entrepreneurial startups — to venture capital investors and equity analysts. The caliber of attendees was second to none, and the speaker line-up Shoptalk pulled together in just its first year was incredible, if not a first. The result? Most people were pretty stunned, including me, with what Shoptalk created, so fast.
Now, Anil Aggarwal, the successful tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist behind the event, is taking Shoptalk to the next level. He’s hired Sucharita Mulpuru, long-time Forrester retail analyst, who’s widely recognized for her insights on rapidly changing technology developments and their impact on retail and consumer-facing businesses. Adding Sucharita to the team is just the beginning of Shoptalk 2.0. Her role at Shoptalk is intriguing because it holds the potential to help catalyze the evolution of the retail and e-commerce ecosystem.
Sucharita plans to develop and lead initiatives to ensure that the industry executives the Shoptalk team brings together will get the most out of their presence at the event. By applying her extensive industry knowledge and incorporating key industry data points from both retailers and non-retailers, Sucharita will serve as a matchmaker of sorts, facilitating on-site meetings that provide solutions regarding strategies, technologies, and consumer propositions — problems that have become increasingly complex.
Given the pace of change, disruption and consumers’ constantly changing preferences, many retailers today just don’t know what path to take, what technologies to invest in and how to implement them, and even what business models to adopt. Shoptalk envisions providing the marketplace forum to match problems with solutions. Sucharita will be matchmaking and facilitating meetings and conversations between retailers, entrepreneurs, suppliers and the VC community, bringing together those in search of knowledge or issues to be resolved with those who have the answers and solutions. VC’s and companies seeking expansion opportunities, partnerships, collaborations, and acquisitions will be specifically matched. If this doesn’t kick start change and transformation, I don’t know what will.
This next level of Shoptalk–call it Shoptalk 2.0–could begin to unravel the cacophony of confusion by helping everyone make sense of this ongoing and accelerating disruption. We speak with retailers and brands daily and as they block and tackle the short-term necessities of sales projections, inventory assortments and marketing programs, the luxury of a long-term view and strategy development is increasingly shortchanged.
What the retail world needs is an integrated community that encourages and embraces new ideas – hey even radical ideas – to get their businesses to the next level.
We’re excited about Shoptalk 2.0 (http://shoptalk.com) which will be held on March 19-22, 2017. Where will you be? I can tell you where The Robin Report will be—back at Shoptalk in Las Vegas. See you there!