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Retail Innovation Conference & Expo 2024: The Latest News on Sessions, Speakers & Experiences

Taking place June 4-6, 2024, in Chicago, the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo is the must-attend event for retail execs to dig into cutting-edge topics and trends.

Are you ready to explore the evolved customer journey? The Retail TouchPoints team is reporting on all the news breaking before, during and after the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, taking place June 4-6, 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago. This year, we’ll hear senior-level executives’ perspectives on how customer experiences are evolving as content, community and commerce converge. Keep visiting this hub to get the latest and greatest content related to the show!

Register now to get the Standard Rate on your ticket. Prices go up on May 24!

About the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

The Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (also known as RICE) aims to bring together emerging brands and established omnichannel players alike to dig into the topics and trends shaping the future of retail.

With an emphasis on customer experience, RICE has three tailored tracks to reflect the distinct interests and needs of its key audience members.

Content

Marketing, advertising and digital practitioners can expect candid conversations on new channels and tactics that drive acquisition and retention. Planned topics include:

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Community

If you’re tasked with customer retention and loyalty and are trying to uncover new ways to cultivate community, then this track is for you. Senior leaders will have candid conversations about:

Commerce

Retail executives and analysts will explore the future of commerce and how the convergence of content, community and commerce will drive future technology investments. Sessions will explore:

Tackling the Latest C-Suite Issues

The retail community wants to hear directly from C-level executives on how they’re tackling foundational issues that drive business growth and differentiation. To facilitate these conversations and connections, the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo team has added the C-Suite Corner to its programming. Speakers will reveal:

  • How they’re investing in global growth and expansion;
  • New sustainability investments and success measures;
  • How they’re prioritizing the fundamentals of operational efficiency and performance;
  • Workforce engagement and culture building;
  • and more!

How Reddit is Helping Brands Power Contextual Conversations

When people think about social commerce, they often connect it with Instagram and TikTok. But Reddit is powering billions of conversations taking place between millions of people each month, and thoughtfully embedding brands into these conversations.

Bob Ferdman, Retail Industry Lead for Reddit, will sit down with the Home Depot‘s Director of Media, Amanda Morris, as well as Brianna Hernandez, Senior Digital Media Manager for Altra Running (a VF Corp. brand), and PMG Paid Social Director Grace Weselak, to discuss how they’re embracing community-driven content and more contextual advertising capabilities.

Gen AI Comes to Life with iAdvize Copilot

With iAdvize Copilot, ecommerce retailers and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands can tackle site abandonment and empower both consumers and shoppers to get the information they need. During #RICE24, attendees will be able to test-drive the technology live to learn how iAdvize Copilot can support online discovery and purchasing experiences, as well as service interactions. Visit booth #615 to see the benefits for yourself.

Click here to learn more about iAdvize Copilot.

See Innovation at the Edge

Want to collect and analyze data to make more informed decisions faster? Want to streamline your operations and ensure a remarkable experience across all channels? SUSE Edge 3.0 is a purpose-built cloud native edge computing platform designed to manage the full lifecycle of edge devices at scale, helping retailers address these goals effectively.

Stop by the SUSE booth #212 to see demos featuring SLE Micro, Rancher, NeuVector and SUSE Manager. Click here to learn more about SUSE Edge 3.0.

Bubble Puts Content at the Center of its Brand-Building Strategy

Bubble Skincare was founded to provide science-backed products to Gen Z consumers. From sunscreen to face wash to multi-step routines, Bubble’s product line covers the full scope of consumers’ possible skincare needs. But founder Shai Eisenman knew that in order to engage this incredibly savvy customer base, she needed to educate them. That’s why content is critical to driving consumer engagement and loyalty. In fact, the brand has an entire section of its ecommerce site dedicated to this goal, aptly named Skin School.

Bubble Skincare’s executive creative director Lindsay St. Clair will share details into how the brand is building Skin School and scaling content across channels and platforms to drive trust and loyalty. She will be joining Liz Primm of Babylist and Bryan Rotunno of Spotify for a dynamic discussion on how brands can effectively create, scale and measure content in the current media climate.

Rowan Founder Digs into its Localized Store Strategy  

The heart of the Rowan piercing business, and experience, is its highly trained staff of nurses. They are the ones that not only do the piercing but ensure customers have a joyful and stress-free experience. Rowan has focused extensively on training and engaging this community of nurses, even as the business has opened more branded storefronts.  
 
During #RICE24, Rowan Founder Louisa Schneider will expand upon the brand’s growth story and also dig into how experiences are tailored to the distinct needs, goals and behaviors of different communities.  
 
Learn more. 

CEO Shares Lessons on Building the BaubleBar Business 

Amy Jain and her best friend Daniella Yacobovsky, scratched the idea for BaubleBar on the back of a napkin. Now, the brand is considered a go-to for all things fun, fabulous and affordable jewelry and customizable accessory items. And if you’re into fun licensing featuring Disney, NFL and other notable brands, this is the brand for you. As CEO, Amy is focused on keeping the spirit of the BaubleBar brand alive as it scales online and via a growing ecosystem of wholesale retail partners.  
 
During #RICE24, Jain will dig into the fundamentals of retail during a C-suite Corner session. She will even dig into the brand’s robust supply chain operations, which power BaubleBar’s booming customization business.  
 
Click here to learn more about Jain and what drives her as the CEO of a dynamic accessories business.  

How Rebecca Minkoff Made Innovation Her Middle Name

Rebecca Minkoff is more than just a designer. Sure, she’s the name behind her highly successful fashion brand and often the epicenter of its many campaigns on social media. But since heading to the Big Apple in 2001 to start her brand, she has evolved into a community builder, a media mastermind and a retail industry innovator.

During her keynote at RICE, she will share how she has empowered her team (and herself) to embrace an innovation mindset in order to transform Rebecca Minkoff into a multi-faceted media and commerce brand. She will share her firsthand experiences and lessons building her global brand, as well as how she has become an early adopter of leading-edge technologies and platforms such as NFTs, magic mirrors, Roblox and Discord. A big driver of her success? She’s addicted to taking risks.

“It’s all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone continuously,” Minkoff said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That’s where I get my adrenaline. I have team members helping me every day, but I’m spearheading the ideation and planning every day. That’s what takes me out of my comfort zone.”

Click here to learn more about what you can expect during her deep-dive session.

Shop Premium Outlets Harnesses the Power of Marketplace Moments

Shop Premium Outlets (SPO), which started as an ecommerce joint venture between Simon and Rue Gilt Groupe, has hit its stride. The marketplace recently unveiled a retail media network and is investing in cutting-edge technology designed to elevate the customer experience.

As part of the RICE speaker faculty, Kelly Cahill, VP of Marketing at SPO, will share details on the company’s top investments, including retail media, AI and livestreaming. In a recent interview with the RICE team, she shared candid insights on the topics and trends she’s most excited to dig into.

Read the interview.

Michaels Creates the Ultimate Experience for Makers

Michaels is striving to be far more than a specialty arts and crafts retailer; it wants to be the ultimate destination for makers. To accomplish this goal, the retailer is investing heavily in its new MakerPlace marketplace as well as in-store events and experiences. For example, the Michaels Camp Creatology program offers a unique opportunity for parents and their kids to connect on fun projects — both in stores and online.

“We want everyone to be able to experience the joy of creativity, but we know the biggest hurdle can often be figuring out where to start,” said Heather Bennett, EVP – Marketing and Ecommerce at Michaels in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “As the destination where anyone can get inspired, learn, shop and create, it’s important for Michaels to fuel our customers’ creativity, from the very first spark of inspiration through gathering what materials they need and seeing a project through.”

Bennett will take to the RICE stage to dig into these initiatives, as well as how Michaels is really leaning into omnichannel community experiences and content to drive engagement and foster brand loyalty.

Read Retail TouchPoints’ past coverage of Creatology here.

Dr. Marcus Collins Shines a Spotlight on How Consumption Drives Culture

Best-selling author, marketing professor and “cultural translator” Dr. Marcus Collins will be the headlining keynoter at RICE 2024, bringing the event’s theme to life.

With rich history in marketing and communications, Collins has helped various tech, retail and music brands — from Apple to Nike and even Beyoncé — adapt their strategies to evolving consumer needs and behaviors. In his latest book, For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be, he provides actionable guidance to help other brand and business leaders understand and embrace culture. Collins argues that true cultural engagement is the most powerful vehicle for influencing consumer behavior.

To effectively embrace the intersection of culture and commerce, brand leaders must first have a clear definition of a culture and understand their proximity to it. For example, Patagonia “know exactly who they are, and they have a very clear compass of how to show up in the world and to know who they’re for,” Collins said. “They’re for people who see the world the way they do.”

Read the article.

Pinterest Puts Joy Back into the Purchase Journey   

Pinterest has carved its own distinct space in the social commerce landscape, zeroing in on its ability to bring joy to users. This focus has inspired the brand to double down on full-funnel advertising and measurement capabilities that allow customers to discover products in context — and for brands to engage with users in more meaningful ways.

During RICE 2024, Pinterest’s VP of Retail, Carrie Sweeney, will share how the company is adapting to consumers’ evolving behaviors and further capitalizing on its role as an authentic discovery platform. Pinterest Chief Revenue Officer Bill Watkins spoke with Retail TouchPoints to share the company’s unique position and vision for monetization.

Click here to read the coverage.

Boisson Sets Sights on Scalable Growth

Blame the rise of wellness influencers or the hype surrounding “Dry January,” but the non-alcoholic (NA) market is exploding right now: it’s projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 25% through 2028, and Boisson is one company reaping the benefits.

Founder and President Nick Bodkins once described Boisson as “the Sephora of NA.” Although the company recently announced that it would be undergoing internal restructuring and immediately shuttering all stores, it still operating a robust logistics strategy, wholesale partnerships and a content-driven ecommerce site to help consumers find the best NA brands and products on the market.

“Unlike [the alcoholic beverage market], where there is a walled-off, regulatory-driven route-to-market for brands, we span all three tiers of distribution, and we have a few of our own products that we make along with some partners,” Bodkins said in a recent interview with Retail TouchPoints. Bodkins will dig into this approach more during a C-Suite Corner conversation on retail fundamentals.

Babylist Puts Content at the Center of the Customer Journey

Natalie Gordon started Babylist to make researching and registering for baby items easier. Since the business started in 2011, it has evolved substantially to include a robust content strategy, social communities and physical retail experiences that allow consumers to see and try these products in person. The brand has even ventured into the metaverse to bring its dynamic content to life.

During RICE 2024, Babylist’s VP of Strategic Partnership and Business Development Liz Primm will share tips, lessons and best practices she has acquired in helping the brand develop and scale its content strategy. She’ll dig into Babylist’s editorial operations, how the team is adapting to new content consumption trends and expectations and how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the rules of marketing.

The RICE team recently interviewed Primm to learn more about her work. Click here to read the article.

How Home Depot is Differentiating its Retail Media Strategy

The retail media landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, but The Home Depot was an early adopter in 2018. Now Melanie Babcock, the retailer’s VP of Retail Media+ and Monetization, is helping bolster its offering, which includes a range of products across its site, mobile app, email and off-site.

Babcock will join a fascinating panel featuring executives from IAB, Albertsons Media Collective and CVS Media Exchange. The focus: how the evolution of shoppable moments and retail media is changing the way brands and retailers measure their performance.

Learn more about Babcock and Home Depot’s retail media strategy.

Register now to take advantage of the discounted pricing before rates go up on April 19 and hear directly from some of the brightest minds in retail.

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