When Shoptalk launched in 2015, the need for an entirely new retail and ecommerce industry narrative and community premised on disruptive innovation was not as obvious as it is today. By remaining firmly committed for more than two years to our mission to lead the development of a modern industry dialogue that includes all the right organizations and people, Shoptalk has become a widely accepted and critical part of the rapidly changing retail and ecommerce ecosystem.

Our next U.S. event—which will take place on March 18-21, 2018, at The Venetian in Las Vegas—will dive even deeper into the ongoing digitization of how consumers discover, shop and buy. To frame the event, and to continue to serve as a catalyst for the evolution of retail and ecommerce, we’ve introduced the following theme for 2018: Now is the Time, Shoptalk is the Place, which is shorthand for:

  • Now is the Time between a comfortable past and a dramatically different future for retail and ecommerce, and
  • Shoptalk is the Place to embrace transformational trends, technologies and business models that define this transition from the legacy normal to the new normal.

This builds on the 2017 theme for our U.S. event, which was: The New Blueprint for Retail & Ecommerce.

For many years—going back to the 1980s—retail was mostly stable and predictable, making it a relatively comfortable industry to operate in. While the Internet has had a material impact on retail over the past two decades, its biggest effects have arguably been in specific sectors and the long tail rather than wholesale in the head of the demand curve. But retail and ecommerce as we have known them for a very long time have entered a multi-year period of disruptive change.

Now is the time between a comfortable past and a dramatically different future for retail and ecommerce. It’s a time when everything about how consumers discover, shop and buy physical goods across all verticals is evolving. This transformation is being driven by a confluence of macro trends, many of which are changing consumer behavior in material ways. Consumers now define convenience, for example, as a function of being connected anytime and anywhere, leading to a huge increase in the relevance of the Internet to their daily lives and how they conduct commerce. The implications of these changes are profoundly important to every stakeholder—from retailers and brands and the millions of employees in the industry to tech and Internet companies, investors, real estate operators and Wall Street.

The retail and ecommerce industry is at a stage where questions about the future have become very hard to answer. While we all know that stores aren’t going away entirely and that they’ll be different in the future than they are today, the tough but critical questions are: What will the consumer experience become? How do we plan for it now? These are the kinds of questions Shoptalk is designed to help answer. 

Shoptalk is the place to embrace transformational trends, technologies and business models that define the transition from the legacy normal to the new normal. We bring together all key stakeholders to learn, collaborate and evolve. These stakeholders include everyone from large established organizations that are working through structural and cultural challenges to evolve their businesses, to direct-to-consumer startups that are still proving the ability of their new business models to reach significant consumer scale.

As Shoptalk enters its third year, we’re thrilled to continue providing the industry with valuable opportunities to learn about innovation, identify new technologies, create new partnerships and much more. We’re also excited to lead the industry through the introduction of Shoptalk Europe, our new Fall event, which will be held on October 9-11, 2017, in Copenhagen.

As the needs of the retail and ecommerce ecosystem have changed, so has the role of an industry event. At Shoptalk, we believe that we do well only when we serve the industry well. So, in everything we do, we put the industry first, leading with its needs rather than our own. This unique approach has quickly made us the most important retail and ecommerce event in the U.S., allowed us to grow to more than 5,500 attendees in 2017 and be on track for incredible 7,500 attendees in 2018—just our third year. But even with this unprecedented success, we’re not focused on preserving the status quo, but on constant innovation so that we can always deliver the most useful events imaginable. 

We offer an entirely new kind of event for the industry premised on courage, leadership and long-term investment. We hope you’ll join us for an exceptional experience at 2018’s Shoptalk U.S. Here are some links to get started:

For information about Shoptalk Europe, with which we’re leading the development of a European and global narrative and community, click here: http://shoptalkeurope.com.

Anil D. Aggarwal
Founder, Chairman and CEO