3 Don't Miss Sessions at Shoptalk 2016

If the retail world can agree on one thing, it is that the line up at Shoptalk 2016 is impressive. No surprise the attendees include some of the biggest names in fashion, the largest marketplaces, some of the most well-known start-ups, and not to mention networking with the likes of those from Social Media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest or the Google and Amazon folks. The retail industry has been waiting for an event like this; joining all forces together and collaborating on how to create a strategy and execute properly on harnessing that 21st century consumer.

Working for a company known for helping brands in retail to design, build, and grow their name online, I am excited to have the opportunity to attend and listen to some of the experts that live and breathe the industry daily. From the keynote speakers, sessions and fireside chats, followed by strolling the first of its kind Main Street (hey, Echidna will be there at table T67 B!) it seems like a daunting task putting together a schedule. It was a big undertaking, but I've narrowed down my three must attend sessions (in order by when they happen).

1. Innovations in Mobile, Social and Next Generation Marketing Tactics.
To me, this is what disrupting this industry is about. Perfecting your strategy and being able to take and execute on it when you get back to the offices. This session with spend time on the traditional digital marketing spaces of social and mobile, plus the experimental areas that brands are now looking towards to reach shoppers in new places and across a wide variety of consumer touchpoints.

Industry Experts Speaking:
PRAMA BHATT: Vice President of Digital and e-Commerce, Ulta Beauty
BRYON COLBY: SVP, Digital Commerce, Cornerstone Brands
DAVID HEATH: Founder & CEO, Bombas
SHAN-LYN MA: CEO & Co-Founder, ZOLA Registry

2. Executive Perspectives: The Future of e-Commerce
You know by now that if your brand isn't online, you are missing a huge group of customers. However, just putting up an online storefront is only one piece of the puzzle. Consumers' expectations of the e-Commerce experiences are shifting and this talk will go over what this means for businesses aiming to stay ahead of growing customer needs. This session will have Magento CEO Mark Lavelle discussing what shifts he's seeing in terms of how consumers discover, engage and transact online and Scott Thompson, CEO of ShopRunner, sharing insight on customers' growing demands of e-Commerce delivery options and timeframes and address which loyalty benefits are proving critical to keep shoppers coming back.

3. Brands Taking Control

Manufacturers are anxious to take control of the brand experience. While most brands still rely heavily on retail partners for sales, they are also investing heavily in their own digital offerings--many are expanding the breadth and depth of their site content and building out e-Commerce capabilities. Through these initiatives, brands aim to better understand shoppers' browsing and buying habits, develop deeper relationships with customers and also realize greater margins on sales. In this session, brands will discuss how they supplement their retail partner relationships with direct relationships and sales.

Industry Experts Speaking:
FRANCIS ARRASTIA, Sr. Director, Wholesale.com, Levi Strauss & Co.
PAUL S. CARROLL, VP of Digital & E-commerce Creative, New York & Company
AMANDA P. GREENBERG, Sr. Director of eCommerce, Ferrara Candy
AJIT SIVADASAN, VP/GM Global eCommerce, Lenovo

What sessions are you excited to attend? What speakers are not-to-be-missed in your book?