Shoptalk 2017 Recap: Where Online Retail is Headed and Our Takeaways

The Workarea team just spent the last week in Vegas for Shoptalk 2017. After large industry events such as these, WebLincers return and share their experiences internally. Now we’re going to share those with you, so below you’ll hear from two members of our sales and marketing team.

Shoptalk 2017 marked the public debut of so much for us including demos of the Workarea platform and our booth. Built by two people in only two hours, the booth is 100% made with building blocks so we can refresh it whenever we want. 

And did you catch our very first Instagram Takeover by Jenn, our West Coast Sales Director? See all the fun we have at events in and out of the office on the Workarea Instagram and Twitter.

Bill Tarbell, VP of Marketing

This was my first industry conference with WebLinc. The show had a ton of relevant content and speakers. What interested me the most was seeing commonalities in topics, but diversity in approach. For example, artificial intelligence in commerce was prevalent as a topic of discussion among retailers, speakers and vendors. David Wenig, President at eBay (my former employer) explored how imperative AI will be for retailers in the coming years by stating "if you don't have an AI strategy, you're going to die in the world coming". While eBay and other retailers view AI as an opportunity for automation and relevance within the customer shopping experience, the Workarea product team additionally believes that AI is an opportunity to power up merchant team's behind the scenes. Our AI drives insights into the common workflows and decision points for our business users (merchandisers and marketers) so that the shopping experiences they shape for their customers combine the best of human curation and the intelligence generated from machine learning.

My other Shoptalk 2017 takeaways:

1) AI will continue to have weight, and its value will be understood by shoppers as well as the people on the merchant teams.

2) Enterprise software vendors are finally starting to respect the importance of good design within their business tools. Speed and productivity are new scales for a solution's worth to a growing online business.

P.S. Check out my Periscope video taken on the Shoptalk show floor.

Chris Ferina, VP of Sales

After attending many retail conferences across my 15-year digital commerce career, Shoptalk definitely stands out from the pack. I was impressed by the laid-back atmosphere, incredible attendance in its second year, and the amount of quality conversations I had with faces I’ve seen on my LinkedIn feed for years. For being in Vegas, the show definitely had its fair share of kookiness, but it lightened the mood and was a talking point for everyone.

My biggest takeaway from the sessions and booth chats was the consistent chatter of the pressure on online merchants to perform. David Bell, author and professor at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania said onstage, “it's easier for ecommerce retailers to open stores than it is for traditional retailers to start ecommerce.” (we caught Kyle Tomlin‘s tweet sharing that quote here). It’s so true. The popularity of pure-play retailers opening up stores continues to grow with the operations side seeing difficulties. What we know is nothing is figured out, different models need to be considered, and every retailer is doing the best they can. If we keep talking about these realities, everyone - from vendors to retailers - improves and creates a better overall customer experience.

I’m interested to see what Shoptalk 2018 is going to deliver with the number of sought-after speakers and unorthodox, educational sessions. Dear retail industry, more events like this please.

If you were at Shoptalk 2017 and couldn’t swing by booth 337 for your exclusive demo, email and we’ll be in touch!

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