Inside Our 2024 Theme: The Evolving Customer Journey - Converging Content, Community and Commerce - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

Inside Our 2024 Theme: The Evolving Customer Journey – Converging Content, Community and Commerce

After months of analyzing event feedback from the past few years and having in-depth conversations with our attendees, we discovered that understanding (and adapting to) the evolved customer journey is at the heart of many retail organizations’ leadership discussions and priorities.  
And digging further into this topic, we found that these discussions revolve around three core areas, which are the new pillars of our event: Content, Community and Commerce.  
Of course, we are big fans of alliteration, but that’s not the only reason we went with this theme for the 2024 installment of our event. Let us explain:  

Our Beliefs  

  • We believe quality content is key to unlocking new solutions that reimagine the customer journey. 
  • We believe community is a powerful accelerator for industry innovation.  
  • We believe technology is transforming commerce to be immersive and contextual, so it is truly embedded in our lives and in our culture.   

These beliefs are core to everything we do; every topic we cover and every executive we ask to speak. And these beliefs will ultimately help you, our attendee community, make meaningful connections, discover new ideas, and explore new technologies to help you grow your business. Our mission is to shape the next decade of retail, together, in a vibrant space that offers intimate access to the people you want to meet.  

Our Intentions 

We’ve heard from attendees that the size of our event is a “sweet spot” because we provide an environment, and session formats, that create access and inspire collaboration. We plan to double down on this value in 2024. You can expect strategic sessions through workshop formats and roundtables, intimate C-level panels from leading retailers, meaningful offsite networking events for organic collaboration, and interactive learning experiences such as the Store Tours Program around unique Chicago neighborhoods.  
Knowing how precious time out of the office is, our intention is for all attendees to be able to dig into the most pressing topics and trends with fellow retail leaders, experience innovative solutions and walk away with new ideas they can start to implement as soon as they go back to the office. We also will be creating more experiences outside of the event venue; we believe Chicago is truly a special city and community, so we want to give you the chance to actually experience it! 

Our Conference Program 

Say goodbye to our micro-conference model! While we had the best intentions of creating highly tailored programming for different personas, we learned from our colleagues and attendees that having the IRCE, Design:Retail and Retail Innovation Summit micro-conference model created more confusion than ease. That is why we’re moving forward with our single banner conference brand, The Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, and three topical agenda tracks: Content, Community and Commerce.  
No more acronyms, no more confusion and no more struggling to figure out which micro-conference is best for you.  
We’ve streamlined the conference into three tracks to give attendees the quality time and focus needed to truly soak in all the key learnings with ample networking time. To better understand which track is most applicable to your role, see the details below, because make no mistake: we will still have dedicated content for our loyal attendees, including executive leaders, ecommerce and digital practitioners and in-store design teams. 


By attending this track, attendees will be able to answer – How can we embrace new storytelling methods and vehicles to establish (and reaffirm) our cultural relevance?  

Topics that will be discussed include (but not limited to): 

  • Practical use cases for AI to scale personalization; 
  • Data-driven tactics to improve customer retention; 
  • Creating content that builds credibility and trust along the customer journey; 
  • Driving brand awareness and acquisition through powerful brand collaborations; 
  • And more!  


By attending this track, attendees will be able to answer – How do we build and nurture a brand community that cultivates connection, engagement and loyalty? 

Topics that will be discussed include (but not limited to): 

  • How omnichannel education and experiences drive engagement; 
  • Next-gen loyalty strategies; 
  • How brands are tapping into the cultural zeitgeist; 
  • Localizing experiences and the rise of mixed-use retail concepts; 
  • And more! 


By attending this track, attendees will be able to answer – How can we adapt and evolve to the new consumer path to purchase to create commerce moments everywhere? 

Topics that will be discussed include (but not limited to): 

  • Retail media measurements/attribution; 
  • Testing emerging in-store tech; 
  • Seamless payment experiences; 
  • Adapting to the realities of organized retail crime;  
  • And more! 

Our Expo Hall  

Good news! The expo hall will be within the West Hall instead of the South Building of McCormick Place, which will be much easier for attendees to navigate. Plus, the keynote room will be directly connected to the West Hall and the conference sessions will just be an escalator ride away. No more sprinting from the expo hall to the conference sessions. Also, sessions taking place in the expo hall will NOT overlap with the conference sessions. This will allow attendees to better map their event journey, spend ample time networking and secure a seat in the conference sessions with no sweat. In the expo hall, we’ll be bringing back our Next Stage sessions, which will feature innovative companies, experiential activations to interact with the latest technologies, matchmaking opportunities to expand your network and more! 

Do you know a retail leader who would be a rockstar speaker on our stage? Submit your proposal ASAP! To get the latest news on the event, be sure to sign up for updates. Registration will be launched soon, and we look forward to announcing even more exciting details about the show in the New Year!  

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