RIC 2018: The Innovation Is Built In

The Retail Innovation Conference earned its name for multiple reasons. The event’s overall approach to content, a day dedicated to store tours, plenty of lunch table topics and a highly useful mobile app are just a few. Here, the RTP team shares the most innovative aspects of the Retail Innovation Conference, which kicks off April 30-May 2 at Convene in New York City.

Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief: What makes the Retail Innovation Conference unique and innovative is how we approach the content with the goal of engaging a diverse group of retail executives across industry segments and sizes. We attract a wide range of Director-level and above executive titles who appreciate the opportunity to learn from each other. This is what today’s retail environment is all about: breaking down the silos and collaborating across the organization. The Retail Innovation Conference facilitates just that opportunity in an authentic, welcoming setting that is small enough to offer unmatched networking opportunities and large enough to deliver a vast and impressive lineup of content.

Adam Blair, Executive Editor: Our Store Tours, which will take place this year on April 30, live up to the “Innovation” part of the Retail Innovation Conference’s name. We’re lucky enough to hold the conference in one of the world’s great retail cities, New York, and we’ve leveraged that in unique venues: the Oculus at the World Trade Center in 2017, and the Shops at Columbus Circle this year. I like that we provide a mix of different retail types, from established brands (Williams Sonoma) to those new to the brick-and-mortar space (Amazon Books). And while it may not be particularly innovative, it is smart that we make sure there’s a retail executive at each store, to show it off to its best advantage and answer attendees’ questions.

Marie Griffin, Managing Editor: As others have noted, innovation is built into RIC. You will have access to great keynoters, provocative panel discussions, topic-specific parallel tracks and ample networking opportunities in both programmed and casual settings. But whether or not you come away with transformative ideas, invaluable contacts or a wealth of information to share with colleagues back at your company is entirely up to you. Have you reviewed the agenda to choose which of the concurrent sessions you will attend? Have you delegated responsibilities back at the office so that you don’t have to miss sessions or networking events while you are on the phone overseeing projects others can handle? Even if you aren’t one of this year’s Innovation Award winners, have you thought about innovation at your company that you can share? Some of your colleagues may give you suggestions that will make those efforts even more fruitful. This conference has been designed to create an immersive environment to foster innovation, but only you can make this a million-dollar conference — for you.

Glenn Taylor, Senior Editor: Lunch is an excellent way to break up the day, and I don’t think many people will argue that point. But at RIC it’s even better to be able to use the time to still provide value to attendees. I’ve attended plenty of networking lunches at conferences designed to get people chatting, but the lack of structure can often lead people to just eat and walk away without really getting anything out of it. With different tables designated for specific topics related to the conference, attendees can share their own thoughts on why the hot trends in retail matter to them. Even if the table topic isn’t exactly related to your area, there are always plenty of relevant discussion points in these conversations — and any retail executive can stand to learn a little bit more from their peers.

Klaudia Tirico, Features Editor: In terms of innovation, I can’t emphasize enough how useful (and dare I say innovative) the Retail Innovation Conference app (powered by Attendify) will be. I know I’m not alone when I say my phone is attached to my hand, and it’s especially important to have during a conference. At RIC, it will be extra valuable, giving attendees complete access to the agenda, locations for all events, speakers and other attendees, right in the palm of their hands. Want to connect with Clay Johnson of Walmart following his keynote? Hit up the app to contact him directly! Planning your agenda and want to know what time the networking breaks are? You can check the times and set reminders on the app in seconds. Plus, the activity feed is bound to have the best insights from sessions you didn’t get a chance to attend throughout the conference — directly from your peers. Download the RIC app here to plan your entire agenda and start networking now. And don’t forget to say hi to the RTP edit team!

Bryan Wassel, Associate Editor: The variety of speakers at the Retail Innovation Conference strike me as incredibly diverse, giving attendees a massive pool of expertise from which they can learn without sacrificing the intimacy of a smaller event. Attendees will meet retail veterans, thought leaders, Wall Street experts and more, and our track sessions will make it easy to pinpoint the panels that focus on specific interests and provide the best answers to any questions they might pose. The innovation is built right into the schedule, providing numerous opportunities to learn without overwhelming you with choices.

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