Caroline Farley is the Chief Growth Officer of Shoptalk and Grocery Shop.
KG: Why did Shoptalk decide to create a separate conference solely dedicated to the grocery space?
Caroline: The grocery and CPG industry is facing a major shift into e-commerce as this space is the last retail sector to take the leap into online; today just 2-3% of grocery sales in the U.S. come from e-commerce, a small fraction compared to other retail categories. It was a natural next step for the team that built Shoptalk to launch an event creating a new framework and dialogue with a community of rapid innovation and disruption.
KG: What are the most interesting trends you are seeing in the grocery space this year?
Caroline: The obvious trend is the impact innovative technologies have on the industry in terms of digitization and the new consumer landscape: new technologies are enabling more interactive, engaging in-store experiences, as well as making store operations more efficient. Groceryshop is designed to meet the needs of the sector as it undergoes widespread disruption. Over the next few years, new omnichannel offerings will emerge, which will include new ways to order as well as more convenient delivery and pickup options. The result will be an increase in orders via digital platforms, as well as significant changes in physical stores as they become a key part of order fulfillment. At the same time, new technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain will start to transform the supply chain.
KG: Now in its fourth year, what can we expect to see and hear at Shoptalk?
Caroline: Shoptalk 2019 will have a core focus on empowering retail with education. Our framework outlines how the retail industry has evolved from a Legacy Normal(2015 and earlier) through a period of Disruptive Change(2016-2017) and into a phase we refer to as the New Normal(2018 and beyond).
The New Normal is characterized by optimism about transformation and a renewed confidence in the future of retail. In this phase, disruptive innovation is no longer simply reactive or something that a minority of people advocate. Instead, it is embraced by the mainstream and is a top priority throughout the ranks of retailers and brands, increasingly touching all parts of the organization.
Culturally, this New Normal has ushered in an era where innovation, not inertia or protection of the status quo, is reflected in companies’ daily operations. It is an extended period during which innovation is no longer an “if” or “why” but “who, what, when and how.” Retailers are now in a state of constant improvement as they look to ensure that everything from the supply chain to the online and in-store experience is optimized.
Shoptalk’s 2019 agenda is organized to reflect the key themes that represent this new era of retail and how brands and retailers are positioning themselves for the future. To ensure that we continue to lead the industry conversation, we’ve retired a number of topics and added others–about half of the session topics are new.
As well, attendees can expect to see unique activations in the Exhibit Hall and more intimate retailer to retailer networking with peer dinners. We’ll also feature Shoptalk’s Shop Hop, allowing retailers and brands an opportunity to network with each other in a casual setting and reflect on the three days of extraordinary education. Just as we have the past three years, we will continue to introduce the element of surprise onsite to create the most exciting, hyped and educational conference model in the retail space.