I joined Ketner Group as an intern in early 2020. And as you can imagine with that start date, I haven’t had many opportunities to attend in-person retail conferences. So, when my team mentioned the possibility of having me attend the 2022 SKU Retail Brew Summit, I jumped at the opportunity! I couldn’t wait to hear from some of the brilliantly talented people in the retail technology industry.
I can confidently say that the conference lived up to all my expectations. I was able to hear from executives at JCPenney, Crocs, Shipt, Kroger and more. In addition, I had the chance to network with the reporters from Retail Brew while enjoying great food.
For those of you who didn’t make it to New York City for Retail Brew’s conference, I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes and how they apply to the future of retail.
“What you do to get them, you should do to keep them.”
A major topic of discussion at the conference was customer experience. When discussing this all-important aspect of retail, Ciara Anfield, chief member and marketing officer, Sam’s Club explained that the things you do to gain a new customer should be the same things you do to keep them around.
This sentiment can be achieved through added-value strategies like promotions, deals and personalized outreach, or through community-building tactics like authentic collaborations and user-generated content.
Similarly, Kat Cole, president and chief operating officer, Athletic Greens, spoke about authenticity in employee culture. According to Kat, businesses should open clear channels for dialogue with their employees to ensure everyone feels supported from their first day at the company to their last.
“Confidence is earned through experience.”
Melissa Ben-Ishay, co-founder and CEO, Baked by Melissa started her mini cupcake business in 2008 and it has since become a staple bakery chain in New York City. This is an impressive feat in a crowded industry, and it was made possible by her focus and innovation. After explaining her rise to the top, she told the crowd that “confidence is earned through experience.”
This sentiment rang true throughout the event as multiple speakers explained that staying true to core values and the value proposition is critical to success.
They also explained that retailers must be customer-obsessed, dedicated to the quality of their product and open to testing and retesting based on data and customer reactions.
“Be the cockroach.”
Believe it or not, Tyler Williams, head of brand experience, Zappos, used cockroaches as a metaphor for successful retailers. The pest is known for its genetic adaptability, something that should inspire retailers to continue to innovate despite industry challenges. As retailers deal with labor shortages, inflation and an impending recession, adaptability has never been more important.
Speakers throughout the day touched on upcoming innovations. For example, executives from Athletic Greens and Puppyspot expressed interest in adding subscription services for loyal customers and Jing Gao, founder and CEO at Fly By Jing mentioned focusing on seamless omnichannel experiences in 2023.
Innovation is always top-of-mind for our clients at Ketner Group, and hearing so many retailers express their intent to lean on these new technologies is promising for the new year ahead.
There’s always more to learn after the Retail Brew Summit
Every event that brings professionals together is an opportunity to get smarter, craftier, and more excited about what you do – and the 2022 SKU Retail Brew Summit was no exception. I loved hearing from so many brilliant people because it only motivates me to dive deeper into this exciting industry.
The Ketner Group team is looking forward to attending more in-person events both to support our clients and to strengthen our own understanding of the retail technology industry. For example, we’re looking forward to attending NRF Retail’s Big Show, and just last week we enjoyed attending The SEMA Show!
Please reach out if you want to meet us at one of these exciting industry events.