2017 Preliminary Agenda


With just four months to Shoptalk, we’re excited to release our preliminary agenda. Over the coming months, we’ll refine this preliminary version and we expect to release our final agenda in January.

The preliminary agenda builds on the groundbreaking new industry dialogue we started with our inaugural event earlier this year, providing the industry with an important new blueprint during a period of profound and structural change. We’re covering the disruptive trends and technologies that are fundamentally reshaping how consumers discover, shop and buy, while concurrently ensuring practical takeaways that can be incorporated into strategic planning as well as implemented into current tactical execution.

Our 2017 agenda runs from Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning, and includes the world’s best speaker lineup, with nearly half our speakers already confirmed. The formats for 2017 will include main stage and track keynote presentations, main stage and track ‘fireside chat’ interviews, compelling track panel conversations and a new track ‘talk show’ format where we interview a series of executives one-on-one. We also have more research presentations planned for 2017 along with our annual Startup Pitch competition. As part of our new Spark Networking Program, we’ve also introduced a track for demos and announcements.

In 2017, we’ll continue to explore some of the same themes we discussed in 2016, but with an updated view, including what’s changed in the past year. In addition, we’ve added timely new topics to the agenda that ensure our coverage is comprehensive and relevant. Our 2017 themes include:

  • Online-to-offline migration:
    For many years, traditional retailers raced to embrace ecommerce as a surefire way to increase sales. Today, however, the tables have turned: It’s now retail stores that are a must-have for the most forward-thinking ecommerce companies. We’ll continue to discuss this topic with some highly successful venture-backed companies as they address their shift from an online-only approach to one that incorporates physical retail stores.

  • The evolution of the retail store:
    While more than 90% of sales still occur at physical retail locations, stores are changing rapidly and becoming more than just places to make purchases; they’re now entertainment hubs and social destinations where shoppers can explore, learn and connect. Retailers are adding wine menus, cooking lessons and yoga classes to attract and engage shoppers—they’re also experimenting with new store formats and locations. In 2017, we’ll highlight some of the most innovative store concepts and look at how retailers are adding new services to diversify traditional revenues.

  • Greater complexity in delivery and logistics:
    The proliferation of next-day and same-day shipping options has raised the bar for retailers. Some large retailers are building out their own same-day shipping options with existing logistics partners; others are signing on with startups to accelerate delivery timeframes. And while new technologies like self-driving cars and drones promise to revolutionize delivery longer term, more immediately, gradual improvements in retailers’ own systems and partnerships with startups are enabling products ordered online to be collected in stores in a matter of hours. Join us to hear how retailers and startups are innovating in this key area to compete with fast-moving leaders in the space.

  • Innovative mobile strategies:
    While almost every session at Shoptalk 2017 will include some commentary on mobile, in a few sessions we’ll call out specific innovators that are tackling mobile in new ways. We’ll look at what it means to run a truly mobile-centric business—not just one with a mobile offering bolted on. We’ll also look at how marketers are using mobile to reach consumers in new ways, whether they’re browsing in their free time or shopping in a retail store.

  • Increasingly sophisticated customer intelligence:
    2017’s Shoptalk will take an in-depth look at how companies are deepening their understanding of shoppers. We’ll look at the innovative ways in which retailers are measuring store shoppers, from new in-store analytics solutions to new types of satellite data that yield insights on shopping behavior. We’ll address advances in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in retail and highlight how businesses are becoming even smarter about what their customers are looking for and how they interact.

  • Startups changing product consumption:
    Our 2017 agenda will take an in-depth look at how new venture backed startups are changing both the breadth of products available in the market and how these products are being consumed. We’ll look at innovative footwear companies carving out entirely new niches in the market and food startups disrupting big CPG brands, for example; we’ll also look at a variety of new startups driving product sales through a services model.

  • Advances in marketing:
    We’ll also take an expanded look at marketing, with a focus on topics like influence and discovery. We’ll look at businesses that successfully built communities and others that provide innovative ways for consumers to discover and explore new products. We’ll hear from some of the world’s premier brands that have used different social platforms to engage with shoppers—and how the way they think about social marketing is shifting.

  • Merchandising innovation:
    We’ve added a new track in 2017 to explore some of the most groundbreaking technologies and approaches to merchandising. From sessions that highlight B2B marketplaces enabling retailers to source from a variety of new sellers to others that showcase advances in data-driven, intelligent merchandising, our content will provide a wide range of insights into this key area of retail.

  • Culture and leadership:
    We’re also thrilled to introduce an entirely new track on Sunday to highlight key issues that companies grapple with when it comes to creating company cultures that attract and retain the right talent—we will also look at how companies cultivate leadership across the organization to drive innovation. We’ll have Q&A sessions with CEOs who have run large businesses as well as successful startups, and those who have seen their companies become part of much larger organizations.

  • Global perspectives:
    Last year we had a few speakers from outside of the U.S. participate in our discussions, but in 2017 we’ll hear specifically how companies have tackled the challenging task of global expansion. We’ll get a perspective from some of the best-known retailers and startups operating in international markets, and also hear from leading VCs on what they look for in their international portfolio companies as well as how they determine if business models that succeed overseas will resonate in the U.S. market.

  • Retail insights from Wharton:
    Shoptalk will also welcome three different Professors of Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to our agenda. They’ll join us to share and discuss their latest research on how to understand and evaluate shoppers, and will provide a valuable perspective on the industry and innovation in retail from one of the world’s leading business schools.

Finally, we’ll also hold several Deep Dive sessions on Wednesday that will include a more in-depth look at issues such as fraud and security, privacy, trend predicting, customer intelligence, pricing and marketplaces.

Since the inaugural Shoptalk in May 2016, we’ve seen a number of advances in the industry. Several of our 2016 speaking companies—including Jet.com, Dollar Shave Club and HookLogic—have been acquired by large players. Our 2017 speaker lineup is already looking just as impressive and we hope you’ll join us to hear from a whole new group of innovators, as well as from many familiar faces who have continued to break new ground in their fields.

We look forward to having you with us at our March 2017 event in Las Vegas and our new Shoptalk Europe event in Copenhagen in October 2017. Join us on this incredible journey of disruptive innovation that’s changing everything we know about retail and ecommerce.

The Shoptalk Team