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Preparing for Shoptalk 2020: 5 things you should know

If you’re a retailer, investor, or just someone looking to learn, collaborate and build the future of retail, then you are likely gearing up to attend this year’s Shoptalk Conference on March 22nd-25th. Hosted at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Shoptalk 2020 is setting the stage for an exceptional experience. Attendees should expect brand new sessions, highly curated content, and of course, the long-awaited arrival of Shoptalk’s all-female speaker lineup!

With Shoptalk 2020 only a few weeks away, it’s time to start preparing. The Loqate team offers our top five tips for getting the most out of Shoptalk 2020.

Plan your schedule

This year’s conference is jam-packed with extraordinary speakers, illuminating sessions, networking dinners, tabletalks, and more. What information are you trying to bring back to your team? What do you need to learn here for it to be considered a successful conference?

Clear goals and defined subjects of interest will help you map out your 4-day journey. Navigating the agenda is rarely an easy task. The overabundance of quality content offered in simultaneous tracks can be overwhelming, especially for first-time attendees. As I write this, we’ve already identified several slots where even the most decisive attendee may have trouble choosing – do you attend a visual session highlighting successful transformative store experiences or an overview of the changing role of marketplaces provided by HARMAN International and eBay? So many interesting choices to make!

Shoptalk 2020 is offering roughly 100 groundbreaking sessions, all filled with insights and perspectives from retail’s best leaders and innovators.

While we may not have the luxury of signing up for these workshops in advance, taking note of the times and locations of the ones you don’t want to miss can guarantee you a seat.

You should be prepared to soak up as much as you can. Workshop sessions are on Monday & Tuesday and cover topics from how to measure the right KPIs and outcomes, all the way to how to create an effective pop-up (a topic that has seen much success over last year’s holiday season).

Here are a few of the sessions that we are most excited to attend:

  • Major Innovations from Outside the US – Monday @ 10:00 am – 10:40 am
  • Future of Social Commerce – Monday @ 3:05 pm – 3:45 pm
  • Engaging Consumers through Next Generation Mobile Experiences – Tuesday @ 1:35 pm – 2:15 pm
  • Transformative Store Experiences - Monday @ 8:30 am – 9:10 am. Loqate client, Nordstrom, will explain how they developed Nordstrom Local, a retail concept that provides customers with easier access to convenient services like online order pickup, alterations & tailoring, and personal styling.

Still too much to grasp? Take a breather in one of Shoptalk’s unique lounges.

In partnership with Women in Retail, Shoptalk will be hosting a series of fireside chats offering inside looks into topics like leadership best practices, tips on fostering a collaborative culture, what it means to be a woman leader in retail, and more!

Occurring concurrently with sessions throughout the day, attendees can stop by the Women in Retail Lounge in the Exhibit Hall for some relaxation, networking, and real-life storytelling from some of the biggest names in retail.

Shoptalk will also be bringing us into the future of retail with their brand new Immersive Virtual Reality Lounges. Taking things global, they will be bringing us a 360 view of retail innovation and sharing live coverage of the world's largest eCommerce event – Alibaba's 11.11. From Israel to China, the project is set to showcase two completely different visual and immersive experiences onsite.  You won’t want to miss it!

ID the speakers you want to hear from

Shoptalk’s speakers are always leaders and innovators from numerous industries, including retail, technology, and more. This year, they’re taking things to the next level.

Early last year, Shoptalk announced that one-third of their speakers were women, with the expectation to bring that number up to 50% within the next two years. However, Shoptalk has gone even further, announcing their first-ever all-female panel this March. Excited? Us too.

Shoptalk’s list of 322 confirmed speakers showcases incredibly talented women who have been working to transform the future of retail from all angles.

Not sure which speakers to add to your list? Here are a few of the speakers that we’re excited to hear from:

  • Ann Piper, head of client partnerships @ Spotify
  • Brady Stewart, SVP, America’s Digital @ Levi Strauss & CO
  • Mary Dillon, CEO @ Ulta Beauty
  • Shaye Anderson, Head of Business Strategy & Operations @ Nordstrom.

Don’t burnout early – engage in team networking

For large events such as these, it can be easy to fall into the habit of over-networking.  You will be shoulder to shoulder with 8,500 attendees who are there to share insights, meet their peers, and, most of all, enjoy the overall experience.

While it’s tempting to fill up your schedule with meetings with other professionals and vendors, even the greatest extrovert would lose a bit of steam by day two. Luckily, you’re not alone. Tons of conference going experts struggle with this very issue. The solution – traveling in teams.

Shoptalk networking is one of the many instances where teamwork can make the dream work. If you’re traveling with teammates, study the agenda as a group. Assigning different goals to every individual can lower the likelihood that you will get overwhelmed and maximize the amount of learnings you can bring back to your organization.

Divvy up the tasks and give everyone a list of targets to interact with. At the end of the conference, you can share and exchange notes and detail your encounters. Dividing and conquering your targets is a tried and true strategy that guarantees you a hefty pile of business cards, and will ensure everyone has enough energy to end the conference in high spirits.

Leave work at the office

While it may not be possible to completely unplug from the office, especially if you’ve brought your team with you, your primary focus should be on the conference. Stay out of your inbox and silence those work notifications!

Remember, you’re in Vegas to soak up all that Shoptalk has to offer, and it gets difficult when you’re on the sidelines trapped in your emails. Dump the stress. Set your out-of-office replies. And get ready to make as many connections and have as many experiences as you can.

Work Hard, Play hard

Sprinkled throughout the agenda full of sessions and workshops are a few fun events that you don’t want to miss. Enjoy a little of what Shoptalk has to offer after dark.  

Opening night on Sunday is not to be skipped. The official Welcome Reception in the Shark Reef will be taking place from 5:45 pm -7 pm. This is the perfect time to grab a drink and go mingle with the other attendees.

In the mood for music? Shoptalk is bringing in Flo Rida for Tuesday’s poolside reception @ 8-10 pm. Enjoy the scene with your team or meet up and party with some of the new friends you made earlier in the day.

When it’s all said and done, say your goodbyes and take a bit of time to unwind at the Spa at Mandalay Bay before you catch the flight back. You’ve earned it!

Come chat with us at Booth #1910!

Need an address verification solution? Want to improve the quality of your customer data?

Come say hi at booth #1910 – we’re happy to answer your questions and discuss how Loqate's address verification solutions can help you deliver an improved customer experience.

Can’t wait to see you there!

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