By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski

#Retail Week Live just wrapped up in the UK where retailers from around the world gathered in a much anticipated post Covid event. The two-day (10/13-14) agenda-filled conference covered everything from new retail and tech start -ups to artificial intelligence and gamification.  While attendees had a hard time identifying any one major theme, industry heavy-hitters leaned into topics such as: emerging from the pandemic, defining purpose, being sustainable, the role of retail in global responsibility and live shopping trends.

Of course what current retail conversation would be complete without acknowledging #supply chain shortages and #supply chain issues , which were discussed with caution and concern. Thought leaders recognized that the culmination of lost labor, cultural shifts, factory production delays and transportation bottlenecks created the perfect storm we are seeing now and through the holiday season. Perhaps this is why the conversation shifted to the emerging re-sale industry. @Murray Lambell, VP/GM of #ebay said that businesses and consumers need to embrace the marketplace model and challenged whether or not traditional retail is becoming extinct.   The movement to re-sell and re-use is bringing the world closer to being more sustainable. Circular commerce may, indeed, help save the holidays by offering an option to trendier items in high demand but low supply. Consumers are now seeing retail as a commodity empowered by tech companies that can now track and value your purchases showing appreciation and suggesting re-sale profit.

Another key topic was the convergence of hospitality, restaurant and retail industries. All three of whom were greatly impacted by the global pandemic. Leaders suggested that merging these industries may ultimately save them and evolve them into the next generation of consumers. With #unified commerce at the forefront of brick and mortar + digital retail, traditional industries will also need to reinvent themselves to compete in a virtual world and maintain a competitive stance against Amazon who is entering the physical space.

The two-day conference offered a full array of topics. Speakers covered everything from inspiration from @Sophia Thakur, Vogue’s Woman of the Year, to retailer’s responsibility in the global market as spoken to by @Steve Murrells, CEO, The Co-Op. Becoming sustainable also dominated the conversation led by @Peter Jelkeby, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA and @Joe Metcalfe, Founder of Thrift and @ Stephanie Shaw from Hush. The line-up was rounded out with thought leadership on live shopping by @Ken Murphy, CEO of Tesco and @Sophie Freres, Co-Founder/CEO of LiSA .

Can’t wait for next year’s #Retail Week Live event, you won’t have to wait long. The next scheduled conference is slated for May 24, 2022.     

Want to leverage these insights for your own business? #Columbus Consulting International, now celebrating 20 years of #boutique consulting leadership, can assist you in navigating the retail landscape with our network of experienced practitioners.

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