With the pullback in store openings, lackluster consumer loyalty and other headwinds facing retailers, now would be the time to master mobile and omnichannel.ETail West, now in its 18th year, having started with about 100 people during the dot-com boom, aims to bring educational information to help retailers with their go-forward digital strategies.“What’s happening is that things are reaching a tipping point in retail,” said Lori Hawthorne, strategic director of Worldwide Business Research’s eTail events. “There have been so many brands...that are in serious flux right now. They have to get omnichannel right, whether it’s using the stores as a point of fulfillment or really thinking about bringing mobile technologies into the store.”ETail West is expected to draw about 2,500 attendees, with about 60 percent of those retailers.The upcoming conference will tackle a number of themes, including data and what to do with it, mobile-first strategies, omnichannel, the blending of the physical and digital worlds and best approaches to content.“The great thing about e-commerce,” Hawthorne said, “is that it really serves as a bridge.... So think about e-commerce not only from a strategic way, but also tactically how you’re able to use that.”The conference boasts nearly 300 speakers, with about 65 percent of the roster made up of retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Sears Canada, oldnavy.com, American Giant, JackThreads, Neiman Marcus Group, Nordstrom, Reebok, Perry Ellis International Inc., Alex and Ani, New York & Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Stitch Fix.The annual event starts Feb. 27 with several pre-conference summits, including one done in partnership with the Department of Commerce U.S. Commercial Services’ eCommerce Innovation Lab and the Global Retail Insights Network to provide a full day of presentations and case studies on how retailers can expand into emerging markets. The agenda covers initial strategies, payments, customer acquisition and logistics. It’s a new event for eTail West.Nearly 200 sponsors will have booths in an exhibit space where there will be demos, Q&A sessions and lounge areas.The conference runs through March 2 at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, Calif.
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