Organizers of Shoptalk said today that is received $2 million in venture capital funding to launch “Shoptalk Europe,” which will be held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen on Oct. 9 through the 11th.
Confirmed speakers of the event include: Edoardo Manitto, vice president of corporate development and innovation at Galeries Lafayette; Jonathan Alferness, vice president of product management for shopping and travel at Google VP; Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods; Julian Burnett, chief information officer at House of Fraser; Jerry Storch, chief executive officer of Hudson’s Bay Co.; Simona Scarpaleggia, ceo of IKEA Switzerland; Stephan Schambach, e-commerce pioneer and founder of Demandware and Intershop, and founder and current ceo of Newstore; Tim Kendall, president of Pinterest; and Adrian Letts, managing director of online at Tesco; among many others.
Shotalk said the investment was led by New York-based Primary Venture Partners “and included participation from San Francisco-based Commerce Ventures as well as individual partners at Bain Capital Ventures and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).”
Shoptalk said total funding raised exceeds $5 million. Ben Sun, general partner at Primary Venture Partners, said Shoptalk “has successfully reframed the conversation for the U.S. retail and e-commerce ecosystem to focus on disruptive technologies and trends as well as reset the standard for industry events. We believe a similar opportunity exists to deliver incredible value in Europe, and we’re excited to support the launch of Shoptalk Europe with our investment.”
Organizers said Shoptalk Europe will be the first “large-scale pan-European event focused on innovation in retail and e-commerce, and the evolution of how consumers discover, shop for and buy all of their physical goods, from grocery to fashion and everything in between.” said. Anil D. Aggarwal, founder and chief executive officer of Shoptalk. The next Shoptalk is set for March 19 to 22 at the Aria in Las Vegas. Here, Aggarwal explains the strategy behind the events as well as the timing for the European event.
WWD: Can you give a recap of Shoptalk and why you chose to expand to Europe? Why now?
Anil D. Aggarwal: With our launch of Shoptalk in the U.S. in 2016, we were widely acknowledged for creating a modern U.S. retail and e-commerce dialogue and building a much-needed new U.S. retail and e-commerce community. As a result, Shoptalk instantly became the most important American event for innovation in retail and e-commerce and is growing to 5,000-plus attendees in 2017 — just our second year.
We believe a similar opportunity exists to deliver incredible value in Europe. New technologies, trends and business models are impacting retail and e-commerce in every European country. Yet, a European country- or region-specific conversation simply doesn’t capture all of the relevant technologies, trends and business models.
We launched Shoptalk Europe as the event to facilitate a much-needed pan-European dialogue focused on innovation in retail and e-commerce and also to create a pan-European community of industry leaders and innovators.
WWD: How is retail changing globally? And how has the eco-system of it evolved?
A.A.: Technology advances are reshaping retail and e-commerce in countless ways. Today, developments such as more sophisticated smartphone offerings, greater personalization and better product information are already changing both online and offline shopping experiences. Early-stage technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, drones and self-driving cars promise to revolutionize commerce longer term.
At the same time, shifts in consumer behavior and demographics are changing how retailers think about their customers, whether they are teens and millennials, baby boomers or part of Europe’s new multicultural community. And new business models are already broadening traditional e-commerce beyond basic online shopping to include on-demand delivery, personalized shopping, re-commerce, rentals, subscription services and much more.
Given these important changes, initiatives such as developing omnichannel offerings that have dominated the retail conversation for many years are now only a small fraction of what retailers need to focus on.
WWD: What are the benefits to establishing a pan-European dialogue on retail innovation?
A.A.: New technologies, trends and business models are impacting retail and e-commerce in every European country. To date, it’s been too easy to assume that differences in culture, language, laws and regulations across Europe limit the value of a pan-European dialogue. However, these differences pale in comparison to the similarities that both the establishment and startups face in preparing for the next generation of commerce in Europe.
For example, Berlin is often said to lead in e-commerce disruption while London in in-store innovation. Venture capital firms throughout Europe — from the UK and Germany to France and Scandinavia — have invested billions of euros into a broad range of startups, most of which are now expanding outside their current borders. Accelerator programs have already started in cities ranging from Paris to Amsterdam and Stockholm.
From innovations in supply chain pioneered by companies such as Spain’s Inditex and Sweden’s H&M to leading digital grocery initiatives embraced by the UK’s Tesco and Ocado, no one country or city dominates when it comes to innovation. Even in the close-knit space of luxury fashion ecommerce, innovators span the continent, from Milan’s Yoox Net-a-Porter to Paris’s Vestiaire Collective and London’s Farfetch.
As a result, a European country- or region-specific conversation simply doesn’t capture all of the relevant technologies, trends and business models. To fully understand and successfully implement new strategies, there has to be a conversation that extends beyond any one European country or region. Now is the time for a pan-European conversation that shapes the future by bringing together all major hubs of innovation and activity, and it must be supplemented with key global perspectives. Those not part of this conversation risk falling behind both their existing competitors and new entrants as well as the needs and expectations of their customers.
WWD: What is your vision for Shoptalk Europe? What role would it play in facilitating a pan-European dialogue?
A.A.: Shoptalk Europe will be the first large-scale pan-European event focused on innovation in retail and e-commerce, and the evolution of how consumers discover, shop and buy all of their physical goods, from grocery to fashion and everything in between.
It brings together leaders from established retailers and brands, disruptive startups, leading technology and Internet companies, venture capital investors and other key stakeholders. Shoptalk Europe expects more than 2,000 attendees at its inaugural event from all of Europe, all ecosystem stakeholders and all industry verticals who will come together to learn, network, collaborate and evolve.