Venus Williams

Fashion, retail and beauty aren’t just wading in to the digital future, they’re about to get completely immersed.

When movers, shakers and thought leaders from around the industry gather for the WWD Digital Forum New York on Sept. 19 and 20, they will not only examine the digital present, but contemplate a future that is less about screens and more about creating “immersive experiences.”

On the docket are deep dives on:

• Moving beyond mobile and preparing for a mixed reality era of total immersion and invisibility.
• Engaging consumers in conversational commerce through chat, messaging and voice technology.
• The potential of virtual and augmented reality.
• Being ready to market to the digitally super savvy: Gen Z.
• How to win in China.
• Understanding how influence drives purchasing.

The industry leaders giving insights on these topics will be Venus Williams, who will talk about developments at her Eleven by Venus Williams line; Katie Finnegan from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s innovation center Store No. 8; Tricia Nichols of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.; Raashi Rosenberger from Pinterest; Brian Berger of Mack Weldon; Mike Robinson from Macy’s Inc., and many more.

The forum is set against the backdrop of a radically shifting landscape in retail, which draws more than 90 percent of its sales from brick-and-mortar stores, but is getting most or all of its growth from e-commerce.

Increasingly, though, the lines are blurring. Store giant Wal-Mart is becoming much more digital-focused, buying, Bonobos and others, while Amazon has taken to large-scale retail in the real world with its acquisition of Whole Foods.

And brands of all sizes are testing more and more, in their social media feeds and with new technologies and approaches. The net effect is a fashion world buzzing with activity and many avenues forward, but few sure things.

The constant is change.

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