Recap: PSFK Future of Retail

Last Thursday, retail influencers from across the country gathered at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA, for the PSFK Future of Retail conference. The event, sponsored by Revel Systems iPad POS, featured speakers from growing companies like Uber, to giant corporations like Google. Here’s a brief recap of what transpired at the PSFK Future of Retail conference.

A PSFK flyer from the PSFK Future of Retail event PSFK Future of Retail Conference

Scott Lachut of PSFK Labs and Piers Fawkes, Founder and President of PSFK, kicked things off with a preview of what some retail businesses are doing to push into the future of retail. Clothing companies, like men's clothier chain Brooks Brothers, are using real-time analytics to adjust what certain customers view on their website. Much like Revel’s Intelligent reporting feature, business are looking more and more towards real-time reporting and analytics to get the fastest results tailored to their needs.

Katie Stratton of Google Helpouts gives a demonstration at PSFK Future of Retail Katie Stratton of Google Helpouts

First to speak was Bradley Voytek of the expanding ride-sharing service, Uber. Voytek touched on understanding city dynamics and how wait times can be changed and predicted based on city data. The next speaker, Tim Voegele-Downing of Avery Dennison, followed up on the importance of data by showing off inventory tracking features. Avery Dennison is using inventory tracking to create a new retail operating system with smart labels.

Next to take the stage was Chris Bennett, the CEO of Soldsie, an app that lets businesses sell items on Facebook. All customers have to do is respond with “Sold” to buy items through comments. Using social media as a source for instant purchase opportunities is a new market that can help small businesses garner attention, as Bennett says, “Viral reaches on social leads to sales in the store.”

Google had a large presence at the PSFK Future of Retail conference with multiple speakers including Laura Jones of Google Shopping, and Katie Stratton of Google Helpouts. Jones spoke on looking more into the user to expand the shopping experience; however, more attention was focused on Stratton and the introduction of Google Helpouts with a live demo. Google Helpouts allows customers to ask for help from professionals with any consumer needs he/she may have. The live demo featured Stratton contacting a Sephora makeup artist to provide a one on one lesson.

Brian Williamson of Foursquare gives a demonstration of PSFK Future of Retail Brian Williamson of Foursquare

Other well-known brands featured at the PSFK Future of Retail event included Zappos and Foursquare. Zappos Labs speaker Carrie Whitehead spoke on the importance of experimentation with omni-retail to convert every product interaction into a sales opportunity. According to the data gathered at Zappos Labs, more than 50% of people on Twitter are mentioning products and brands, meaning all channels, including social, need to be included in the purchasing journey. Foursquare speaker Brian Williamson continued with the theme of reaching customers across social channels with Foursquare’s “Location is the New Cookie” pitch. Foursquare already knows where you check-in, but they’ll be launching an updated app that provides tips on where to shop based on location.

Revel Systems with Michael Boeke of Braintree at the Revel booth during PSFK Future of Retail Michael Boeke of Braintree at the Revel Systems booth

Closing out the PSFK Future of Retail was Michael Boeke of Braintree, and Tim Weingarten of The Hunt, speaking on the advantages of mobile shopping. Braintree is a payment company that believes in the highly popular Benedict Evans phrase, “Mobile is Eating the World” by helping businesses accept payments through a mobile app. The Hunt has entered the mobile world by using Instagram to make any photo shoppable. There’s no doubt about it, the retail world is heading towards mobile technology.

The shopping experience will continue to evolve from developments in technology at the PSFK Future of Retail event. A big thanks from Revel Systems, The Future of Point of Sale to all the key innovators in the retail space who spoke at the conference!