Netflix, IKEA, Iconic, Deliveroo, Myer – these are just some of the Australian and world-renowned brands being represented at the upcoming Online Retailer Expo and Conference in Sydney, on July 25-26. In its 10th year, this year’s event will be celebrating a decade of innovation, with a really interesting line-up of speakers, workshops and exhibitors providing attendees with key insights into the future of online retail.
We spoke briefly to Alice Kuepper, who’s in her fifth year in the role of Online Retailer Event Director, about the event, how technology has changed the online retail space, and the female presence on stage during the two-day event. Here are some highlights from our chat:
On whether technology has changed her role in the past 5 years, if the types of retail businesses that’re showing up and represented at the expo are different than they used to be:
Technology hasn’t changed the inherent nature of the job and the event, since the key element is still bringing people together. But rather than having one full day of pre-conference workshops and an entire day of post-workforce workshops, the event now runs on a more efficient schedule for just two days. There’s also been a cultural change as the participating brands have gone from pure-play online retailers to multi-channel retailers who have offline stores but also want to learn the online game. They’ve realised “online” isn’t just a phase.
On the biggest tech changes in the online retail space in the past decade:
Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Machine Learning are all definitely the hot topics and the biggest change. Using data for personalisation of online shopping – that level of sophistication wasn’t discussed at all 5 years ago. Marketing automation is something that’s seen a lot of sophistication in the past 5 years.
On the female presence on stage at Online Retailer (45% of speakers are women), and who are the ones to watch out for this year:
There are so many inspiring women with amazing businesses and stories, who deserve to have the stage. This year, there are some incredible female speakers, including:
- Lindsay Sturman, Director of Product Customization at Under Armour.
- Katharina Kuehn, Consumer Neuroscientist and Chief Strategy Officer at Winning Group.
- Olivia Carr, Founder and CEO of Shhh Silk (yes, the brand of pillowcases and sleepwear that even the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are obsessed with!).
- Kelly Slessor, CEO and Founder of Shop You.
- Anna Lee, COO of The Iconic.
- Jaana Quaintance-James, Head of Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing at The Iconic.
On what the biggest trend in online retail would be, in the next 5 years:
AI and ML will continue to be big. But the disruption caused by Amazon’s entry onto Australian shores and how retailers combat that (by being on top of their operations and tidying up their houses) is going to decide the biggest trends for the next few years.
On what she’s most excited about, with the Online Retailer event this year:
There’s going to be an AI and future tech zone (which will “showcase the latest applications of Artificial Intelligence from Australia and beyond, designed to help retailers improve conversion, loyalty and ROI from online advertising”), which is very exciting. Mitch Lowe, a co-founding executive at Netflix, is one of the speakers. It’s great to have him. And then there are the ORIAS (Online Retail Industry Awards) which are not only a celebration of excellence and innovation in the retail industry, but also a really fun entertaining night.