Retail events are crucial for brand exposure, staying ahead of industry trends, meeting the right people, and shopping around for the latest technologies that bring value to your stores. With so many retail events out there, it’s hard to pinpoint which ones give you the biggest bang for your buck. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 international retail conferences and expos that specialize in a variety of areas.
You’re bound to find at least a few events that are right for your retail organization. Mark your calendars folks, here are some hot retail events you don’t want to miss!
1. NRF Retail’s Big Show
As NRF’s flagship event, Retail’s Big Show is a three-day expo and conference taking place January 14-16, 2018 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. It’s regarded as the largest retail event of the year because it draws the largest gathering of industry executives, thought leaders, and vendors to discuss industry trends and how to keep up with the digital transformation.
This event has everything from marketing, merchandising, mobile retailing, growth hacks, and so much more. You’ll get the opportunity to rub elbows with the biggest retail players and get the first glimpse of the upcoming technology solutions catered to retailers. Like the name suggests, this is where BIG things happen!
2. ICSC RECon
The ICSC Retail Real Estate Convention (RECon) is a three-day event (2018 date TBD) specifically geared toward retail real estate professionals from around the world. With over 37,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors, it’s the largest industry convention that provides a wealth of networking opportunities.
If you’re looking to expand your business or find new store locations, this is a great place to connect with professionals who have a breadth of experience in this area. This is also the place where deals get made, so come prepared with your pitch! Make sure to download the app prior to the show to get the most out of the weekend. Like the others, this event is packed with educational sessions and workshops so be sure to plan your time accordingly.
3. Retail Congress Asia Pacific
The Retail Congress Asia Pacific, a tradeshow and conference for retailers in the Asia Pacific region, will be held October 10-11 of this year at the Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong. It’s the premier information and networking event for retailers in this area. The Congress provides the opportunity to meet and build relationships with key decision makers from 25 countries. More than 350 delegates are set to attend the event this October and provide a fresh direction for the retail market.
This year’s theme, “Reshaping Retail in Asia Pacific: Survive and Prosper,” aims to prepare businesses for the unknown and better understand the modern customer. It will have a new format this year including the Ideas Factory that has 20-minute sessions designed to challenge and inspire, seven-minute presentations leading into heartier panel discussions, and Q&A/roundtable discussions. Bring your networking game to the next level by attending the gala dinner, cocktail reception, and retails awards. Be sure to download this year’s Congress App to connect with confirmed attendees and pre-book meetings.
4. HR Retail
HR Retail is an annual training conference for HR executives, specifically in the retail industry, that will be held April 10-12, 2018 (you’ve got plenty of time to prepare) at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in sunny San Diego, CA. It’s the perfect event for innovative HR professionals looking for new tools and strategies to address HR’s biggest challenges like how to attract top talent, development, employee engagement, and turnover and make a change to their people strategy.
The agenda is full of rich content from keynote speakers who are HR leaders from top brands like Levi Strauss, Macy’s, Lush, and Gap. They share their tips and tricks to help retailers implement successful HR initiatives. After this three-day event full of actionable sessions and unique networking opportunities, you’ll be prepared to tackle your day-to-day and strategy challenges head-on.
5. Retail Business Technology Expo
If you’re a European retailer looking for innovative tools, services, and other solutions that can help you grow your business, boost productivity, and enhance the customer experience, the Retail Business Technology Expo is the event for you. Held May 2-3, 2018 in Olympia, London, this expo offers numerous conferences and seminars where attendees can learn about transformational ideas, information, and products to run your retail organization more effectively.
The expo covers issues in numerous categories including ecommerce, finance, marketing, merchandising, supply chain, and the list goes on. It’s a must for anyone responsible for purchasing decisions, including IT, eCommerce, payments, marketing, loss prevention, finance, supply chain, profit protection, operations, HR, and security.
6. World Retail Congress
The World Retail Congress event, hosted April 17-19 in Madrid, Spain next year, brings together over 1,000 global industry leaders to address the evolving consumer demands and the future of retail. There are countless reasons to attend, including those we named in previous events, but this one has some unique offerings.
Here you can network with retail leaders and decision makers from more than 65 countries and be a part of an exclusive CEO program. This is an invitation-only program throughout the three-day event designed to connect CEOs, discuss each day’s biggest learnings, participate in leadership mentoring, and gain exclusive access to keynote speakers and intel for off-site networking events. Past speakers include the CEO of Neiman Marcus, Head of Future Retail for BMW, Global Managing Director of Alibaba, and Global VP of Coca-Cola.
7. NG Retail Summit
NG Retail is a three-day summit held October 18-20 of this year at the Fairmont Mayakoba in the tropical Riviera Maya, Mexico. With three summit themes, 15 workshops and 150+ retail executives, this event provides a more intimate setting and comprehensive/collaborative approach to learning.
Programs are tailored to helping attendees implement their key projects more effectively by gaining an in-depth understanding of project needs, desired business outcomes, and challenges they face when trying to hit their goals. If you have forward-thinking projects in mind to take your business to the next level, this is the place to get the implementation strategies you need from those who have already mastered it.
8. Shop.org Digital Retail Summit
The shop.org Digital Retail Summit, happening September 25-27 this year at the LA Convention Center, is a key event for anyone who wants to learn more about ecommerce, online marketing, and mobile commerce. Its main focus is on techniques and technologies that will help you increase ROI and profitability in the digital retail space.
Attended by thousands of retail professionals annually, this event offers educational and networking opportunities for merchants of virtually any size or industry. The event boasts an impressive lineup of speakers including CEO of DSW, Director of Digital Merchandising for Kohl’s, and even Kobe Bryant. They’ll discuss their own successes and failures and how you can apply those learnings to your retail organization. If your business relies heavily upon digital, this is the event for you.
9. Independent Retailer Conference
The Independent Retailer Conference is the only conference that exclusively supports small, independent retailers. Open to any type of independent retailer, the event is more of a pop-up conference within a tradeshow that covers issues surrounding store operations, marketing, management, merchandising and more.
If you own or operate an independent retail store or chain, you’ll get very relevant and tailored insights directly applicable to your needs. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who have been in your same position and have great insights to share to help you thrive in the independent retail space. IRC provides the perfect environment for small retailers looking for custom, one-of-a-kind solutions and indie-style strategy ideas.
10. Business Startup
For those of you starting a retail company in the UK, the Business Startup event in Olympia, London November 16-17 is the place to be. Known as “the UK’s biggest exhibition for anyone starting or growing a business,” this event will give you the right know-how to launch and grow your startup.
With 250 seminars, 350 exhibitors, and 12 workshops, the hardest part will be deciding which sessions to attend. You can also participate in training sessions, speed networking, and other activities that will help expand your network and industry knowledge. Perhaps the most valuable part of the event is that you get to pitch your business at the Angel’s Den where venture capitalists are searching for the best new idea to invest in. Guaranteed you’ll walk out of here energized to expand your business, or even have a new investor!