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Top 10 International Retail Events to Grow Your Business

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!

Interested in more information about improving your retail organization? Check out some of our retail-centric blogs How to Reduce Retail Turnover with Better Internal Communication and 3 Ways to Improve Retail Employee Performance. Or fill out the form below to get a free personal demo with a Beekeeper expert who can walk you through how our digital workplace app can help streamline your operations.
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As team leaders, production managers have the essential responsibility of motivating factory workers. There are many ways to do this in an office setting, but motivating factory workers is a different story. It’s much more difficult to maintain a relationship when they’re on the production line and not sitting next to you at a desk.

The management style you use can make or break the success of your company. Your style should depend on your business goals, employees, and personality type. Different worker segments need different leadership styles—a Navy Seal team requires a much different style than a yoga studio.

If you manage factory workers, it’s key to understand they don’t come into work simply because they want to work for you. They have their own goals, ambitions, and reasons for coming to work that won’t always align with yours. Your job is to learn what motivates them to suit up for work every day. Gaining new perspectives will unlock key insights to improve engagement and ultimately the bottom line. Non-desk employees need extra support and when they’re provided with the necessary training and resources, they become much more motivated to put in a productive shift.

Here are four ways to motivate your factory workers and get your production line running like a well-oiled machine:

1. Add meaning to their work.

Every factory worker has different needs. We can use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a guide to see what employees need to reach their full potential. Most employers simply cover the two tiers of basic needs, never trying to reach the higher levels people need both at work and at home.

During a company retreat, Chip Conley, Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, asked groups of housekeepers what would happen if someone from Mars landed on Earth and asked them, “What should we call you?” They came up with some pretty interesting names like, “The Serenity Sisters”, and “The Clutter Busters.” In a study done surrounding hourly workers, three core values arose: meaning, dignity, and self-determination.

Meaning: Every job has a meaning and is important no matter the function. Ditch-digger, fry makers, stable cleaners, you name it. Just because they don’t require higher education doesn’t mean their contribution isn’t valuable. If nobody did these jobs, no one could do their jobs.
Dignity: Dignity comes with how an employee is treated at work. Belittling, neglect, or other unprofessional behavior can drastically reduce productivity, health, and collaboration in any environment.
Self-determination: Self-determination is defined as an employee’s freedom within some boundaries to choose what, when, and how a task is accomplished. Giving employees a sense of control and ownership provides an elevated level of satisfaction, which leads to our next point…

2. Give factory workers more control over what they produce.

Giving factory workers the ability to make their own decisions and see direct result will give them more skin in the game to do their job well. Talk about adding meaning to their work!

In a study done on San Francisco garbage collectors, workers rated themselves very high on job happiness. This was due in large part to being able to choose their own routes and the amount of time spent on each route. Showing you trust your workers by giving them freedom to manage their workflow shows you respect their ideas and, in turn, they’ll want to keep bringing you value.

3. Incorporate bottom-up communication.

Most companies only have a top-down internal communication strategy, meaning management can send information to employees, but not the other way around. By using an internal communication system that allows bottom-up communication, you not only improve internal communication in your factory, you also give workers the floor to express their ideas and instill a sense of belonging. The more you make employees feel like they’re part of the bigger picture, the more they’ll give back.

Allowing bottom-up communication is especially important with distributed workforces. See how Seaboard Foods, a manufacturing with more than 5,000 employees across six states, has improved their internal communications and operations with Beekeeper which facilitates two-way communication.

4. Treat factory workers with dignity, regardless of role.

In the book Life on the Line, the author Solange de Santis recounts the year and a half she spent working in a General Motors plant. She chronicled her experience, through the tough working conditions and disputes between workers and management.

Her biggest takeaway from the experience was how hard-working, skilled, and innovative the factory workers really were. The stereotypical view of factory workers as wage slaves was put aside. De Santis showed these workers make a real difference for the company’s bottom line when they are treated with respect, given room to be creative, and have open dialogues across different levels of the business.

For factory managers looking for some key points to remember when brainstorming motivational ideas, these four factors should be met:

· Goal must be clearly understood
· Progress must be measurable
· Have control over achieving the goal
· A reward system when goals are met

Simply paying workers more won’t give employees more job satisfaction. Creating meaning and motivation must go hand in hand to engage correctly. Working with non-desk employees to develop clear intrinsic goals and acting as a model for them through open dialogue will create a more motivating and fulfilling factory floor.

Want to learn more about how to motivate your production workers and help your bottom line? Sign up for a free personal demo below to see how Beekeeper will help you reach, connect, and motivate your entire manufacturing team. You can also download the Seaboard Food case study to see how Beekeeper has transformed their manufacturing operations.
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