Three Takeaways from The Lead Innovation Summit

The Retail Innovation Center team recently had the opportunity to attend The Lead Innovation Summit, where the latest in innovation across the retail industry was on full display. The two-day festival took place in Brooklyn and featured speakers across the retail gamut. From the rapid growth of the metaverse to the future of livestream shopping in the U.S., here are three takeaways from the summit.

The Metaverse is Rapidly Evolving

The metaverse is quickly progressing in terms of the aesthetics, capabilities, and technology used to access this digital universe. Breakout session speaker Barry McGeough, Global VP of Innovation at Wolverine Worldwide, led the audience on an immersive journey into the history of the metaverse and where it is going.

McGeough noted that the metaverse avatars, which are currently floating half-bodies with cartoonish features, will be replaced by digitally rendered humans. These digital humans are created by an amalgamation of photos of people, which creates one digital image.

The same technology used to create human-like avatars is also being used to create digital models who wear digital clothes and shoes, that consumers can buy for their avatars. McGeough referenced the Nike x RTFKT digital only shoe collection and the Nike AR hoodie as examples of this progress.

As the appearance of the metaverse becomes more sophisticated so does the technology to access it. McGeough explained how tech providers are working on a metaverse connection through a contact lens, instead of the goggles used now. Think Google Glass, but as a contact lens.

Diversifying DE&I Strategies

Diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies in retail should include individuals with disabilities. This was the ultimate message presented by speaker Mindy Scheier, Founder & CEO of Runway of Dreams Foundation. Scheier created Runway of Dreams in 2014, after she spent a night creating a pair of jeans for her son Oliver, who has Muscular Dystrophy, to wear to school the next day.

The mission of the foundation is to give people with disabilities access to fashion that makes them feel and look great. It is also meant to raise awareness of adaptive fashion and advocate for industry change. With backing from major retailers like Kohl’s and Target, and fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Runway of Dreams has created fashion shows showcasing adaptive clothing and created scholarships for designers who are interested in advancing adaptive fashion.

According to a report from WWD, “As many as 61 million adults in the U.S. have a disability, which is a quarter of the adult population. And 3.7 percent of adults have difficulty getting dressed, though adaptable apparel remains challenging to come by.”

Livestream Shopping is a Worthy Investment

Livestream shopping is a $500 billion industry in China and retailers are hoping to cash in on that here in the U.S. According to Forbes, “Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google are all investing in livestream shopping and supporting their influencers to drive more customers to their platforms. The livestream shopping industry in the U.S. is expected to generate $25 billion by 2023.”

Session speaker Gabby Hirata, CEO and President of DVF, mentioned that she became CEO partly due to her extensive background in livestream shopping, specifically in China. Hirata’s biggest tip for a successful livestream shopping experience, is consistency. Even if the audience does not show up in the beginning, it is important to remain consistent in marketing livestream shopping events. The customer base will grow if the events have a set time and schedule.

It is also important to jump on major shopping events such as Prime Day or in China Alibaba’s “Double Eleven” or Single’s Day. This is where the audience is and how you can build brand loyalty. 

For more information about the Lead Innovation Summit or RILA's Retail Innovation Center, please contact RILA Content Producer, Retail Technology & Innovation Ireti Adesanya.

  • Retail Innovation Center
  • Technology & Innovation

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