Building the Smart Store Community at Comm-Works’ Inaugural Retail Technology Symposium

Andre David Anderson
Andre David Anderson
Global Channels and Alliances

The retail industry delivers magic through authentic experiences capturing the imagination, engaging senses and evoking emotions, and solution providers add value only when they first focus on the end experience rather than their technological means.

In most technology companies, there’s a tendency to focus attention and resources on the technology itself. It’s precisely there where a line can be drawn separating successful technology companies and the rest. And, it might come as a surprise to you which sets of companies fall on which side of the line.

I firmly believe successful technology companies are not about “speeds and feeds,” but rather about solving problems, providing solutions, and delivering business outcomes to their clientele. They’re not tech companies, rather they are trusted partners delivering reliable solutions to their customers.

It’s why I don’t’ refer to RetailNext as a technology company, but rather a retailing company, built by retailers for retailers, and helping the retail industry solve for its biggest problems and opportunities. Sure, RetailNext is a retail IoT company, and technology innovations line its corporate DNA, but its value derives from providing solutions to smart store retailers – over 300 brands in 60-plus countries and counting.

Solving problems and driving business outcomes are precisely why I get so excited about working with partners like Comm-Works and the companies they brought into its recent inaugural Retail Technology Symposium, held in Minneapolis. The event – a resounding success – brought together companies like Cisco Meraki, Cradlepoint and others to solve for and expand upon the needed insights empowering retailers to, first and foremost, optimize the in-store shopping experience and find smart ways to increase same store sales.

Common ground is the reason why partnerships work. At the Comm-Works symposium, everything RetailNext ordinarily talks about – shopper journeys and seamless cross-channel shopper experiences, customer retention and loyalty, etc. – was echoed by partners and customers alike. Discussions centered on solving for physical stores’ most pressing opportunities for smarter, better retail, not centered on single-point technologies. Interestingly and most special, when it was just about my turn to present RetailNext’s view of the new smart store of today, my presentation was preceded by Meraki, one of our valued partners, and our two stories worked in easy concert, each complementing the another.

The gathering at Comm-Works’ symposium was very reminiscent of RetailNext’s annual Executive Forum, the agenda being not about selling, rather about building and fostering a community of best practices and smart store retail behaviors that drive the optimal shopping experiences, knowing that what’s good for shoppers is great for stores. Next year, Comm-Works’ second annual symposium will undoubtedly follow course, capitalizing on this year’s success and leveraging it to expand the community and its collective dialogue of best practices devoted to retailers delivering seamless shopping experiences throughout customers’ complex shopping journeys.

Retail, when done right, delivers magic through authentic experiences that capture the imagination, engage senses, and evoke emotions. When retail companies like RetailNext and Comm-Works partner together with those end goals in mind, value is created and shared throughout the retail ecosystem, from shopper to store to solution provider and back again.

Join the #retail, #inspiringretail and #SmartStore conversations on Twitter @ADavidAnderson & @RetailNext, as well as at