Talking Shop With Shoptalk's Sucharita Mulpuru
If you're anybody in the retail industry, you've for sure heard of Sucharita Mulpuru, chief retail strategist with Shoptalk, the retail and e-commerce mega conference that launched in 2016 and has become a major player in the space.
Prior to her role at Shoptalk, Sucharita was a principal analyst on Forrester’s eBusiness team, where she focused on e-commerce, e-commerce technology, and consumer behavior and trends in the online shopping space. She's also a leading authority on multichannel retail topics, has authored more than 50 research papers on the topics of online and multichannel retail, and is frequently cited in leading media outlets such as CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and The Financial Times.
We picked Sucharita's brain recently about what's in store for Shoptalk 2017, which is taking place at the Aria Las Vegas March 19-22. (Total Retail and the Women in Retail Leadership Circle, sister publication of Total Retail, are media sponsors for the event.) Here are her thoughts:
Total Retail: This is your first year with Shoptalk. Can you tell us why you joined the team, and what your goals are in your new position?
Sucharita Mulpuru: I've been very impressed with the brand that Shoptalk has built in the retail industry. It's quickly established itself as a new voice, and I knew it would be an exciting place to be to shape the dialogue of retail for years to come. My title is chief retail strategist, and my primary role with Shoptalk is to launch a networking program at the event. Shoptalk is a great community of retail innovators, and we're formalizing programs through dinners and curating meetings to connect people at the event with one another and ultimately to get even more value than they may get otherwise.
I'm also leading a "Demo Track" at the event, in which 40 interesting technology vendors each get 10 minutes to do a quick pitch of a new product or announcement on stage in front of attendees. I'm also putting exhibit hall tours in place that I hope establish a new standard in the industry. We'll have "digital celebrities" like Forrester Research analysts and innovation heads at retailers lead the tours.
TR: What are some key sessions and important speakers you're excited to hear at Shoptalk next year?
SM: One of the big concerns we heard from attendees last year is that there was so much happening that it's often difficult to pick among so many great options. There's a lot of "FOMO" (fear of missing out) at Shoptalk even when you go to one session but maybe miss another one. We have some amazing keynotes this year, like CEOs from Target, GGP, Harry's and many more. I'm personally a huge fan of Houzz, so I'm really looking forward to hearing Adi Tatarko and all the e-commerce plans the company will have.
TR: How will the event be different this year vs. last year? How is it growing?
SM: We're on track to double the show, so 100 percent growth looks within reach. We've added more presentations to supplement panels, we've made the exhibit hall easier for attendees to navigate, we're adding all the networking programs I mentioned, and we'll of course have even more attendees which should be valuable for everyone.