RIS Retail Executive Summit Highlights
David Matthews

This week, I had the opportunity to be a judge at the RIS Retail Executive Summit at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale. The audience of about 150 was primarily made up of retail CTO’s and CIO’s, also sponsors, a few entrepreneurs, and at least one retail tech investor. There were several great keynotes by executives from Canadian Tire, GUESS, Walmart Labs, Petstuff, Xcel Brands, and Macy’s.

On-Demand Workforce
RevTech has explored the theme of an on-demand workforce for retail, featuring companies like ShiftSmart and Forge at our past pitch events. Macy’s has built and deployed their own on-demand workforce solution. Macy’s SVP of Associate and Labor Relations, Mike Zorn, explained that the goal was to have store managers spend more time coaching associates and less time scheduling. Store associates now have a mobile app for managing their own respective schedules. Full-time employees are given priority over part-time employees for shift selection. According to Zorn, there has been no issue with filling shifts, even during extended-hours holiday times. The number of associates classified as “engaged” has increased by 16% and associate turnover has decreased by 28% since the self-scheduling program was introduced.

Mobile Technology in Stores
The headline sponsor, Boston Retail Partners (BRP), provided the results of a survey of retailers regarding technology deployment in stores. See below for a few of the stats that were shared. Suffice it to say, deployment of new tech moves slowly.

Retailer Deployment of Mobile Tech
Mobile website (19%)
Wi-fi (16%)
Mobile app (13%)
Mobile loyalty program (9%)
MAC address (7%)
NFC (5%)
Bluetooth (4%)
Mobile wallet (3%)
Social media listening (2%)
Beacons (2%)

Ability to personalize rewards around social media engagement (34%)
Provide mobile solutions for store associates (13%)
Plan to have a single commerce platform within 3 years (71%)

Pitch Competition
For the pitch competition, the clear winner was TruRating, a customer survey solution that is delivered within the payment transaction. TruRating partners with payments providers to insert short surveys into the transaction flow. The company boasts a greater than 80% response rate from these surveys, providing merchants with a true snapshot of customer satisfaction via a web dashboard portal. I was inspired to match the prize check of $2,500 with $2,500 from RevTech Ventures!