Our VP of Business Development is attending the SXSW Interactive festival this year in Austin. With just a few days of the conference completed, Jonathan has shared his experience so far in this quick recap below.

I hit the ground running as soon as I arrived in Austin Friday morning and got hold of my SXSW badge. With only 7 days in town, I plan on attending as many events as the day will allow. I’m pleased to say that Day 1 and 2 did not disappoint.

I kicked things off on Friday night at the third annual Retail Innovation Lounge (RIL) hosted by Anne Marie Stephen, CEO of Kwolia and RevTech Ventures mentor. The lounge proved to be a great way start to SXSW.

I headed back to the RIL on Saturday; the day started with a fireside chat with Under Armour’s Sid Jatia, VP of Direct to Consumer moderated by Marc Biel, CEO of Shopgate.

retail innovation lounge 1

Jatia dove into great conversation emphasizing the importance of engaging customers via their app. Under Armour leverages their app to create a personalized experience and drive long-term engagement rather than using it for promotions and short term gains.

The following session featured Urvi Bhandari, Innovation Catalyst at Walmart and RevTech Ventures mentor discussed digital fashion future with Fashion 360 and how technology can be integrated into fashion and the data possibilities.

retail innovation lounge 2The next panel was full of familiar faces with Brian Maupin – Xclaim Mobile, Daniel Black – Glass-Media, Anne Marie Stephen, and Matt McCoy – Scanalytics. They discussed ‘New Meets Non-Traditional at TurnStyleNYC’, a new retail concept located in an NYC subway walkway. Turnstyle is testing new retail technologies which is great for retail innovators looking for real world use cases.

They discussed how the state of retail is gloomy but innovation brings excitement back by creating new retail experiences. The playbook of the past is gone. Brick and mortar isn’t going to disappear, but leveraging technology to activate, engage, convert, and retain customers will be crucial for success. Turnstyle is exciting because it’s WHERE the people are.

Austin is buzzing with innovation and I’m looking forward to the next week of SXSW. Check back in next week for a recap