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The 2015 SAP Retail Forum was held in Miami Oct 21-23: hundreds of SAP customers, partners, and colleagues came together at the beautiful Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach for three days of exciting networking events, thought provoking keynotes, innovative demos, and insightful customer presentations.

Here is my selection of the top 10 things you have missed - and how you can catch up:

1. SAP Keynotes -  Matt Laukaitis, SVP and General Manager US Retail at SAP, Lori Mitchell-Keller, EVP and Global General Manager of Consumer Industries at SAP spoke to Digital Transformation in Retail - Unleashing Data and Creating a Customer-Driven Culture,


- We are no longer in a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) economy, we are in a consumer-to-business (C2B) economy.

- Consumers are firmly in control and the Internet of Things (IoT) is accelerating the pace of change.

- Digital and mobile adoption is driving rapid change and in five to ten years retail will be much different. By 2020 all retail sales will be influenced by digital technology.

- Retailers require a strong digital core so they can embrace data, simplify business processes, and focus on the customer experience.

- The shift to the digital economy also presents a huge opportunity, embrace it effectively and focus on the customer experience to come out ahead.

- Hiding from change or following the crowd isn’t the answer. Be like a lemur – adaptable, agile, fast-moving, and hyper-aware.

A detailed summary blog can be found here.

2. Customer keynotes:  Lori Mitchell-Keller brought three key retailers to the stage so they could each talk about how they have gone digital to re-imagine business processes, retail processes and shopper engagement to empower the workforce, connect the business and collaborate across the organization.

Loblaw talked about transforming the business to get closer to the customer, while Under Armour focused on collaboration to streamline the business for cost containment.  Kroger saw connection across the enterprise for higher employee engagement through training and development as a key pillar to driving transformation.

3. Special guest: An event highlight was the presentation by the Honest Company hosted by entrepreneur and author Josh Linkner with co-founders Jessica Alba and CEO, Brian Lee. The retailers had the opportunity to hear about the phenomenal growth for The Honest Company and the passion and dedication to building a life-style brand via a digital strategy.

4. SAP Customer presentations and panels - At our 30-plus customer presentations, we had some of the world’s leading retailers such as Also Shoes,  Under Armour, Target, Brookshire's, Luxottica, Williams-Sonoma Inc., Kroger, Crocs Inc.and many more, talk about how they are better engaging today’s connected customers, creating more agile supply chains, innovating through technology, and developing work forces of the future.

5. Store tours - we had offered store tours for several SAP retail customers, including Burberry, Nespresso, ALDO Shoes, and BCBGMaxAzria, to customers, prospects, and featured sponsors of the event. The sessions featured a high-level overview of the store’s SAP landscape, a discussion of the key challenges impacting the company prior to the implementation of SAP solutions, and a tour of the store, which will highlight merchandise mix, display strategies, pricing and promotion strategies, and other topics of this nature. and were able to see our solutions in action and hear from store management and staff how they use SAP and SAP Hybris to serve their customers.

6. The Connected Customer track - my favorite breakout track for the afternoon of day 1:  “ The War for Customers is Over. Customers Won, ” was the main theme.  Presentation highlights from Jackie Huba on how to build loyalty like Lady Gaga with focus on your most loyal 1% , and with Aldo presenting strategies for supporting the customer in the digital age.

7. Focus topic breakouts: Retail Workforce of the Future with Patti Claus from Williams-Sonoma inspiring the audience with a keynote for ‘People First, Engaging Today’s Talent” , Supply Chain Track saw Brian Kilcourse of RSR Research set the stage on the future of commerce and the impact on the supply chain, with engaging and interactive presentations by Harry & David and Under Armour and an engaging discussion on fresh item management.

8. Vertical breakouts:  Fashion track saw a keynote from Vicki Cantrell talking about trends and how ‘Your offline life is married to your online life’ with IoT.  The digital business and the impact on consumer engagement was the main theme for the rest of the day with presentations by Loblaws and Luxottica who inspired the audience with discussion around Art of the Possible. The Hardlines Track saw Target presenting to a engaged audience while Costco presented on membership modernization and ways to re-imagine the customer engagement.  The Grocery Track featured Brookshire's presentation on the need for strategic IT to support digital transformation, followed by Loblaw’s click and collect as a new way to engage customers.

Presentations can be found on our Retail Forum event website.

9. Networking - the Retail Forum has become a family gathering and the number one place to meet retail peers, discuss new ideas and build relationship that last.

10. and not least the location: Eden Roc Resort provided the perfect surroundings for early morning exercise and swim, lots of fresh air during the day as well as all the amenities to help both engage and relax.

We will feature a lot of the content in upcoming blogs and postings. For now you get a good impression from these two videos:  Retail Forum 2015 in pictures and Highlights from SAP Retail Forum 2015 - YouTube

As for a non-SAP view on the event I recommend the write-up from Steve Rowen of RSR Research.

Would you like to hear more? Feel free to get in touch: or follow us at @joergkoesters or @Sap_retail.