The Social Retail Summit #5 is taking place on Wednesday July 24th at the DUMBO Loft in NYC. We have been following the program since it’s inception, and love the learning opportunity founder Peter Verkooijen has built. The fifth summit will cover ‘how to launch direct-to-consumer brands, build brand value and reinvent offline retail.’
We recently interviewed Peter to get a better sense of where and why this all started!
OS: Where did the inspiration come from to start the Social Retail Summit?
PV: I am originally a journalist for various Dutch trade publications, covering the impact of digital technology on different industries including retail. I am aware of broad trends in US retail.
From 2006 until early 2012 I organized a monthly meetup in New York for web and mobile startups – ‘networking for post-internet media, advertising and business’. The classic web business model is hitting a wall.
Since 2010 I have launched three semi-annual summit series that are all about connecting the virtual back to reality; in the case of the Social Retail project putting social media to work for customer relations and sales.
OS: Now in it’s fifth round, what has changed the most?
PV: The events are getting better…
OS: What have been some of the most challenging aspects of organizing the summits? How have you overcome them?
PV: They are bootstrapped events in a bad economy. I am trying to create value for attendees, speakers and sponsors and come up with a business model and pricing levels that will be sustainable longer term.
OS: What has been one of the most rewarding aspects of working on the Social Retail Summit?
PV: The support and encouragement of attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners.
OS: Do companies/startups reach out to you or do you seek them out to get involved?
PV: Both ways. The project should be guided by what the community wants it to be, but I also want to set the agenda.
OS: What topics are you most excited for to be talked about at the coming summit?
PV: My definition of Social Retail was never about just Facebook stores, more like ‘customer relations for omnichannel retail’. Reinventing offline retail has been a topic on previous editions. At #5 it will be front and center.
OS: What revenue models for online shopping do you think are trending and why?
PV: Sales connected to content, again offline as well as online. I think there are several startups targeting this. Commerce will get more distributed and syndicated, following content.
OS: What is your definition of omnichannel and why is it important for retailers and brands to embrace it?
PV: The brand and the relationship with the customer is all that matters. The channel can be anything. Offline is no longer just the classic store either; it can be a pop-up, a party, customers as brand agents, whatever.
OS: How would you define your philosophy on failure?
PV: Try hard to avoid it. Stop doing things that fail, do more of the things that work.
OS: Tell me something about yourself unrelated to work, what do you like to do in your down time?
PV: I don’t have down time.
OS: What are some side projects or initiatives you are working on?
OS: What’s your favorite ice cream (or froyo) flavor? Please include preferred toppings.
PV: Vanilla ice cream, preferably the cheap ‘artificial vanilla flavor’ kind, with real whipped cream (heavy cream + sugar) and dusted with cinnamon or chocolate bits/powder.
OS: Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, or Indie coffee?
PV: Forty Weight, Crop to Cup.
We wish Peter, and the team at The Social Retail Summit a great day of education and collaboration!
REGISTER HERE w/ discount code OpenSourceFashion for $100 off the price of entry!