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    RILA, RetailConnections Bow Retail Mobile Executive Summit

    The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and RetailConnections held their first-ever joint executive summit on retail and the mobile revolution July 19 through July 19 in San Francisco.

    The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and RetailConnections held their first-ever joint executive summit on retail and the mobile revolution July 19 through July 19 in San Francisco.

    The event featured more than 100 senior executives from retailers, consumer brands and service providers, who shared their insights and personal case studies regarding how the growing use of mobile devices provides key opportunities for engaging customers, expanding loyalty and, ultimately, driving sales.

    “Retailers and brands are innovating big time,” said Marc Millstein, president of RetailConnections. “They are unafraid of the occasional misstep, because the rewards are too big to ignore.”

    John Thompson, SVP and general manager for BestBuy.com kicked off the two-day event with a keynote speech on how South Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy is using multichannel tools to help the company connect to its customers. Local store micro sites and specific store inventory information, for example, has helped Best Buy connect more closely with its customers by linking them more closely to their local stores. This, along with other methods of what Thompson referred to as “radical transparency,” has helped Best Buy provide customers with a place to experience the latest and greatest consumer electronics solutions.

    “Best Buy has been an innovative leader in this space and has done some creative things with the use of mobile,” said Casey Chroust, EVP of retail operations at Arlington, Va.-based RILA. “John shared many valuable examples of how they are using new avenues to reach consumers and how mobile technology has forever changed the way retailers will interact with their customers.”

    Julie Bornstein, SVP, direct for Sephora, spoke about the San Francisco-based company’s journey in mobile, from tapping its community for product ratings and reviews, to a more extensive mobile site to be launched later this month. Based on insights from loyalty program members and Facebook fans, Sephora’s mobile presence has evolved just as consumers’ use of their phones has, integrating all channels into one presence.

    A panel discussion followed that focused on opportunities around the evolving bar code, such as engaging shoppers with promotions, special offers and products through 2D bar codes, as a way to connect with consumers when they’re already in a receptive mood.

    Andrew Koven, president of ecommerce and customer experience for Long Island City, N.Y.-based Steve Madden, provided attendees with a comprehensive road map of what’s required to get an organization ready to go mobile.

    RetailConnections creates and hosts innovative peer-to-peer events to bring together retailing companies and senior management executives.

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