Tomorrow’s Shopping Trends at SXSW 2018

The Forrest Four-Cast: November 24, 2017

In recognition of Black Friday, let’s take a quick peak at eight of the most intriguing panels and presentations focused on retail for SXSW 2018.

Fashion Retail and Social Justice in a Red State. Modern fashion retail mirrors the modern world, with consumers more conscientious than ever and the call for social justice as a daily imperative. Hello Holiday cofounders Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik and Megan Hunt built their business on the bet that, even in a red state, the risk of being politically controversial could be worth the reward. Entrepreneurship can, and does, intersect with activism and politics. Today, the professional is political. Here’s how to do it right. Scheduled for Friday, March 9.

Future of Physical Retail in a Post-Digital World. 8,300 physical stores are slated to close in the United States in 2017 alone. Why are conventional stores losing their value to consumers and what will the physical store of the future look like? Shopping in the physical space is moving from necessity to choice, so retailers must view their stores as a brand extension. The session will reveal that physical stores are evolving from being primarily a channel for distribution of products to becoming a channel for the distribution of experiences. Scheduled for Sunday, March 11.

The Future of the Shopping Center. A shift from product-oriented stores geared towards transactions to high-touch service and experiential centers focused on building brand equity and relationships is underway. This session will explore trends at the intersection of experiential retail, community, and urbanization to help attendees create a roadmap for the future of shopping centers and stores. Scheduled for Sunday, March 11.

Immersive Tech: GenZ’s Beauty Counter & Mall. Beauty marketers have a massive opportunity to engage the next generation of tech-inclined consumers through AR, VR and AI. So how can beauty and fashion brands step away from their marketing comfort zone, and enter the world of immersive technology to drive next gen brand loyalty and sales? Scheduled for Tuesday, March 13.

Influencers are the Next Generation of Retailers. Influencers have gained immense traction in the Digital Age, but the role isn’t a novel concept. Pioneered decades ago by Tupperware parties and Avon’s door-to-door model, these early influencers set the stage for social-media celebrities and influencers in the modern age. But what will the next wave of influencers look like and what will be their impact on shoppers? Speakers for this panel include Poshmark co-founder Tracy Sun (pictured above). Scheduled for Sunday, March 11.

Innovate or Perish: How Tech Will Shape Fashion. Many fashion brands and retailers today are struggling to understand the shifting technological landscape and changing consumer behaviors. Everyone is trying to create stores of the future and debating if AI will indeed drive the future of retail. How will VR and AR change the way we shop? Is personalization really what millennials expect and demand from brands? Scheduled for Sunday, March 11

Reinventing the Retail Space to STRIIIKE a Chord. While many focus on growing community online, retailers have untapped opportunity with the in-person experience to drive greater engagement and loyalty. Celebrity beauty artists the Streicher Sisters discuss how they’ve built their studio STRIIIKE into a hub of influence — offering not just traditional salon services, but championing new brands and makers, educating on everything from activism to wine, and connecting like-minded people — resulting in wins for their community AND the bottom line. Scheduled for Saturday, March 10.

The Reinvention of Stores: Innovate to Survive. With Amazon a real threat in nearly every area of retail, it’s time to think more radically about retail footprints. Business as usual just won’t cut it. The key is to answer one very difficult question: what can stores offer that online can’t match? We’ll take a tour through unexpected concepts and sources of inspiration (amusement parks, interactive exhibits, even personal robots) and discuss what might make them viable customer-first strategies that every retailer should consider. Scheduled for Saturday, March 10.

Not interested in shopping? Then use the search button at the top right corner of the SXSW schedule to find what you want for March Magic in Austin.

All schedule dates listed above subject to change.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.

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