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IRDC 2021 Kicks Off with Keys to Surviving “Digital Darwinism”

“We adapt and keep up, or we become obsolete,” warns keynote speaker Brian Solis




Digital anthropologist Brian Solis was the keynote speaker for the 21st annual International Retail Design Conference, held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

DENVER — The 21st annual International Retail Design Conference presented by VMSD magazine kicked off on Tuesday, playing host to a throng of visual merchandisers, store designers and retail executives at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

Centered around the theme “Rethink Retail,” the conference opened with keynote speaker and digital anthropologist Brian Solis, who shared how the emerging customer experience economy is transforming retail design. Among his insights were keys to surviving what he called “digital Darwinism.”

“With every tech revolution, society changes, business changes, life changes,” explained Solis. “We adapt and keep up, or we become obsolete.”

As a solution, he encouraged attendees to swim with the current of digital transformation and offer new experiences that speak to new consumer needs and behaviors.

He also shared some vital statistics, including how 84 percent of consumers say the shopping experience is as important as the product itself. “Look for places where friction exists, and use tech to take that friction away,” he advised.

There were breakout sessions throughout Day 1, with topics ranging from Walmart’s transformation into a mobile-first shopping destination to retailers’ strategies for meeting consumer demand amid the pandemic.


The action continues on Wednesday when Toni Roeller, SVP of In-Store Environment at Dick’s Sporting Goods (Coraopolis, PA), will sit for an off-the-cuff conversation with VMSD Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher and IRDC Conference Chair Jennifer Acevedo on how experiential design is driving the future of physical retail.

Drawing on more than 120 years of history serving the retail design market, VMSD magazine provides retail professionals with the most up-to-date, innovative retail design ideas and industry news through its industry-leading magazine, website, social media channels and bulletins.



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