Overview Featured Sessions Member Exhibitors

March 27 – 29, 2018

McCormick Place, Chicago


10:30-11:30 AM

Three Steps to Scrappy Retail Marketing | Sponsored by SHOP!

In an ever increasingly fast-paced retail world, how do you stay true to your brand, while still hitting unreasonable deadlines and wow-factor expectations? Two of sports/lifestyle headwear and apparel brand ’47’s finest, or only, retail marketing leaders, will take you on a journey through an easy three step process that they have almost mastered to bring ’47 through a complete brand evolution and retail renaissance.

Presenter(s): Gabrielle Dalvet, Senior Manager Retail Marketing, ’47; David Bates, Head of Creative – Marketing, ’47


1.     How to understand your brand story and DNA

2.     How to consistently ideate from this nucleus and design as a result

3.     How to win the hearts and minds of stakeholders

4.     How to scale this process for your business

1:30-2:30 PM

The Main Street Comeback | Sponsored by Shop!

Once eschewed by developers for the suburban mall and strip center outlets, Main Street is receiving a resurgence in interest by both independent and corporate retailers. Discover the design opportunities available to the independent retailer and how this can be scaled and applied to large corporate programs.

Presenter(s): Lauren Chipman, CEO, Chipman Design Architecture


1.     The Independent Retailer and Storytelling

2.     Flexibility in Fixtures and Layouts

3.     Smarter, Smaller Footprint

4.     Seamless Augmented Reality Integration

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Shop! Women’s League Presentation

Our aim is to bring businesswomen together from all aspects of the in-store merchandising and retail environments industry to help them grow as they face new challenges concurrent with the changes in their jobs or in the business world.

Topic and Speaker(s) TBD


10:30-11:30 AM

Home Décor’s Fast Fashion | Sponsored by SHOP!

With today’s technologically immersed consumer, shoppers have access to instant inspiration from every device across all of their social platforms. This easy access to the latest styles and trends has completely transformed the home décor industry and forced retailers to quickly change with the tides. At Home’s Chief Merchandising Officer Alissa Ahlman will speak to how she has changed with it and brought “fast fashion” into the home décor space in order to stay in-step and ahead of ever-changing consumer demands. Dive into this engaging and informative discussion on how she keeps their merchandise relevant and revered, how the lifecycle of furniture has dramatically changed over the last two years and how she anticipates the ways in which each new trend will seamlessly evolve into the next. Experts on inspiration, Ahlman and her team take trips to 15 to 20 countries each year, from the flea markets of Paris to the Christmasworld show in Frankfurt to the streets of Indonesia. Registrants will come away from this session inspired and of course, on-trend.

Presenter(s): Alissa Ahlman, Chief Merchandising Officer, At Home Group Inc.


1. Share insider knowledge on how retailers can shift their merchandising strategy during large industry-wide shifts.

2. Inform attendees on how retailers shape their strategy based on the changing needs of their customers in order to increase share-of-wallet.

3. Share actionable information with attendees on how and where to look for upcoming trends to keep merchandise relevant.

4. Share insight with attendees on how to translate upcoming trends into everyday consumer-friendly merchandise.

1:30-2:30 PM

Title: Retail Revival: Improve the Flatline with Smart Design | Sponsored by SHOP!

How a successful toy retailer designs a new store environment with each store to keep customers coming back for more; and how that same retailer successfully took its parent company’s online venues into brick and mortar.

Presenter(s): Roberta Bonoff, President/CEO, Creative Kidstuff; Bruce “Albi” Albinson, Principal, Alliiance


1. Make each store unique

2. Continue to offer new in-store experiences

3. Build loyalty through changeability

4. Successfully bring several on-line venues into brick and mortar environments


9:00-10:00 AM

A Storied Past: Creating Contemporary Retail Spaces in Historic Districts | Sponsored by SHOP!

How does one open up a new location for a contemporary brand in a historic district? How can one update dilapidated structures to today’s standards, merging old aesthetics with modern expectations? And, perhaps most importantly, how does one make sure this location stays within neighborhood guidelines without losing recognizable branding signage and signifiers? Without community involvement, the process may be painstaking. However, if you collaborate with, rather than fight, historic commissions, a compromise can be reached that satisfies all parties, reinvigorating the site and reinforcing brand presence. John Schmid, the restaurant and retail Studio Director, and Celso Rivera, a project manager, at award-winning architecture firm MBH Architects, will discuss their recent work on the Peet’s Coffee & Tea, an established national brand with more than 50 years of its own history in Washington D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. Using this case study as a jumping off point, attendees will learn about how to work with historical and community groups to reach thoughtful compromises on retail design that actually strengthen brand voice, marrying contemporary design with storied pasts.

Presenter(s): John Schmid, Senior Associate | Studio Director (Restaurant and Retail Design Studio), MBH Architects; Celso Rivera, Project Manager, MBH Architects 


1. Provide insights into working with historical and community commissions, addressing their concerns and involving them in the project.

2. Teach attendees how to maximize use of different brand signifiers to maintain brand presence and voice in historic districts.

3. Identify tips for working with old and deteriorating structures so they are reinvigorated for the community.

4. Discuss how to create sleek, modern spaces that match, and surpass, the look and expectation of the community they serve.

10:30-11:30 AM

The “New New” Retail Vertical Integration | Sponsored by SHOP!

Vertical integration has long been a business term we have used to describe creating efficiencies along a production path. New innovations in retail models are creating a new type of vertical integration. As a reaction to solely e-commerce retailers that cannot bring personalized customer experience to everyone, we are seeing brands use physical locations to create a competitive advantage. Brands, marketing plans, programming, merchandising, distrib…well, almost everything, is becoming vertically integrated into a specific location to create a highly efficient new tactic to anchor the brands firmly in a customer base. In this discussion, Jeremy Bergstein will discuss several examples of how brands and retailers are using stores and physical locations to create separation and competitive advantage. He will review not only the creative storytelling and marketing that engages the local shopper, but the operational and digital infrastructure and tools needed to support this new retail model.

Presenter(s): Jeremy Bergstein, President/CEO, The Science Project


1.     Provide a picture of the New Retail Landscape

2.     Reinforce modern models that leverage physical spaces

3.     Provide specific examples of innovative technology applications

4.     Discuss the new Digital/Physical Infrastructure for Retail