When my teammates and I gathered in room 6B120 of our Stamford, Connecticut headquarters in November to begin planning this event, it seemed impossible. This event is a first for us, a first for Pitney Bowes and a first for the industry, so a six-month timeline was, in a word, insane. But, bolstered by the clarity of this vision, our passion for Pitney Bowes, and most important, the support of our customers, partners, analysts and influencers, (R)Evolution 2017 was a resounding success.
The retail industry is replete with industry events – high profile fashion and trade shows litter the calendar every year – but the opportunity to connect with each other in a more thoughtful way didn’t exist…until now. After all, we share the same challenges and we learn from each other’s progress and success, so why not come together and, “collectively, raise the bar”?!
Over the last few days we’ve delved deep in to and dissected several facets of the retail industry in the most candid way: Shipping, Payments, Supply Chain, Location Intelligence, Data, Single Customer View, Customer Experience and Risk Management, just to name some. A common theme across all the presentations, panels and discussions was transformation. Innovation and technology is transforming the industry. Customer expectations are transforming the way customer experiences are designed. Forces outside of our control are transforming are personal feelings of security and trust in everyone and everything. And, we’re all seeking to unify commerce – and to do so in a way our customers will engage.
We spoke about Amazon. A. LOT. Revering their success and taking solace in their fumbles, while also recognizing that each of us has to satisfy OUR customers and chasing Amazon or any other “shiny thing” could be ill-fated.
We saw examples of great customer experiences, and regrettable brand fails. I write this as I’m sitting in the lobby of the The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, where the event was held, and a lovely concierge brought me a bottle of water completely unsolicited, but desperately needed. Right thing. Right time. Great customer experience.
We recognized five leaders in innovation with the 2017 Retail (R)Evolution Award: Harrods, Hudson Bay Company, Visible Supply Chain Management and Zumiez. Congratulations again!
So where did we land? Well, I can’t speak for everybody, but I am more aware. I leave the inaugural Pitney Bowes Retail (R)Evolution more aware of all the forces at play and better prepared to foresee and react - better at my job. My colleagues and I were thrilled to hear such positive comments and reviews of the event as well as some critical feedback because, as we discussed this week, listening is what makes us better for our customers.
Thank you to our customers, partners, analysts and guests for your enthusiastic participation in this event and support for Pitney Bowes. Thank you to all who engaged, asked questions, got answers and tweeted. The event may be over, but the Retail (R)Evolution continues. Vive la (R)Evolution.