Walking up to Moonlight Studios on the morning of March 24 and seeing the 8-foot tall ShopAble signs in the window, I had to stop and pinch myself…this was actually happening!
When planning began back in October 2021 for ShopAble we had no idea whether our vision to create a pop-up shop-inspired conference would ever really come to fruition. Would people want to travel to New York when they were so used to attending conferences in their pajamas? Would another Covid variant hit the city and scupper our plans?
But here we were, 18 weeks exactly from the day we started planning the event, waiting to see if the 200 guests who had signed up to attend would actually come out and brave the NYC drizzle.
Taking a step back: why ShopAble?
Prior to ShopAble, Skai’s last in-person event took place at CES in 2020, where we officially launched our partnership with Walmart Connect.
Since then, the digital landscape has changed dramatically. Ecommerce penetration is still 35% above the pre-pandemic baseline, retail media has exploded and Skai has announced partnerships with many more new retail media networks since then—an industry that is estimated to grow from $30 billion in 2021 to $100 billion in the next 2 years.
But it’s not just retail media that has exploded over the last two years. Other shoppable ad formats have too, from publishers such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Tik Tok. In fact, Skai’s data shows an 18% increase in spend year-on-year in search shopping campaigns and a 24% increase in dynamic product ads on social.
The brands and agencies we work with and speak to are grappling with how they manage the complexities of this ever-changing landscape and what they need to do to win every shoppable moment. Luckily, Skai is designed to help!
The rain didn’t put a damper on the day
As it turned out, we didn’t have to worry about the rain putting people off attending. Never in 15 years of running events have I experienced such a high turnout or felt an atmosphere quite as electric.
People were excited to finally meet again, or for the first time—and even more excited to get their hands on all of the free swag in the ShopAble pop-up shop (big thanks to Amazon, Criteo, GoPuff, Shipt and Walmart Connect for making sure the shelves were stocked up with great giveaways)!
“You couldn’t have picked topics that align more to my challenges right now if you had tried”
As with any event we run, we wanted the content to be educational, informative and aligned to topics we know are keeping our audience up at night.
Session 1: Retail Media – Let the Games Begin
Kicking off the day was Skai’s very own Nich Weinheimer who, alongside industry experts, Rick Watson, Elizabeth Marsten and Andreas Reiffen, gave the audience a sneak-peek into Skai’s State of Retail Media Study 2022. Discussing hot topics such as budget allocations, measuring success, ad formats and prioritization the session set the scene for topics we would get much deeper into throughout the day.
Session 2: Data is Power – The Inputs Relevant for Commerce Success
Next up was Megan Harbold, Skai’s VP of Product Marketing & Communications who, having introduced her own take on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with the Hierarchy of Data Needs, facilitated a fruitful conversation with Samantha Bukowski of GroupM and Morgan Chemij of HP about how brands are utilizing data in unexpected ways for an ecommerce edge.
Session 3: Omnichannel Shopper-Centric Marketing Unwrapped
After lunch we heard from Jim Wasenius, VP Client Success Retail Media at Skai, Katia Colston of Central Garden & Pet and Rory Foster of P&G who began to unpack what omnichannel (or shopper-centric marketing as they all agreed was the better phrase!) means for their organization and brands. With Rory taking the D2C perspective, and Katia focusing much more on marketplaces, it led for a fascinating conversation.
Session 4: Today Retail Media. Tomorrow Connected Commerce.
It was the session everyone had been waiting for! Gil Sadeh, GM Commerce; Noa Reikhav, VP Product Commerce; and Mel Barringer, Expert Services Commerce, had the privilege of sharing Skai’s roadmap and vision for Intelligence Commerce (amongst many other exciting updates), creating even more buzz about what is soon to come!
Session 5: To Insource or To Outsource?
Closing off the day we held our very own presidential-style debate with Hannah Blackbourn, MD Commerce moderating a brand v.s agency discussion with Paul Gelb of Bayer and Zach Weinberg from Reprise. Unlike the Oscars, it remained very amicable but both speakers shared some interesting perspectives on their side of the argument.
And the winner is…
After what felt like weeks since announcing the shortlist, the winners of our 2022 ShopAble Media Awards were finally revealed. These annual awards honor brands and agencies for their use of Skai solutions in executing high-performing campaigns and delivering exceptional business results.
- Amazon Ads Excellence: Stella Rising & Bondi Sands
- Retail Media Excellence: Vishvos & Happy Egg
- Connected Commerce Excellence: Camelot & Michaels
- Data Intelligence Excellence: Rakuten Advertising & Backcountry
- Innovation Excellence: MediaCom and Adidas
- Global Excellence: Kaspersky
All over for another year
As we closed the day out with cocktails and hor d’oeuvres, nobody was in a rush to leave. Celebrations with friends, old and new, went on into the night and I only knew it was time to leave when someone said the words every event planner dreads to hear after a big show: “Will there be a ShopAble 2023?!”
Want to see Skai’s Retail Media solution for yourself?
As part of Skai’s intelligent marketing platform, our Retail Media solution empowers brands to plan, execute, and measure digital campaigns that meet consumers when and where they shop. Built with best-in-class automation and optimization capabilities, our unified platform allows you to manage campaigns on 30+ retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Instacart all in one place.