Revolutionary Speakers On The Future Of Retail


We see it on the news every day: What is the future of retail? The stock market tells us that consumers no longer like shopping in stores, online sales are sky rocketing, and the department store as we know it will be a thing of the past. And yet, despite all this, we see the most innovative companies at the forefront of disruption doing just that, opening up brick and mortars. Why?

Why are Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and Google, all looking to expand their foot print with physical headquarters and retail stores? It seems so industrial and counter intuitive to the technological revolution we find ourselves in. Shouldn’t they be focusing their energy around the digital space? The answer is simple, these companies are investing in both. As to why?

For answers to this question and much more, let these revolutionary technologists, futurists, disruptors, business leaders and visionaries, and innovation experts shed some light on the future of retail, what it means for your industry, and how you can leverage it to achieve success.

17 Renowned Expert Speakers On The Future Of Retail

  1. Ken Schmidt, Former Director Of Communications At Harley Davidson
  2. Jim Donald, CEO Of Albertson's & Former CEO Of Starbucks, Haggen Food & Pharmacy, & Extended Stay Hotels
  3. Doug Rauch, Former President Of Trader Joe's
  4. Gregory Wasson, Former President & CEO Of Walgreens
  5. Dustin Garis, Chief Troublemaker At Proctor & Gamble & Brand Innovation Leader
  6. Alex Hunter, Former Head Of Online Marketing For Virgin
  7. Daniel Burrus, Fortune 500 Consultant & Trends Forecaster
  8. Kaihan Krippendorf, Business Strategist Specializing In Outthinking The Competition
  9. Johnny Cupcakes, Founder & CEO Of Johnny Cupcakes
  10. Neil Jacobstein, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Expert
  11. Paco Underhill, Founding President Of Envirosell & Expert On Global Consumer Trends
  12. Mitch Joel, Technology and Innovation Expert & Best-Selling Author
  13. Christopher Gavigan, Founder & Chief Purpose Officer Of The Honest Company
  14. Daymond John, Founder Of FUBU & Star Of ABC's Shark Tank
  15. Pauline Brown, Former Chairman Of North America For LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
  16. Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO Of Flywheel Sports, & Former President Of Nike, Gatorade, & Equinox Fitness
  17. Kate Ancketill, Innovation Expert and Founder & CEO Of GDR Creative Intelligence

Keep reading to learn more about each of these innovative and disruptive technology experts and click the links below to view each of their individual speaker profile pages and find out more about their speaking topics and expertise and to see watch video footage from their recent keynote talks.

Meet Our Male Retail Experts



Legendary Former Director Of Communications Strategy At Harley-Davidson Motor Company

As a major player in one of the world’s most celebrated corporate turnarounds, Ken Schmidt helped transform Harley-Davidson from a laggard in a me-too market into one of the world’s most beloved and dominant competitors. In this fast-paced presentation, he explains how today's retail environment has become price-centric, with companies struggling to fight back against commoditization and the rule of Amazon. Schmidt argues that instead of focusing inward to improve efficiencies, brands should be focusing outward to improve their competitiveness by creating a memorably different brand experience that creates fierce loyalty, even if your prices are higher. The author of the new book, Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road to Dominance, Ken is widely known as one of the business world’s most outspoken and provocative thought leaders and has partnered with many of the world’s most successful brands. Learn more about Ken here.


CEO Of Albertson's & Former CEO Of Starbucks, Haggen Food & Pharmacy, & Extended Stay Hotels

A seasoned executive with a distinguished career in retail, Jim Donald was named one of the "Top 25 CEOs in the World" by The Best Practice Institute. Having earned a reputation for turning around financially ailing companies early in his career, Donald knows about the potential retail pitfalls companies find themselves dodging as well as what struggling companies must to to rebuild in an era of unprecedented competitiveness and technological change. In a presentation that can be tailored to fit specific industry needs, Donald shares his battle-tested insights on innovation, quality, service, how to build strong relationships within the community, and why risk-taking, with the freedom to fail, is an essential ingredient of success. Also, having managed Starbucks' rapid global expansion from 2005 to 2008, he is a fantastic option for groups dealing with issues around growth and change, as well as those seeking to balance smart financial decisions with those that are also good for company culture. Learn more about Jim here.


Former President Of Trader Joe's

Doug Rauch spent 31 years with Trader Joe’s Company, the last 14 years as a president, growing the business from a small, nine-store chain in Southern California to a nationally-acclaimed retail success story with more than 340 stores in 30 states. How did Trader Joe’s, a company that started as a 7/11 knockoff, become the hottest retailer in America? The answer lies in its innovation. In multimedia presentations filled with great stories and eye-opening case studies, he shares how to create a self-sustaining culture of innovation, build a brand in a competitive marketplace, and lead with a purpose. Rauch helps groups steel their brand and vision against the changing consumer marketplace, and discusses how values-based leadership, stakeholder integration, and conscious culture work together to build a stronger business that can withstand the impact of "trends" and "fads." Learn more about Doug here.


Former President & CEO Of Walgreens

Greg Wasson is the former president and CEO of Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in the US. He took the reigns during a historic economic downturn and while our country’s healthcare system was in the midst of large-scale reforms. He transformed an iconic company and helped change an entire industry for generations to come, ensuring that Walgreens would play a much larger role in the delivery of healthcare in the United States. From developing brand mantras, cultural beliefs, and store designs to deciding on the right partners for international acquisitions and expansion, Wasson shares what he learned leading Walgreens and studying the most unique and innovative retail concepts in the world. Plus, he looks at how brands ought to shift when strategy needs to be modernized to remain competitive. Learn more about Greg here.


Chief Troublemaker At Proctor & Gamble & Brand Innovation Leader 

Want a ton of energy and a young, fresh perspective of what’s happening in retail? Look no further. Dustin Garis is a disruptor at his core and comes from one of the most established retail brands in the world, Proctor & Gamble. Garis was a leader of global innovation & marketing for P&G FutureWorks—an innovation epicenter responsible for accelerating discontinuous growth by incubating, launching, and scaling a billion-dollar portfolio of breakthrough ventures worldwide. This includes P&G’s momentous shift into services with the Mr. Clean Car Wash and Tide Dry Cleaners. Garis brings the same no-holds-barred approach to his keynotes that helped him blaze trails in the world’s largest companies and entrepreneurial startups. His deep insights and charismatic persona keep audiences captivated while helping organizations embark on the next frontier of innovation—whether he’s break-dancing on stage or blowing wide open the rise of the “experience economy” with anecdotes and visuals. Learn more about Dustin here. 


Former Head Of Online Marketing For Virgin

As a branding and customer experience expert, Alex Hunter understands that it’s not just about your product, your locations, or your digital vs. physical footprint, it’s about the experience the consumer has when interacting with a brand. That is what will keep them loyal. In a world of endless choices, customizations, and competition, you have to create an experience for your customer that keeps them coming back for more. Learn more about Alex here.


Fortune 500 Consultant & Trends Forecaster 

As the founder of six successful business, Daniel Burrus knows how to overcome disruption and create “omnichannel” marketing to cut through the noise. What do Apple, Warby Parker, Amazon, and a host of other e-commerce brands that are opening retail brick-and-mortar stores know that most retailers don’t know? The good old days of retail are ahead of us. By learning to separate the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends that might happen, you can accurately anticipate technology-driven disruptions before they disrupt, problems before they happen so that you can pre-solve them, customers’ needs before they express them, and game-changing opportunities before the competition. Learn more about Daniel here. 


Business Strategist Specializing In Outthinking The Competition

Kaihan Krippendorf is a former McKinsey consultant who has trained over 6,000 executives and worked with Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, and Citibank on how to “outthink” the competition. He designs tactics and develops new and creative approaches to solving old problems. Kaihan works at the cutting edge of the disruption, helping many of the world's leading retail and apparel brands navigate a future being shaped by radically shorter times to market, artificial intelligence (AI), personalization, and broad shifts in consumer behavior. Drawing from the latest industry developments moves from Amazon to QVC and stories of yet-under-appreciated new attackers, Kaihan uses first-hand experiences and actionable insights in his keynote talks to present a compelling vision of the future world of retail and leaves the audience with tools and an approach to develop a strategy to succeed in the 21st century. Learn more about Kaihan here.


Founder & CEO Of Johnny Cupcakes

Johnny Cupcakes is the founder of the world-renowned tee-shirt brand Johnny Cupcakes. Known for helping other people create blueprints for building brand loyalty, creating memorable experiences, and inspiring innovation, Johnny was named America’s #1 Young Entrepreneur by Business Week, Top Innovator in Retail by The Boston Globe, and featured in INC magazine as the CEO of one of the world’s fastest growing independent businesses. Despite being in one of the most difficult product categories to stand-out in, and a founder of a brand when he was just 19 years old, Johnny’s solution to his business challenges was to create such a unique brand experience that his customers would loyally line-up around the block, time and time again, just to be able to sport his logo on their clothing. His plans worked. Now, he shares his road map to standing out in the new retail marketplace, drawing on disruptive marketing and cut through messaging. Learn more about Johnny here


Artificial Intelligence (AI) Expert

If you want to know what the world will look like in 50 years, look no further than Neil Jacobstein. He is brilliant and can talk about the future of everything. As the Chair of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track at Singularity University, Neil can discuss what the future of retail, shopping, brick and mortars, and even what cities will look like in the future. We are now awash in retail camera images, web sensors, and consumer data. Pattern recognition is now so advanced that we can begin to see where people are looking inside stores, read their micro expressions, and predict their buying behavior. What does all this mean for the retail and consumer packaged goods industries? How can retail companies use these advances to deliver better product placement, packaging, advertising, and more? Jacobstein dives into the practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in retail. He covers new opportunities, from the powerful and time tested, to the technically and socially edgy. He addresses both the critical importance of using advanced AI techniques in retail, and what businesses can do to deal with consumer misconceptions and legitimate concerns about privacy and security. Learn more about Neil here.


Founding President Of Envirosell & Expert On Global Consumer Trends

Paco Underhill, one of the world's leading behavioral scientists, is the founding president of Envirosell, an organization which helps clients design better experiences that ultimately drive bottom line value and growth. Underhill, who is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, Why We Buy, The Science of Shopping, works with a wide range of companies and industries across the nation and around the world to design spaces that better advance their strategic objectives. He is involved in the design of airports, train stations, hotels, shopping centers, cities, and online shopping experiences. With insightful anecdotes, he breaks down buying behavior and consumerism in the modern era and provides unique insights to help his audience better understand their customers and incorporate design that drives growth and financial ROI.  Learn more about Paco here. 


Technology and Innovation Expert & Best-Selling Author

When brands like Google, Starbucks, Shopify, and GE want to use technology to better connect with their consumers, they call Mitch Joel. Is your business trying to figure out how to better connect with consumers by leveraging technology to make more human and substantive connections? What does this mean? Every industry and business is dealing with disruption in different ways. Every business is trying to figure out how to best innovate and transform in these times. Transformation seems like a gigantic undertaking. This is where Mitch Joel fits in, fills in the gaps and helps to build your business today for tomorrow. Learn more about Mitch here.


Founder & Chief Purpose Officer Of The Honest Company

Christopher Gavigan is a best-selling author and the founder and Chief Purpose Officer of iconic lifestyle brand, The Honest Company. With actress Jessica Alba, he founded the company to empower and educate the next generation of consumers to challenge the marketplace to think about the people they serve. This idea and his passion for it have been integral in growing the Honest Company from concept to a $1.7 billion organization—experiencing what Forbes called “an absurd level of growth.” Gavigan describes how to humanize a brand and give it personality in order to create an emotional tie with consumers, and shares how developing a mutual respect between the organization and its market (through transparency, emotion, and purpose) is the most important factor driving the bottom line. He also offers up insights for dealing with risk and maintaining an organization’s personal touch while it experiences growth. Learn more about Christopher here.


Founder Of FUBU & Star Of ABC's Shark Tank

Over the last 20 years, Daymond John (also known as "The Shark") has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to a highly sought after branding expert, author, consultant, and as a keynote speaker in business and motivational genres. As a shark on ABC's popular show, Shark Tank,  John scouts up-and-coming brands and businesses and knows what's around the corner. Here, he shares his thoughts on building a successful brand to rise above the competition, what the marketplace of the future will require of new and existing brands, and how to use marketing and branding strategies to optimize your brand for the future. Learn more about Daymond here.

Meet Our Female Retail Experts



Former Chairman Of North America For LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Talk about someone who knows how to sell retail. How do you convince mass amounts of people to pay exorbitant prices for items they don’t need? Shows, handbags, wine and spirits, jewelry, and the list goes on. How? The experience. Just like Alex Hunter at Virgin, Pauline Brown knows a thing or two about making the retail buying process a truly decadent affair. After the financial crisis, the luxury goods industry suffered. As the former managing director at The Carlyle Group, Pauline knew how to turn it around. She now shows companies how to place customer delight at the center of all business strategies. Learn more about Pauline here.


CEO Of Flywheel Sports, & Former President Of Nike, Gatorade, & Equinox Fitness

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Sarah Robb O’Hagan knows firsthand what it’s like to fail. In her twenties, she rose up the ranks at Virgin lightning fast. Thinking she knew everything, as most 20-somethings do, she made a few major mistakes and found herself fired and out of a job. Learning from her mistakes, she created unique marketing campaigns for Nike & Gatorade, eventually becoming President of both. Sarah knows the delicate balance between brand reputation, product quality, and consumer interaction. She started in this industry before online shopping existed, and has been able to adapt regardless of the product she represents. Learn more about Sarah here.


Innovation Expert and Founder & CEO Of GDR Creative Intelligence

Kate Ancketill is the brains and driving force behind GDR Creative Intelligence, a globally-recognised consultancy focused on innovation and emerging trends in retail, leisure, and hospitality around the world. She has worked with an impressive roster of major global brands, including Microsoft, P&G, InterContinental Hotels, Hilton, LVMH, McDonald’s, Capital One, Macy’s, Chanel, Estee Lauder, and Sephora. In eye-opening, informative, and inspirational multi-media presentations, Ancketill shares insights on the technological, human, and spatial innovations that will change the face of retail and hospitality over the next two to five years. She uses carefully selected case studies to illustrate how new technologies and consumer behaviours will impact physical and digital commerce globally; case studies discovered by GDR’s expert research team, or drawn from her global network—honed over 22 years—of leading engineers, programmers, designers, architects, marketers, scientists, academics, and other specialist practitioners. Learn more about Kate here. 


Want to see more? Click here to see our complete list of the keynote speakers that we represent who address the impact of emerging technologies on the retail industry and the future of retail.

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