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Key takeaways from Retail Innovation Conference and Expo 

Some key insights from the Retail Innovation Conference and Expo.
People attending the Retail Innovation Conference and Expo.

The Retail Innovation Conference and Expo (RICE), held in Chicago, IL, is a premier event showcasing emerging trends and innovative insights from business leaders and all-stars in the ecommerce, social media, and martech space. Our team from Dotdigital in the US attended the event and made note of the important takeaways so that we can keep you up-to-date on the latest retail developments.

Key takeaways from the Retail Innovation Conference and Expo

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from sessions at #RICE23: 

1. Leverage generative artificial intelligence (AI)

One of the most intriguing and innovative concepts presented at this year’s #RICE23 was the potential and utilization of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in the retail industry. As retailers aim to deliver more personalized, efficient, and engaging customer experiences, the introduction of generative AI proves to be a game-changer in meeting these expectations.

A prime example of generative AI in action is WinstonAI. WinstonAI draws on Microsoft Azure’s generative AI technology (GPT-3.5) to offer suggestions and inspiration on how to take your campaign content to the next level. Built directly into the Dotdigital platform, WinstonAI can now easily provide you with hints, tips, and advice on how to improve your email marketing and customer experiences. 

If you want generative AI tools like WinstonAI to meet your expectations, it’s crucial to dedicate time and resources to train them. By refining these AI models with suitable data and feedback, you can unlock your full potential to develop more powerful marketing campaigns.

2. Deliver personalized customer experiences

In the era of fierce competition, driving customer loyalty and retention goes beyond offering high-quality products or services. To create meaningful connections, brands must prioritize personalization and create positive customer experiences tailored to individual preferences. By cultivating a loyal and dedicated customer base, businesses set themselves apart from the competition.

Harnessing the power of customer data is crucial to this strategy. Data guides brands in crafting unforgettable customer experiences tailored to their target audience. By gaining insights into customers’ preferences and needs, businesses can develop innovative products, launch strategies, marketing campaigns (both offline and online), custom packaging, superb in-store experiences, and user-friendly website designs that elevate their brand from the rest.

The solution lies in adopting a human-to-human (H2H) marketing approach. This paradigm shift emphasizes treating customers as humans with emotions and stories rather than mere data points. By humanizing your marketing strategy, your brand will stand out from the competition and foster stronger relationships with your target audience. This deeper connection ultimately influences their decision to choose your brand over others.

3. Embrace creativity

If you want to stand out and attract the attention of the tech-savvy Gen Z audience, creativity is key. This generation appreciates new and unique ideas, and they are more likely to try out brands that break away from the norm. Don’t hesitate to be innovative with your products, marketing strategies, or brand stories to set yourself apart from the competition. Additionally, make sure to communicate with this generation on their preferred channels and engage in meaningful conversations.

Liquid Death is a brand that has effectively used creative marketing to establish its own unique identity. While they sell canned water, their success comes from their entertainment and content-driven approach. Their marketing strategies aim to create an exciting and unconventional image that stands out among competitors and captures the attention of customers.

4. Build a community

Cultivating a sense of community within your brand is pivotal to forging lasting, personal connections with your customers. This intimate relationship fosters a sense of belonging, support, and empowerment, transforming casual customers into passionate, engaged champions who actively use your products and services.

The power of a strong brand community offers: 

  • Enhanced virality: When customers feel connected to your brand, they are more inclined to share content and products within their networks. This organic sharing significantly expands your reach and fuels viral growth.
  • Natural brand advocates: Members who are deeply engaged with your brand community will readily share their positive experiences, recommendations, and testimonials with their circles, establishing trust and credibility among potential customers.

5. Maintain your digital presence

It’s important to keep your digital presence up-to-date to create a positive perception of your brand. Your ecommerce site and martech stack should evolve with changing consumer expectations, as customers often form their first impression of your products and services through your digital presence.

If your website is outdated, it may harm your brand’s reputation and give potential customers the impression that you are not up-to-date with current trends. This could affect their decision-making process and lead to losing customers. Therefore, it’s important to update your website regularly.

To maintain your digital presence, you can: 

  • Update your technology stack: As technology evolves, so do the expectations of tech-savvy consumers. Invest in tools and integrations to deliver a seamless user experience that meets consumer demands.
  • Refresh your design: A visually appealing, modern design can significantly influence a brand’s image. Regularly update your website or email design elements, layout, and color scheme to reflect the latest design trends and maintain a fresh, contemporary appearance.
  • Monitor your competition: Keep an eye on your competitors’ websites and take note of any updates or changes they make. This can help you stay informed of the latest industry trends and anticipate consumer expectations.


During #RICE23, experts in ecommerce, social media, and martech discussed valuable insights. In today’s rapidly evolving retail industry, it’s essential for brands to keep up with industry trends and consumer preferences to succeed. Thankfully, we were right there, soaking it all in for you, so you don’t miss a beat in keeping your business on top of its game! 

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