World Retail Congress 2024: AI, Sustainability, and Disruption in Fashion


Bret Schnitker, Emily Lane


April 30, 2024


Bret Schnitker  00:04

In the EU by 2025. They've got some pretty heavy mandates in terms of our business in terms of eco friendly and sustainability. Part of that is a carbon neutral rating that will indicate how much carbon is being used by a particular product.

Emily Lane  00:35

Welcome to Clothing Coulture, a fashion industry podcast at the intersection of technology and innovation. I'm Emily lane.

Bret Schnitker  00:43

And I'm Bret Schnitker. We speak with experts and disruptors who are moving the industry forward and discuss solutions to real industry challenges.

Emily Lane  00:51

Clothing Coulture is produced by Stars Design Group, a global design and production house with more than 30 years of experience.

Emily Lane  01:01

Welcome back to another episode of Clothing Coulture. You're joining us once again, at our countertop for I guess you could call it a little counterculture today. These are our conversations where we're highlighting very topical moments in our industry. And we just got back from the world retail Congress 2024. It was an amazing experience with lots of hot topics, within the conversations among the attendees. And of course, those that were on stage keynote speakers. So we thought today, we would do a quick turn on this episode so that we could share the highlights and key takeaways from our experience in Paris attending the World Retail Congress, it was a marvelous event, wasn't it Bret?

Bret Schnitker  01:48

Yeah, well, as I think, you know, a lot of inspiring conversation about innovation, talking very openly about challenges between, you know, some of the largest retailers in the world, it was interesting how there was a lot of common, you know, focuses and challenges opportunities. Within all of that, baked within that, you know, sustainability was a really huge key. It was like, and we'll talk about that later. But that seems to find its way in every conversation today. And, you know, having the World Retail Congress in Europe, you can imagine that that's, that's more least it's more relevant and more more kind of on the surface than it is in the US. We tend to be a little bit of a follower there. But it was it was really, really

Emily Lane  02:36


Bret Schnitker  02:37

Yeah it was insightful. Sure. Yeah, sure.

Emily Lane  02:40

I think we are going to focus on a handful of key topics today. And I have it broken up into A, B, C, D, E, F, G, don't worry, we're not going to go through the entire alphabet. Right, right. But let's start at the very beginning, the hottest topic, AI. And this was a theme that we saw not only of course, the World retail Congress, but just prior to that event we attended a will be participated in the AI Summit, which AI in itself was such a huge topic that we will be breaking that out into a whole separate episode. But today, let's talk about some of the key conversations around this generative AI. Some of the applications opportunities and and, and things to be aware of.

Bret Schnitker  03:33

Yeah standard AI has been around for a long time, especially in supply chain, you know, artificial intelligence making repetitive decisions, you know, on fulfillment and things like that, as it relates to retail. It's been around really since the late 20th century. Generative AI is really the game changer, it seems like everywhere.

Emily Lane  03:51

What does that what does generative AI really mean?

Bret Schnitker  03:54

Well people would like to, in quotation say it's kind of thinking intelligence, right. And they talked about deep AI and generative AI and, and, and it really is a, a more intelligent thought process that that in some ways, the machines are learned to kind of continuously educate themselves and adapt pulling in more information. And it's finding its way in all sorts of areas from logistics, you know, design, you know, all over the place. And those conversations occur to everywhere. I think, getting your hands around, you know, AI in general is, is it's such a vast topic, and it's moving ever so quickly. From the retail perspective. You know, I believe that they're, they're embracing the opportunity that it can solve some of the challenges that they've had in the past. But on the other side, the real challenge is the cost of implementation. You know, when a large and the the of Congress was really attended by some very, very large, large organizations, you know, pivoting from existing systems that they have. Right, it's time and money, its implementation, it's, by the time you put that in, is that already outdated? I mean, you know, technology and, and artificial, generative artificial intelligence, maybe so quickly, there's that was certainly a hot topic on how to how to implement it,

Emily Lane  05:29

some of those best practices things to be aware of, you know, some, some of those key areas of opportunity that you you mentioned, that are being recognized by retailers is helping aid in communication, helping to improve customer service and experience.

Bret Schnitker  05:47

Making a unique experience for every customer that comes on learning the customer's habits and provide dishing them up, you know, a unique, tailored experience, right, I'm sure, yeah,

Emily Lane  05:58

creative of creative opportunities. Of course, we've already talked about that, and

Bret Schnitker  06:02

and were involved in doing that. And that's, that's moving at such a quick pace. And we're excited to see, you know, from our perspective, you know, the the design AI, is, at this stage, for us providing ideation, it's helping our designers come up with, you know, new concepts and new variations of concepts. You know, I'm not really sure we're replacing designers is every one that was a big topic, it

Emily Lane  06:31

was a big concern, right, there is concern about people losing jobs over technology. And that's a common theme that we see when when things change, that little

Bret Schnitker  06:43

thing called the World Wide Web came into existence and thought, oh, certain jobs, were losing jobs. And, and what you really find is, and I always say it evolution not revolution is that in evolving landscapes and evolving technology, some jobs do go away, but it's replaced by new jobs in that in that complete environment. And, and, you know, with the web, you know, and all of that all these new jobs are developed that didn't exist before that. So I think AI is going to be that same way. You know, one of the big topics that was also discussed is that, you know, there is this thought process that AI, you just say, AI, rubbing a magic lamp and Genie, and then it solves everything. And the big discussion that they had was the interface with AI is important. And all these companies are kind of coming up to help be the interface of AI, because many cases at this stage, I can be much more literal. And human beings have to learn to communicate with AI to get the results that they want.

Emily Lane  07:43

Yeah, it can help optimize operations and streamline certain things, but there's still a need for that human element

Bret Schnitker  07:52

or, or a another kind of interface to be able to, to be able to properly get the results you want.

Emily Lane  08:00

Another area of opportunity is analytics. And where there's analytics, there's data and where there's data, there comes a need for enhanced policies to ensure your information is being protected and not used wrongly, we did hear,

Bret Schnitker  08:17

or even or even not even thought through the implications, you know, there was one story that was discussed in the AI Summit, which I thought was relatively Wow, mind blowing, but a large retailer ran all of their financials through AI to create, you know, a pretty clean package for investors and everything else. And what What they didn't realize is that, as a person was applying for a new position within the organization, he asked a i What would be a good salary within this organization to ask for, for this new position. And it basically with the information that was downloaded, it gave him the salaries of every person that worked in the organization. And so, you know, that's a pretty amazing, yeah, you know, hiccup, so they really talked about having policies in place, understanding, you know, that AI is not necessarily as private as you think. And then that that goes back to the comment earlier, is these interfaces that you need to have, you know, to avoid, you know, different situations that you don't, you don't want to have happen,

Emily Lane  09:26

right, there needs to be an implementation plan. You need to make sure that you have a really ethical thought process when implementing it, that you're continuing to monitor it to make sure because there's just there's things we don't know. And so we go through it.

Bret Schnitker  09:40

Yeah And a lot of the conversation about, you know, Gen AI as it relates to, you know, having better forecasting and, and all of that is that, you know, in the past, again, we've had these programs that would analyze business very, very effectively, but we were always looking historically and that's never really solved the Issues overall, for us, historic only goes so far in the past AI is really and our planning and forecasting functions and retail have really looked historically. The benefit of Gen AI and some of the new applications that are going on is that I can take in all sorts of interesting data subsets, they can take in economic conditions globally, they can take in supply chain issues in terms of, you know, trade routes, they can talk, they can take in weather automatically, and that can help manipulate some of the outcomes and decisions. And it's more forward thinking, the hope is that with proper implementation of AI, is that we, you know, I, I've said before, you know, the first thing I learned as a buyer's either overbuy or underbuy. You don't you never buy the right amount, you know, the overbuy situation was certainly a big topic, the landfills the you know, and again, going back to the sustainability, if we implement AI in the proper process, I think taking the human error out of it the human emotion or the human analysis of historical data and utilizing AI to really fold itself all the way up the supply chain, you might make more accurate decisions in terms of quantities, and over by last

Emily Lane  11:18

huge opportunity, for sure. And again, because this is such a big topic, and there were many rich conversations around this very topic, we will have a another episode to follow this up and provide even more detail. It's time to move on to B bracketing the big ugly monster of bracketing. Let's talk about the challenges that every retailer was discussing with regards to what is happening here.

Bret Schnitker  11:45

Yeah, the stunning comment actually, was that in online business, for many retailers, the online business is a marketing opportunity, not a profit opportunity. And one of the big reasons for that is the bracketing when someone buys three returns two to get the right size, they talked about online return rates upwards of 40%. And we've talked about that in the past that that size, fit transparency, things like that are super important as we move into an online environment because all profits getting eaten up when you're moving goods back and forth on returns and exchanges. In the old days, you know, when a customer would walk into a retail store, the decision was made in the retail store that the size didn't fit, they tried different size, or they would try it on they didn't like it. And basically the experience began and ended there. The sale began and ended there. And you didn't have really additional costs. Yeah, when you move into an online world and you get all these returns, exchanges customer dissatisfaction for whatever reason, those expenses eat into the bottom line and profit in an aggressive way. Right. And that was that was a that was a real eye opener when they really came out and said, Look, this isn't a moneymaker for us and online from a basic retail experience. It was really a marketing thing only to grow customer.

Emily Lane  13:07

Yeah, not only is bracketing detrimental to the bottom line profitability, but it is also a challenge with regards to this sustainability question moving good parcels back and forth, and all of that. So it really has more than one angle that can benefit by solving this problem and proving transparency and your sizing, having consistency from style to style, and really focused on on improving that particular challenge.

Bret Schnitker  13:36

And it was interesting, he came back to AI again, that conversation came back down again. And they said, Can I track the customer's buying habits and if there's a particular customer that does bracketing more than ever do increase in charge them returns and exchanges, costs and shipping costs, if a customer's and particularly better customer doesn't have returns and exchanges level, do you offer them free shipping, you know is it is a way that helps dissect customers to improve off of the profitability automatically.

Emily Lane  13:36

You mentioned that E-comm equals marketing essentially now, one of the staggering conversations that we uncovered during this time was that sometimes the E-commerce online store is the top competitor of that brands in store market.

Bret Schnitker  14:30


Emily Lane  14:31

So that was one that just was like, Oh, I never thought about that.

Bret Schnitker  14:36

For sure.

Emily Lane  14:37

But that being said, having that touch and feel is still incredibly important to retailers and there was a lot of conversation about how to improve even that experience.

Bret Schnitker  14:47

And we have a long way to go to solve the you know, it's not just the panacea online is not the panacea even though it's going to be a multi trillion dollar business,

Emily Lane  14:55

right? That's right. C Carbon Neutral. This This to me, I think is one of the biggest questions and hurdles and an area that I gotta tell you. I don't I don't think I had a formal clarity on there were companies out there alliance of companies saying that they were 100% carbon neutral, but I really have to ask the question how you put your goods on a boat, you put them on a plane, you move them from the mill to a factory, you're using fuel? How can you be truly carbon neutral in this day? And you know, where are the opportunities to be more, let's just call it carbon friendly.

Bret Schnitker  15:41

Yeah I think that's probably a better phrase, you know, we as humans consume our share of carbon all the time, you know, we're consumers of carbon in every way in every way that we interact with food and travel and everything else. And, you know, that has always been a very thorny conversation, you've got eco friendly, you've got carbon neutral, when you're eco friendly. In some cases, you're not carbon neutral, and others. And I'm not really sure the industry has really sorted out those solutions, yet. There was a lot of talk about that, again, being in the EU, you know, 2025, they've got some pretty heavy mandates in terms of our business in terms of eco friendly and sustainability. Part of that is a carbon neutral rating, that will indicate how much carbon is being used by a particular product. And I think the identification is probably the first stage, there's a lot of conversation about you can buy carbon offset credits, you know, there's an investment in that.

Emily Lane  16:40

What do those credits do?

Bret Schnitker  16:42

Well, it's an investment back into the environment is what, What we're being told is, when you buy carbon credits of a individual organization, those credits as simply could go back and plant more trees. Right. And so there's some of that happening. I'm not really sure that's a full, proper distillation of carbon credits. But I think it's a complex landscape. It's good that the conversation is happening. It's happening at a much more accelerated rate in the EU than it is in the United States presently. But certainly people in the United States, Fabletics, for one that was on the stage was having a big conversation about working toward becoming more carbon neutral.

Emily Lane  17:25

You know, I think this is an area that has great risk for greenwashing. We've talked in the past about, you know, hey, somebody's trying, you know, they're trying it isn't a flip the switch solution right now, it just the our industry just doesn't have the infrastructure and all the parts and pieces figured out yet. So don't shame somebody for trying. But I think having more honest conversation about what is a what is a real opportunity, and what is not is, I think, where we're going to see progress.

Bret Schnitker  17:59

Well, that's where the big debate comes, because everyone has a different perspective, everyone has a different measure of what proper sustainability is, and what greenwashing is, and, and some people can be pretty black and white and about it, and some people can be a little bit more gray. Remember, this is a this is a journey. It's not a destination, and it's going to take a lot of time. And and, you know, I think outside of the ones that are being very, very intentionally misleading, about eco friendly, you know, practices, the effort and focus on trying to make a move toward more environmentally friendly production or, you know, trying to satisfy carbon credits and be aware of our usage is not a bad conversation, we need to be careful about slapping greenwashing. Very, very quickly on different organizations, because one of the conversations too, is that people just won't step in.

Emily Lane  18:58

They're too afraid to question or backlash, right?

Bret Schnitker  19:01


Emily Lane  19:01

yeah. So there was a an overarching theme of the World Retail Congress, and it was disrupt or be disrupted. That, of course, is our D we're going to talk about today. I had some initial questions on this because it kind of flies in the face of a mantra that we have, which is evolution, not revolution. And so many of the things that we're talking about today from AI to carbon, carbon neutral, you know, that is going to be a process of evolution. It's not a, like I said, flip the switch kind of thing. So let's really talk about some of the things that they were talking about with regards to disruption and how to stay relevant in the industry. We did hear from some goliaths again in this industry and, and, you know, I see some some opportunities. Let's, let's talk about some of those.

Bret Schnitker  19:51

Yeah, I would say, you know, for lack of a better term, I think disrupt or be disrupted is a little market speak. I think that, that that falls more in the line of revolution. And that can be costly. And you can make a lot of mistakes in that in that regard. I would, I would continue my mantra of evolution, not revolution, and be mindful of all the changes that are occurring in the industry and adapt as quickly as possible and as conscientiously and thoughtfully as possible along this path, early adopters, you know, I tend to be one in technology, I love the new latest shiny object, but they don't usually have the kinks worked out. And if you're chasing, if you're trying to be disruptive and make massive changes really quickly, with things that aren't fully baked, you could have some expenses that you really aren't thinking through. So there's probably a proper pace for most people, you know, along this whole path. You know, it was interesting that people in the room that certainly were disruptors, and Shein was one of them, right? And that was a very, very interesting conversation, we'll probably go more in depth on that conversation, another episode. But I think that he articulated his point of view pretty well, that was an interesting room when Shein was on stage, because certainly in terms of disruption, they've disrupted the market in general, in terms of what they've done, you know, the, the accurate statement about, you know, Shein and honestly, is that, you know, they they are disrupting the US economy in terms of, you know, traditional imports, because they've skirted the, the typical laws of deminimis, you know, anything shipped under $800, is shipped duty free importers in the traditional importers are shipping in larger units, they're subject to tariffs out of China, they're subject to paying duties, what are the taxes for imports, and some of that can be up to 40%, the US customer pays that Shein. And the reason that tariffs are in place, even though you know, my position on tariffs they never have worked was to, you know, perhaps provide a wake up call for China to have trade balance, etc. Well, Chinese, the Chinese organizations, Shein in general, were very disruptive, because they said, well, the US importers can pay all these we're going to ship

Emily Lane  22:23

they're gonna find another way

Bret Schnitker  22:24

piece by piece into the US under deminimis and pay nothing. And so I think that at its core, very intelligent in terms of what they've done. And it has changed the business model for fast fashion in large volume and certainly the its massive volume, not even large volume, its massive volume that's coming into the US. And it's basically flooding the US with lots of garments in the world. It's it's a lot of units. And so you give them credit for creating an engine that that is data driven, that creates unique experiences for individuals that causes them to close business. They ship it super, super affordably direct, in small quantities on fashion leaders driving fad, skirting duties and tariffs. And so that certainly there's a disruptive conversation over here. Yeah.

Emily Lane  23:21

Another disrupter in this space is discounters. Closing in on that middle market, you have real time retail, which is leveraging more technology. We talked a little bit about that earlier. Brands consolidation. We'll talk a little bit about that.

Bret Schnitker  23:37

Yeah. Well, discounters are finding new ways to elevate product experience for customers. And their goal is to move a little bit more moderate. The goal, again, that would that would help with sustainability is that if you're improving quality, that garment lasts longer, people buy less than pay more than, you know, you're not filling landfills, it's such an outrageous rate, you're not you don't have that disposable clothing mentality. And again, that's sort of expected in a conversation like Europe, because they've always had more of a focus of an investment in their wardrobes. And, you know, you kind of wish the rest of the world would kind of think through that. And, you know, spend a nice level on a super, super nice suit or an outfit and wear it for 10 or 15 years by less. And then there have been some interesting articles written that a lot of these a lot of the industry that relies heavily on manufacturing, if we simply went up 15 or 20%, in cost overall, we could produce significantly less carbon, so it would sustain the entire economy as well, if not better. And so, you know, that was one of the conversations with that for sure.

Emily Lane  24:47

We talked, we heard a little bit about circular retail and how secondhand apparel is on the rise, which is very complementary to a more sustainable conversation. This being by 2027 a $350 billion industry? Yeah, that's some impact. Yeah,

Bret Schnitker  25:07

there was a lot of conversation about that for sure. We know a lot of organizations that are out there brands, if you will, that are out there that are doing well, and many others that have stepped in last a lot doing and they just haven't been super effective on that. You're finding more and more coming into that into that space? And the question is, as more come in to that, you know, how do you really manage that? How are you profitable? It's always great to be the first one on the block or the second or whatever. But when you've got a lot of focus on the block, how are you unique, you know, how do you compete with a lot of noise in that space? It was interesting, when we walked through one of the department stores in Paris, how they had an entire shop dedicated to upcycling, recycling, and it was actually being done in the store. Yeah, very French thing to do is to jump on the sustainability aspect. But it was also really kind of very cool to see. Yeah, and they were one of a kind pieces, the person was, you know, reinventing these garments or bags, I think if it's things like that on the store. And, and that was kind of interesting to see. So, you know, the adoption of this whole thing is, is, I think, a cog in the wheel to help, you know, the sustainability free chain, right? Absolutely.

Emily Lane  26:25

Well, we're talking sustainability. So let's just go right into E eco friendly. Course, a key topic. And, and, you know, you dress a little bit about some of the European standards, really driving, I think the future of the near future of this conversation, those who are doing business globally, right now, you know, if you're, if you have consumers in the United States, your United States base, and as you're also distributing to Europe, there's some things that you're going to need..

Bret Schnitker  26:55

By 2025 you're going to have some specific additional requirements to ship into the EU that you should be prepared for, we'll probably set up a separate podcast to be able to dialogue about that. Because I think that deserves some attention and be able to go into depth for sure. But I think it's it's a combination of, you know, trying to be more eco friendly. But for them, it's about transparency, having tags that are transparent, and you know, transparent about different usage of materials, I would tell you that, you know, it's still going to be a monumental lift, because you know, there's just not that much available globally, and something truly eco friendly and sustainable. It's a very, very small percentage. And we're really as an industry moving more and more away from materials that are eco friendly. We're moving heavily more into Synthetics. Yeah, and synthetics are certainly not eco friendly. There's not a lot of great alternatives, and bio plastics or bio synthetics right now.

Emily Lane  27:57

Well, we've talked about it in previous episodes, too, on the just how many hands are in the process of one garment. So when you're talking transparency, and traceability, and things of that nature that take you all the way back to a bale of cotton, and you realize how many steps that fiber to fabric to product, two, landing at your door, you know, there's just so many hands in it. So having pure traceability, transparency, again, monumental challenge,

Bret Schnitker  28:28

and there's a massive expense to that. So it was interesting here, technology steps and again, and we met a interesting guy at the end of our a conference that came up and we had a nice chat. And he's actually got a software development company that's created a unique program that will automatically calculate the carbon credits for a particular garment based upon attributes that you put in it. That's going to be super important, because there will be tags on, you know, garments in the future about how many carbon carbon units it's going to take to create that garment.

Emily Lane  29:05

I wonder how long it will take to filter out into other products beyond apparel?

Bret Schnitker  29:09

Yeah, well, I think it's gonna be a requirement across the board for you, we'll see how well that gets implemented and 2025 not too far away.

Emily Lane  29:18

So we're talking a lot about future innovations. We've been talking about the digital world and AI, I found it really surprising that some companies were were amazed and awed by 3D technology, you know, but we've also talked about that really pre COVID Gosh, what less than 2% of the industry was was you taking was using this technology and then post COVID more adoption happened to that what that 15% range so it is still nascent in our industry, but using that 3D technology to to improve visualization speed up timelines, minimize waste. Yeah, that was a powerful conversations.

Bret Schnitker  30:01

It was one of the largest European retail groups that came on stage and very proudly said that they moved to this new technology about developing, you know, their stuff in 3D modeling. And certainly the the, the technology that came up was Browzwear, we've been using it for almost 15 years. And it was a little self gratifying way I had on that one. Yeah. And that was really welcomed, received and presented as a disruptive new technology. Right?

Emily Lane  30:33

We're, we've been talking about, of course, the supply chain transparency, and, and technology that's being developed to support that. And then, of course, data, all of these tools to help you leverage your data to improve customer experience.

Bret Schnitker  30:52

That was, boy, the week was filled with technology companies that are coming to the table to offer solutions in a number of different areas. And, you know, it just goes back to you know, our foundation, it stars has always been talent and technology, and that, you know, fashion, apparel, retail, all the different aspects that are out there. Were ever linked to a technology. And it's, you know, if you think you're going to wake up one day and do things the old fashioned way, and old fashioned could have a lot of different meanings for different people. But that's just impossibility, you know, technology is is here to stay. And it's an it's as technology does, it's accelerating at a pace that people are struggling to understand one, you know, there was there was some, just like greenwashing has got a back backlash for eco friendly, there was this whole AI backlash and technology backlash because one of the keynote speakers or the one of the, I guess the keynote speakers were dialoguing about how they really don't want to even dialogue about AI per say. They're dropping that from some conversations, because and this was kind of off stage when we were talking in one of the meeting rooms, but they, you know, people think that they're gonna have success in their company by simply just adding AI to their name. And, you know, because it's the hot, big thing. And so, this one individual, this, this lady who actually was on some of the forefront of really dynamic AI research, she doesn't even allow that to be a conversation, you know, on a daily basis, don't use the term and because it's been so polarizing. Well, it's just been so overused.

Emily Lane  32:35

Yeah. G, here we are, we're almost at the end of our suite here.

Bret Schnitker  32:40

Gee thats tough

Emily Lane  32:43

But a oh, gee, geo political variables. Yeah, I'm glad that they really brought this up. Because this is something that in our space, you know, as we as we work with retailers, there's often not a lot of forgiveness on if if there's a delay or things are taking longer than it used to, because of geopolitical issues. You know, you've got a war that breaks out and a canal shuts down or, you know, COVID happens and ship cargo ships are in the wrong places. And all these

Bret Schnitker  33:18

Politicians think they're brilliant, and try to, you know, with tariffs affect, you know, change through inefficient means, and that affects our business. And yeah, that's never been more prevalent than over the past few years. You know, you've got, you've got interest. They talked about this interest rates higher than ever. They they talked about shipping rates that are mainly fluctuating economic, there are still economic struggles and slowdowns in Europe.

Emily Lane  33:47

A lot of wavering confidence based on some of the conflicts that we have that are still looming between Ukraine and Russia. You got Iraq, you have Iran, you have

Bret Schnitker  33:57

Israel, Iran,

Emily Lane  33:58

Yes. Exactly. The future of of US based upon the the upcoming elections, you have US China relations, I mean, it just goes on and on and on. And these were all key topics of concern and question.

Bret Schnitker  34:15

Yeah, the world's always been complicated. There's always been something going on. But it feels like it's all I mean, environmental, I mean, just you just layer all the complexities that we're dealing with on a global basis today. And you could see it resonating in the room, you know, that that consumer confidence is highly impacted by some of these different areas.

Emily Lane  34:36

I'm glad that conversations are happening because awareness is key to developing a strategy to make sure that your your business plan can accommodate, you know, this ever changing landscape.

Bret Schnitker  34:50

Yeah, for sure.

Emily Lane  34:51

So, H, we're here haha. Hey, yay.

Emily Lane  34:58

Yay is Y Hmm, okay.

Bret Schnitker  34:58

Yay is Y

Emily Lane  35:04

Well, the H, we have a few Hs, it's all the same beginning, hyper, hyper, hyper, hyper localization, hyper transparency, hyper personal experiences, emotion, these are all, you know, everything's getting hyped up in the hyper zone, that during this conference, so tell me a little bit about some of the hypersaline that we're going to be experiencing?

Bret Schnitker  35:28

Well this is all again, wrapping all back down to artificial intelligence, they're talking to you about how do they, how do they overcome some of the supply chain issues? So they're really focusing on different different areas of that transparency?

Emily Lane  35:44


Bret Schnitker  35:44

Hyper Localization. Well, that's the real time experience for customers, and how do you how do you on a, on a global scale, provide a unique customer experience for each and every person that's

Emily Lane  36:00

and also accommodate, you know, kind of your different product for different

Bret Schnitker  36:06

for different areas? Again, adding complexity to landscape, causing inventory to be inefficient? You know, I'm not sure that's a solution. I think that's a complication. And that's where AI can step in, in the proper context, with the proper interface and perhaps help in those areas, for sure.

Emily Lane  36:29

Well I think it was just an outstanding group of conversations, really wonderful leaders and innovators that we got a chance to meet and hear from and then all of those that were actually attending the conference, were also among those that had very thoughtful things to discuss.

Bret Schnitker  36:50

And it was an open and dialogue, you know, dialogue intensive conference, which was, which was really great.

Emily Lane  36:57

Yeah, I agree. Well, we have made it to the end of this segment of the alphabet to, you know, carry this forward would require another day, but you know,

Bret Schnitker  37:07

I just look.. oh, that's I sorry.

Emily Lane  37:12

I just want to know a little more.

Bret Schnitker  37:17


Emily Lane  37:17

Next. Well, anyway, thank you for sharing this conversation with me. Any other key key thoughts you want to share before we wrap this up today?

Bret Schnitker  37:27

Hopefully I'll get over my jetlag. So I'm struggling mightily. It's it's bedtime for me.

Emily Lane  37:33

Yes. That's right. Yes. Well, thank you for joining us on this Bar talk conversation, where we talked about the highlights from the World Retail Congress 24. Don't forget to subscribe to stay apprised of upcoming conversations which will include a deeper dive into AI. We'll see you then. Thank you.

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World Retail Congress 2024: AI, Sustainability, and Disruption in Fashion