As recently as three weeks ago, I was on the fence about attending While I’ve been a regular for many years, I wasn’t sure the 15-year old event had really kept pace with the seismic changes taking place in retail.

Well, I can say that I’m more enthusiastic about attending this year’s as I have been in some time. and its parent company NRF, have breathed new life into a show that was, once upon a time, a disruptor itself. In talking to friends in the retail, vendor, and analyst community, they are seeing a bit of transformation as well.

After taking a look, the presentations and breakouts look more relevant, including topics like Artificial Intelligence, culture and personalization. This year’s event also features new concepts like the Retail Innovation Lounge and the Tech Lab, showcasing potentially transformative retail technologies for home, store, and mobile.

At the same time, the event features A-list headliners (Tyra Banks, Kobe Bryant) and is taking place in hip, fashionable Los Angeles, which might be considered more of an innovation hub than its last two venues: Dallas and Philadelphia.

And because of all of this, I have decided to attend and take in the experience. Commerce Cloud will be there too (booth #725) featuring demos, some of our amazing retail customers showcasing their innovations and of course, hand-dipped Godiva chocolates. Here are some of the hot areas I’ll be focused on at the event:

Personalized Experiences Driven By Artificial Intelligence
Online shoppers have already come to expect a great mobile experience. What will they expect next? A personalized shopping experience – personalized product recommendations, site experiences, marketing, and search – made possible with AI. Whether we realize it or not, AI is impacting our everyday lives as consumers, and is having a significant impact on the retailers who use it. In fact, the Insights team at Commerce Cloud finds that they realize higher revenue derived by recommendation-driven shoppers, and a greater likelihood of them returning.

AI that is embedded into an ecommerce platform, like Commerce Cloud Einstein, is simple to use and quick to implement so retailers can start using it to drive sales as soon as they turn it on.

World-class mobile
Mobile is such a large, ingrained component of digital commerce – the Shopping Index shows that order share on mobile grew by 33% in Q2 – that there is not even a track at dedicated to the topic. However, I’m looking for how best practices around mobile innovation can (and should) be applied to all other categories (personalization, site optimization, loyalty, engagement, and more).

Our great customer PUMA will be in our booth showcasing its brand new mobile site, based on our new Mobile-First Reference Architecture.

Unified commerce
It’s the holy grail of retail – the concept of connecting every interaction of the customer journey before, during and after purchase to create a cohesive, personalized experience. Of course, it’s much easier said than done. You’ve got major investments in the technology underpinning your brick and mortar stores, and major investments in your digital channels.

At our booth, we’ll demo some of the ways in which the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform helps retailers down the path of unified commerce. Specifically, how Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud and Community Cloud come together to take a shopper all the way from discovery to purchase to service to brand advocacy.

Some of our customers and partners will be featured speakers at, including Ashley Stewart Executive Chairman James Rhee, and PFSweb Sr. Vice President Elizabeth Johnson.

So I’m packing my bags for L.A., happy to see that this show is evolving to support the needs of today’s connected consumer. I hope to see you there. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2017 Guide to Holiday Readiness.