Westfield adds wow factor to Retail Study Tour

1280px-IBM_Watson copy

An early prototype of Watson in 2011

Westfield has added a tangible wow factor to the itinerary for its upcoming World Retail Study Tour.

The two-week retail experience, taking place in May, will see a group of leading retail executives take in the best retail has to offer in Dallas, New York, London and Paris for as part of the intense learning, growth and development experience.

Westfield’s Jack Hanrahan, who leads the World Retail Study Tour (WRST), said the itinerary has been developed with an emphasis on seeking out the best practice globally and finding those retailers who are challenging the norm on a global scale and who can offer insights on the possibilities for retail.

“As retailers, we need to get out of the comfort zone, push our boundaries of learning and development and embark on new experiences to challenge our thinking,” Hanrahan said.

“The changes in retail are coming hard and fast with news of Dick Smiths closure, Myer’s move into eBay and Wesfarmers completing the takeover of UK chain, Homebase. The speed of change is hard to keep up with.”

With that in mind, the tour visits range from brands that have been in business for 162 years and have successfully managed the waves of change that retail has experienced, right through to future thinking brands that are making serious waves in the wearables industry.

Bringing the ‘cool’ factor

One of the key, newly announced stops on the New York leg of Westfield WRST is a visit to IBM Watson Global Headquarters at 51 Astor Place in the heart of New York City’s ‘Silicon Alley’. IBM’s Watson is the most prominent example of use cases for cognitive computing in retail.

Outdoor US sportswear brand, The North Face, is one of an increasing number of retailers who have tapped into Watson’s cognitive capabilities to improve how it does business. IBM demonstrated Watson’s application to retail at the NRF’s Big Show in NYC in January, where it was a big hit with attendees at the event.

Delegates on the 2016 Westfield WRST will have the chance to get up close and personal with Watson and to learn about the applications of cognitive computing in retail.

While in New York, the WRST will also tour the new Westfield World Trade Centre. More than a new retail district, Westfield World Trade Centre is a forward thinking fusion of art, ideas, fashion, culture, visionary architecture and culinary ingenuity with an unmistakable New York sensibility.

The tour group will listen to some great retail luminaries, including the likes of Neiman Marcus president, Jim Gold; Sephora’s Global CEO, Chris de Lapuente; and the founders of Pirch in their new, yet to be opened store in SoHo. Visit’s to the new Harvey Nichols and John Lewis store in Birmingham, Burberry’s flagship, and Westfield London, are also on the 2016 Westfield WRST itinerary.

Limited spots on this year’s Westfield World Retail Study Tour are still available, but applications are closing soon. If two weeks of global retail learnings with a focus on innovation appeals to you, then you can register your interest now at www.retailstudytour.com/tour-2016/ . The tour departs Australia on Saturday May 7, runs through to Friday May 20 and includes more than 40 presentations by leading global retailers.

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