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Retail Innovation Conference & Expo to Spotlight Metaverse Experts Championing Next-Level Shopping Experiences at Clinique, e.l.f. Beauty and More


Cathy Hackl, “the Godmother of the Metaverse,” and Roxanne Iyer, Clinique’s VP of Global Consumer Engagement, to Kick Off Conference with Mainstage Keynote

The Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (#RICE22) today announced that the event will feature metaverse experts and strategists who are championing immersive metaverse and NFT experiences for Clinique, e.l.f. Beauty, PLBY Group and other brands. The conference and expo will kick off with a mainstage keynote by Future Metaverse Chief Metaverse Officer Cathy Hackl (known as “the godmother of the metaverse”) and Clinique VP of Global Consumer Engagement Roxanne Iyer.

Although a recent Klaviyo survey found that 49% of consumers don’t know what the metaverse is, other data indicates that it has the power to be a game-changer for retail brands that want to harness the power of their communities. For example, Fortnite raised $144 million for Ukraine relief efforts within a two-week period by tapping into its loyal players.

In the mainstage keynote session, titled “Inside the Metaverse Movement: How to Embrace Convergence and Create Transcendent Brand Experiences,” Hackl and Iyer will share firsthand insights and key takeaways from Clinique’s venture into digital collectibles and discuss how the brand plans to further innovate and differentiate itself in digital worlds. The two will also share how brands can effectively establish their digital identity in the metaverse and create unique and engaging consumer experiences.

“Brands are working quickly to create metaverse strategies that offer their customers an extremely engaging experience that spans digital and physical worlds,” said Adam O’Brien, Show Director for the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo. “Leading retail and brand innovators are already experimenting with a range of metaverse shopping experiences, including offering digital products and NFTs. As companies look for ways to establish a strong brand presence on emerging metaverse platforms, hearing firsthand from futurists, tech experts and other brands that are successfully navigating these new spaces can be invaluable to executive decision makers and creative strategists. It is still early days for the metaverse in retail, but we’re thrilled to join a dynamic conversation about what the future may hold!”

Other metaverse-themed sessions will include:

  • Metaverse, Beyond the Hype: Making the Business Case for Immersive Digital Environments and Communities,” a panel discussion featuring Neha Singh, CEO and Founder of Obsess, Rachel Webber, Chief Brand and Chief Strategy Officer of PLBY Group, and Michael DeNunzio, Managing Director of Pebble Ventures. Moderated by Ken Pilot, Founder, Pilot Advisory + Ventures, the discussion will focus on how brands can create a virtual world where consumers can “unlock” products and receive rewards in real life as well as reach new audiences within the metaverse by embracing virtual storefronts and communities.
  • NFT-Powered Communities: Just a Fad or Here to Stay?” a discussion moderated by M7 Innovations Founder Matt Maher, featuring e.l.f. Beauty CDO Ekta Chopra, SkyView Way Studios Co-Founder and Marvel writer B. Earl and Deidre Manna Yoshioka, NFT Strategist and Web3 Consultant at Deidre June.The session will explore how brands can begin transforming their digital ecosystem and understand the value of NFTs in building brand loyalty, personalization and community. Maher will also dive into commerce and esports in a session titled “Ready Player Three: Commerce Enters the World of Gaming and eSports.”
  • How 3D Is Impacting the Future of Ecommerce Engagement,” a talk by VNTANA Co-Founder and CEO Ashley Crowder, who will share her extensive experience in 3D/AR/VR and provide key steps brands need to take to build a winning 3D strategy.

The conference and expo, led by retail community and media company Retail TouchPoints, will take place May 10–12, 2022, at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago and feature senior executives from Coach, Target, Enjoy, Foot Locker, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ring, Google, eBay and ThredUP, among others. Focusing on the theme “Retail 5.0: Designing the Next Era of Connected Commerce,” the event will feature a reimagined agenda format that enables attendees to personalize their experience through a variety of tracks within three tailored events: Internet Retailer Conference (IRCE), Design:Retail Conference (DRCE) and Retail Innovation Summit (RIS). The events are designed to inspire deep-dive learning opportunities and moments of cross-functional collaboration, functioning as the place “where digital and physical retail connect.”

For more information on the agenda, including the various tracks and distinguished speaking faculty, visit the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo agenda page.

About Retail TouchPoints: Retail TouchPoints and Design: Retail give all members of the retail world access to a vibrant community that combines insights, inspiration and opportunities to interact with their peers. We sit at the intersection of the art and science of retail strategy, providing granular data, high-value commentary, and aspirational success stories to help readers optimize customer experiences across all channels. Touching all facets of the retail ecosystem, including store experience and design, workforce management, digital marketing and engagement, and omnichannel optimization, our editorial content, multi-media resources and events take timely news and trends and transform them into tactical takeaways that meet the unique needs and priorities of our executive readers.

About Emerald: Emerald’s talented and experienced team grows our customers’ businesses 365 days a year through connections, content, and commerce. We expand connections that drive new business opportunities, product discovery, and relationships with over 140 annual events, matchmaking, and lead-gen services. We create content to ensure that our customers are on the cutting edge of their industries and are continually developing their skills. And we power commerce through efficient year-round buying and selling. We do all this by seamlessly integrating in-person and digital platforms and channels. Emerald is immersed in the industries we serve and committed to supporting the communities in which we operate. As true partners, we create experiences that inspire, amaze, and deliver breakthrough results.