The 2018 ICSC New York Deal Making Conference and The Emergence of Digital
The ICSC New York Deal Making Conference (“NYDMC”) was held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center from December 4 – 6. NYDMC is ICSC’s second largest conference, with about 10,000 in attendance this year.
The conference kicked off with Professional Development Day. One highlight was the Hidden Biases of Good People session presented by Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji of Harvard University. To say it was eye opening is the understatement of the year since Dr. Banaji’s research showed people unknowingly perpetuate biases and how these “hidden biases” can affect business decisions and workplace interactions.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the show floor. For the first time, the NYDMC showcased digital native brands in an area on the show room floor called Retail in Focus. This area was hopping as the event plays a key role in how ICSC is helping its members to reimagine the future and prepare for the change ahead.
Since 2016 The Global Pavilion has been a part of the show room floor in recognition of the NYDMC attracting more retail professionals from other countries. The area calls for professionals representing international brands who are considering expanding into the US and shopping center owners in Europe seeking US retailers for their properties. For the second year, the NYDMC also designated an area on the upper level of the Javits Center as the Innovation Exchange where emerging retail technology companies were able to feature their newest technology to enhance the shopping experience.
Doug Stephens, founder of the Retail Prophet, gave a fascinating keynote address. His talk focused on the future of retail as it may impact both the digital and physical worlds, and was certainly thought provoking. Stephens highlighted that spending for online shopping has increased by 21% and, by 2022, the traffic and transactions completed on smartphone will increase by a factor of 10.
Finally, the content this year was outstanding. An overarching theme was the convergence digital and physical, with discussions on the emergence of the digital native brands, concept stores, and the roles played by VCs/PCs and social media (including influencers and brand ambassadors). This content was rounded out with excellent presentations on franchising, health and wellness retailers, grocery disruption, the evolving role of blockchain, and opportunity zones.
All in all, the overall vibe of the show was good, with ample opportunities for networking and relationship building, deal making and learning about our ever evolving industry.