InStore Disrupt: Key takeaways from Top Retail Influencers

InStore Disrupt 2023 is a wrap! We created InStore Disrupt to give retail professionals and other like-minded people an opportunity to connect and keep up with the latest trends. It was an amazing moment that the whole community will remember. 

What happened at InStore Disrupt 2023?

Missed InStore Disrupt 2023? Don’t worry, you can see the recording here: 

Watch here


During InStore Disrupt 2023, retail professionals had the opportunity to meet part of Tokinomo’s team, including:

  • Ionut Vlad, Founder and CEO
  • Corina Mihalache, Partner Success Manager
  • Mark Thorton, Head of Sales
  • Laurentiu Cluve, Head of Logistics, Product and Tech Support
  • Andreea Balasa, Country Business Development
  • Marius Mantulescu, AI Software Engineer

All of them shared in-store marketing tips and tricks, results from campaigns, and retail insights. Also, one of the highlights of the event was the community moment in which many global partners stepped in to say “Hi” from all over the world. 

During InStore Disrupt attendees were also able to meet Tokinomo’s new products that are going to revolutionize the in-store experience


It’s a small, powerful, and versatile in-store advertising solution that offers you the possibility to directly communicate with customers at the point of sale. 


Is a cutting-edge AI-powered in-store analytics solution that allows brands and retailers to collect and analyze customer data at the point of purchase. 

However, the highlight of the event was the fact that 3 Top Retail Influencers joined us and shared their expertise on various topics. Carol Spieckerman, Jeff Sward, and James Tenser spoke to us about retail media, improving the in-store experience, and the balance between high-risk and low-risk products. Curious to find out what they shared?  

Key Takeaways from Top Retail Influencers

James Tenser - Retail Media Redux: It’s Back to the Store

Watch full session

James Tenser, a well-known retail expert and Top 100 retail influencer, discussed about Retail Media and how retailers are putting more emphasis on physical stores. 

James focused on the shift from digital retail media back to the in-store environment and its implications for advertising and the retail industry. He highlights the growth of retail media and its potential economic impact. Retailers, such as Walmart, Albertsons, Kroger, and Home Depot, are setting up their own networks to monetize shopper data and offer targeted advertising opportunities. 

James emphasized the value of in-store audiences, as the majority of transactions still occur in physical stores. He mentioned various technologies and devices used for in-store advertising, such as video doors, robot shelf devices, and electronic shopping carts. The ability to personalize messages, programmatic buying, and closed-loop measurability are key advantages of retail media networks for brands.

 Brands are expected to invest more in these networks and consider them important for advertising and marketing efforts. He also mentioned the three interconnected forms of retail media interaction: 

  • on-site (digital shopping sites)
  • off-site (social channels and in-platform selling)
  • and in-store (digital signage, interactive labels, kiosks).

 Retailers and brands are recognizing the importance of collaboration to maximize the benefits of retail media. Consumer data suggests that shoppers generally respond positively to in-store media, appreciating promotions, product discovery, and relevant advertisements.

Jeff Sward - Risk and product assortment

Watch full session

Jeff Sward, the founder of Merchandising Metrics and retail expert, gave a speech at the InStore Disrupt event, where he discussed the importance of risk and product assortment for retailers. He emphasized the need for retailers to localize their assortments based on factors such as store size, location, season, and risk tolerance. Sward highlighted that in-store execution has become even more crucial with the rise of e-commerce.

He introduced the concept of "5 R content,":

  • right product, 
  • right price, 
  • right place, 
  • right time,
  • right quantity. 

While product and price are influenced by both design and data, the other components primarily rely on data-driven decision-making. Factors like place, time, and quantity are determined by risk level, demographics, and store size. Sward stressed the complexity of achieving the right balance across these metrics for a broad range of products, locations, and seasonal variations.

Sward explained that merchandising should not be seen as a post-design process but rather as a collaboration between merchandisers and designers. He called it "probability merchandising," an informed creative process that aims to bring predictability to the store floor. He emphasized the need for retailers to bend the odds in their favor to maximize brand storytelling and profitability.

Sward highlighted the need to balance the four layers of the product to achieve the best combination for great storytelling and profitability. He presented examples of Polo Ralph Lauren shirts and denim from American Eagle Outfitters to illustrate the graduation of fashion, complexity, and risk.

Finally, Sward emphasized the merging and management of data and design as key factor for great brands and retailers to distinguish themselves. He presented the equation "explore + experiment + execute = experience," emphasizing the need for retailers to deliver a great customer experience through execution while allowing customers to explore and experiment.

Carol Spieckerman - Evolving Customer experience in the year of the store

Watch full session

In her speech, Carol Spieckerman, the President of Spiekermann Retail and renowned retail influencer, discussed the evolving nature of the in-store retail experience and highlighted three key trajectories that will shape the "year of the store" in 2023 and beyond.

  • Platform Building: Spieckerman emphasized that retailers are no longer just places that sell products; they have become platforms that integrate digital, social, mobile partnerships, and data. The opportunities lie in building, partnering with, and monetizing these platforms to unlock new possibilities for growth.
  • Digital Rethinking of Brick-and-Mortar: The digitization of physical stores is evolving with advanced technologies. Retailers are taking control of the store environment, using refined technologies to enhance the customer experience and monetize their platforms. High-tech platforms, such as Meta and Apple, are set to introduce immersive devices that democratize technology and make it more accessible.
  • Diversify or Die: Diversification plays a crucial role in platform building. Retailers are expanding into new formats, categories, and solutions and services. Solutions and services, such as healthcare, are becoming profitable and data-rich areas. Retailers are diversifying their platforms and exploring partnerships to excel in these areas.

Additionally, Spieckerman discussed about the rise of retail media and its impact on stores and retail relationships. Retailers are monetizing first-party data collected from loyalty programs and e-commerce, serving it back to brands and turning them into paying customers. Spieckerman concluded by emphasizing the transformative nature of these trajectories on the in-store experience and invites further engagement and collaboration.

InStore Disrupt - Connecting retail professionals

We’ve created this event to provide a platform for networking and connection between retail professionals and other like-minded individuals. InStore Disrupt 2023 came with memorable moments, speeches from retail experts, and two new Tokinomo products. We can’t wait for InStore Disrupt 2024.

Read some more
Category Management plays a pivotal role in the intricate landscape of retail, yet its essence extends beyond mere simpl...
The customer journey is a complex path, fraught with uncertainties and challenges. 70.19% of online shopping carts end u...
Empower Your Employees with Data-Driven Decision Making: Delivering an exceptional retail experience is paramount. It's ...
Finding the right retail assortment feels like striking gold. From corner convenience stores to e-commerce titans like A...

Any questions or suggestions? Let's talk!