The 7th edition of the e-P Summit kicked off in Milan Wednesday under the aegis of the theme “Next Level Now,” tackling key subjects like omnichannel retail and marketing, direct-to-consumer retailing, and 3D digital fashion design. Organized by Pitti Immagine, the one-day power networking event brought together international leaders and key players who are developing the strategies currently leading smart retail that will determine the future.
Keynote speakers included names from brands such as Levi’s, Adidas, Timberland, Facebook, MSGM’s Massimo Giorgetti, and the eco-footwear brand Allbirds. Conversations of the day have already challenged the traditional brick-and-mortar experience and its ongoing evolution, something which has been an ongoing matter of debate among consumers, retail, and apparel players alike for some time now.
“Bad retail is dead,” offered up Sandeep Verma, European manager at Allbirds. “Retail needs to be focused on experience and discovery of a brand. We need brands to step up.”
Verma further explained how the San Francisco-based start-up, which experienced a surge in popularity this year, is already working on opening 20 “monobrand” stores (which would take them up to a total of 35 physical store spaces), despite a digitally-anchored background.
Pitti Immagine’s CEO Raffaello Napoleone said there is a notable industry-wide shift towards something seamless. “Looking ahead, there is only one theme and that’s the omnichannel,” he said.
This year, the summit experienced more interest than usual with registration up to 500 guests compared to last year’s 320.
As Diana Dimitian, Levi’s VP and managing director of Southern Europe, pointed out: “Because it [the Pitti Immagine summit] brings together speakers from all over, inviting them to share and talk, this environment benefits local players who assimilate and adapt what they have learned and later project that outward.”