Shoptalk Europe – Summary

Picture of Tomasz Karwatka
Tomasz Karwatka

Supervisory Board Member at Divante. Leading industry voice who believes eCommerce can improve our world. Co-founder of Vue Storefront and Open Loyalty, angel investor, and founder of Tech To The Rescue. CoFounder at Catch The Tornado eCommerce Startup Studio

Care to share?

Shoptalk is a leading global eCommerce conference with almost 5.5k participants this year and extremely good publicity. So I was really happy when I got an invitation to Shoptalk Europe. The conference took place in Copenhagen and attracted more than 2k attendees and 220+ speakers.

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What was great was the fact that they brought many good speakers from the US. This was a huge differentiator. You can meet US-based speakers at conferences like TNW or Slush but this is first European eCommerce conference that attracted so many international speakers.


For C-Level guys, the most important things from the Conference:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere.

Let’s start from startup alley – 50%+ of the startups are AI startups.

Then vendors – every vendor (literally every) has added some AI component to make his product hot and relevant.

So we have:

  • visual search
  • language processing
  • conversational interfaces
  • self-learning process optimization tools
  • AI-boosted marketing tools
  • AI-fueled order/fulfillment management
  • AI-driven price engines
  • AI-driven UX (this is something I really liked)

Then the big guys – Google, Amazon, eBay – they all were showing AI-powered eCommerce.

Some of these tools work well, some of them only look good. For sure there is a lot of hype around AI right now and every retailer is thinking about implementation.

Chinese Players are swinging for the fences

I was at the Alibaba Keynote and this was the best presentation. These guys are really thinking about retail in the long run. They bought a shopping mall to understand clients better. They are starting multiple retail initiatives to figure out how the omnichannel of the future should look. This was indeed very impressive. As someone said –  it will be easier for Alibaba to enter the US than for Amazon to enter China.

Stop talking about mobile

Mobile is here for good and for huge fashion retailers like Matchesfashion this is the main sales channel. They get 60% of their traffic from mobile, 55% of business from mobile and 20% of business from the app itself.

Speed and innovation are the Pure Players currency.

Amazon was telling the story of how they built the Prime Service in 100 days. This is totally awesome. They showed how they prototype. They can execute really fast.

Zalando was talking about building a bottom-up innovation process. These pure-players really know how to build innovative things fast. On the other hand, you can see old-school retail corporations building accelerator programs for startups and believing that someone will innovate for them :) I see that the gap between these two groups is growing.

The best slides I saw

Sentient is using AI to generate multiple A/B/X tests and automatically design/improve User Experience. This is how the future of UX will look – automatically designed and personalized experiences for every user.


Amazon is showing how they use paper-prototyping to check the usability of their delivery app for Prime. They needed only 100 days to develop this whole program.


eBay is showing how they use AI on different levels of human-computer interaction. The ultimate experience is to buy AI-designed products.

Alibaba Store
Alibaba Store

Alibaba fresh food store concept.

You can buy via the app, you can visit a store, or you can order online with 30-minute home delivery. They are experimenting with many retail formats to figure out the omnichannel experience of the future.

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Published October 11, 2017