President & CEO Renée Sunde co-moderated a panel discussion of retail executives last week at the inaugural Pacific Northwest Future of Retail Summit in Tukwila.
Executives from Ben Bridge Jeweler, Westfield Southcenter mall, Pioneer Square merchants, Nordstrom, Bellevue Square and Starbucks outlined innovative endeavors, explained their company and store cultures and their commitment to diversifying their workforces. The event was held, in part, in celebration of Gov. Inslee’s proclamation of September as Careers in Retail Month.
A few key takeaways included:
- Southcenter Mall General Manager Jason Dyer discussing its development of smartphone apps to direct shoppers to stores or summon security
- Southcenter Nordstrom store Manager Tamara Marsh mentioning the filming of employee videos to market merchandise
- Ben Bridge CEO Lisa Bridge noting the company’s use of software to project the design of rings in development before they are ready for delivery
- The trend toward mixed uses at malls included adjoining hotels, gyms and movie theaters to enhance the shopping experience
- The introduction of Amazon Go stores with no checkout lines and Costco stores moving to home delivery
Said co-moderator, Professor Sandeep Krishnamurthy of the University of Washington School of Business, “Ultimately, retail adds value to people’s lives.”
The City of Tukwila and Port Jobs Center for Onboarding and Advancement in Retail (COAR) sponsored the event that drew 80 people to the panel discussion and another 450 on Facebook Live.
The program included a job and career fair at Westfield Southcenter with 24 retail employers that attract 140 job seekers and 1,540 engagements made through social media.
A press release for the event can be found HERE