The Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (RICE) 2023 happened in Chicago from June 13 to June 15, with PageTraffic as one of the media partners. Throughout the event, we explored the exhibition areas and actively engaged in over a hundred educational activities.

Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (RICE) 2023

At the conference, we got to know about upcoming developments in linked commerce this year. Speakers from companies such as Liquid Death, PayPal, Walmart, and PepsiCo provided useful information. They emphasized what merchants should prioritize and what they should avoid in 2023.

2023 Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (RICE)

Let’s take a look at the main events from the three days of RICE 2023.

Main Events of RICE 2023

Day 1: Workshops, Case Studies, Store Tours, and D2 Summit in Retail Edition

The Deep-Dive Workshops took place on June 13 on a Tuesday. The workshops’ open slots were filling up swiftly. (Note: Workshops were exclusively open to brand and retailer executives.)

RICE 2023 Workshops

The Case Studies highlighted successful real-world use of cutting-edge technology by brands to improve customer experiences. During these 45-minute sessions, participants gained essential insights from the initial rollout to the subsequent optimization.

RICE 2023 Case Studies

Participants had the chance to participate in Store Tours led by Insider Trends and discover Chicago’s colorful neighborhoods. It was encouraged to sign up right away due to the limited capacity. Attendees could add Store Tours to their carts after logging into their accounts and checking out to reserve a seat.

The D2 Summit: Retail Edition, put on by D2 x RICE, was designed to educate those in the retail industry about the rapidly changing Web3. With exceptional chances for the fashion, cosmetics, apparel, and specialty categories, this exclusive event highlighted the value of digital identity and self-expression. The committed team put forth a lot of effort to create a schedule that highlighted cutting-edge approaches to connecting, co-creating, and encouraging consumer loyalty and was all included in the #RICE23 All-Access Pass.

D2 Summit
D2 Summit

Day 2:  Event Highlights and Expo Hall Experiences

Johnny Earle and Nikkia Reveillac provided the event’s opening remarks. The Retail Innovation Summit, Design: Retail, and IRCE were three micro-conference programs held. Experiential activations, tailored tours, and Johnny Cupcakes pop-up shop were all included in the Expo Hall.

Event Highlights #RICE23

Highlights of the Expo Hall:

Highlights of the Expo Hall

The Expo Hall was open from June 14 to June 15, allowing visitors to check out immersive activities and take exhibit floor tours.

Exclusive and carefully organized Expo Tours gave participants in special teams and functions an in-depth look at essential exhibitors and activations.

With the agenda and registration details readily available, participants had the chance to explore alternatives that met their needs.

the Expo Hall Highlights

Immersive Digital Path to Purchase: VM Versatility

The visual merchandising and store design teams experienced the blending of digital material and physical encounters. This showcase, supported by CS Hudson & Glass Media, showed the fusion of immersive, adaptable, and technologically enabled experiences. Attendees investigated modular vignettes to see their effectiveness.

Showcase for Social Commerce

The Social Commerce Showcase, sponsored by iAdvize, gave attendees a firsthand look at social commerce’s possibilities. Participants learned how brands adopted shoppable content, powerful advertising, and other features. Experts led participants in talk sessions on how to turn social curation and inspiration into practical outcomes.

Day 3: The Final Day and Exciting Collaborations at #RICE23

An interesting panel discussion featuring PayPal, Adobe, and Whisker kicked off the final day at exactly 9:00 am. The panel was sponsored by Adobe, who also served as the title sponsor. The day and the event as a whole came to a conclusion after that as we dove into our three micro-conference programs: IRCE, Design: Retail, and the Retail Innovation Summit.

Exciting Collaborations #RICE23

The Visions Summit

Exciting Collaborations #RICE23

On June 15th, at #RICE23, there was a gathering called the Visions Summit. Those who sought inspiration and wished to contribute to the nexus of culture and commerce were the target audience for this event, designed for forward-thinking business executives, thought leaders, and intellectuals. The conference included the Future Commerce’s Visions Report release and offered a stimulating agenda focused on the interplay between culture and commerce.

Visions Summit
Visions Summit

Key Highlights and Presentations 

Johnny Cupcakes Unleashes His Sweet Illusions in Chicago

From Blunders to Brilliance: Johnny Cupcakes’ $10,000 missteps spark $100,000 Innovations. Johnny Cupcakes runs a physical store on Boston’s Newbury Street as well as an online store and is well known for its vibrant and unique T-shirt collection. However, creating a memorable Johnny Cupcakes experience is where the genuine essence lies.

The founder of the company, Johnny Earle, addressed the stage at the #RICE23 event to discuss his mistakes, blind spots, missed chances, and accomplishments. Earle educated the audience with his entertaining lecture, “Building Brand Hysteria, Customer Loyalty, and Memorable Experiences.”

Highlights and Presentations

He declared fervently, “I’m addicted to this strange shopping pain. Why do we keep coming back? The goal is to succeed the next time while savoring the unpredictable. I market enduring memories rather than tangible goods. Simply put, the merchandise becomes a byproduct.”

Highlights and Presentations

Earle’s willingness to talk openly about his mistakes and the lessons he learnt is a prime example of his amazing capacity to turn $10,000 errors into ground-breaking $100,000 breakthroughs.

Unraveling Humanity: Netflix’s Nikkia Reveillac Explores the Essence of Innovation

Nikkia Reveillac, a respected consumer insights leader, has extensive experience in the sector, having worked for firms such as Colgate-Palmolive and Twitter. She sees her time at Twitter during the turbulent years of 2019 and 2020 as a useful opportunity to test her theory that true innovation emerges from a “people obsession” rather than a dependence solely on statistics. Reveillac is currently working at Netflix, where she is putting her hypothesis to the test.

Essence of Innovation

Reveillac highlights the importance of comprehending the issue as well as the underlying causes of consumer behavior. “The sharper you can get in understanding the problem, the more likely the solution you come up with will delight and surprise,” she says. This emphasises the significance of diving deeply into the underlying difficulties before designing effective remedies. Reveillac’s method underscores the need for enterprises to prioritise quality over quantity in problem-solving and ensure that insights are turned into practical actions.

Adobe, PayPal, and Whisker: A Powerful Collaboration in Action

Powerful Collaboration

You know, having creative thoughts is fantastic! But here’s the thing: if you don’t have the necessary partners and mechanisms to back up your ideas, all of your hard work could be for naught. That is why it is critical for everyone participating in the retail industry—brands, tech companies, and even advice and services firms—to band together and make a good influence.

Powerful Collaboration  - RICE 2023

Let’s talk about the conference keynote, where Whisker, a rapidly rising pet business, and executives from Adobe and PayPal had a frank and meaningful dialogue. They discussed what fuelled Whisker’s company success and the importance of true partnership and teamwork in making it all happen. It was a fascinating conversation!

Conference Sessions

You would not believe the #RICE23 agenda was full! Over 100 talks were offered across three micro conferences: IRCE, Design: Retail, and Retail Innovation Summit. And rest assured, these sessions covered a wide range of topics. We’re talking about the most recent advancements in omnichannel innovation, the realm of the experience economy, mind-blowing generative AI, and augmented social commerce.

The best part was that the experts from some seriously notable brands led the seminars. Big names are involved, including Walgreens, Walmart/Store No.8, Coach, Lowe’s, and Reebok. But it wasn’t just the big names who stole the show. Disruptors such as Liquid Death, Bubble, Purple, and Adore Me were also there, shaking things up and inspiring everyone.

The #RICE23 event was genuinely extraordinary, embracing a wide range of activities and leaving guests speechless. Those who were present had a front-row seat to all the exciting action.

Conference Sessions
  • Natalie Cotter from Liquid Death and Claire Tassin from Morning Consult presented “A New World of Ecommerce Expansions: How One Disruptive Brand is Rewriting the Growth Playbook.” Natalie Cotter from Liquid Death and Claire Tassin from Morning Consult delivered the presentation. They provided some incredibly insightful information about how this disruptive brand fundamentally alters the rules of e-commerce growth.
Conference Sessions - RICE 2023
  • How NBCUniversal promotes trade in the Age of Media Convergence is the topic of Evan Moore’s presentation for NBCUniversal. How NBCUniversal is changing the business landscape is the main focus. In today’s quick-paced world, several amazing things are being done to combine media with business.
RICE 2023- Conference Sessions
  • Charlotte Mostaed from Health-Ade, Kaleigh Moore, Tyler MacDonald from Pacsun, and Kellie Sawkins from Sunday. They provided some insightful information on “Social Commerce Breakdown: Content and Community Lessons from Brand Leaders.” It was an interesting and educational workshop!

Here are some other clicks from the interactive Conference sessions.

RICE 2023- Interactive Conference
RICE 2023- Interactive Conference Sessions
RICE 2023- Conference
RICE 2023- Conference

Pioneering Conference Co-Chairs

RICE was overjoyed to have Ari Peralta, CEO of Arigami, and Cathy Hackl, founder, and chief metaverse officer of Journey, serve as co-chairs for the event. These two well-known brand experience experts contributed a plethora of information and insights at #RICE23.

Pioneering Conference

With her significant knowledge in such fields, Cathy Hackl served as the conference’s Metaverse and Next-Gen Fashion & Retail Chair. In the meantime, Ari Peralta assumed the position of the official Sensory Design Innovation Chair and contributed his insightful observations. They significantly improved #RICE23 by being there!

Expo Hall and Engaging Experiences

The Expo Hall of #RICE23 was around 30,000 square feet! Just picture over 200 exhibitors presenting the most incredible innovations you can imagine in one place. It is undoubtedly a computer enthusiast’s delight!

Expo Hall

RICE had the vision to create a space where the neighborhood could gather and have a blast, so it ensured the Expo Hall was bustling with activities. You could take a photo with Grogu, the adorable little Star Wars figure, and experience the most cutting-edge technology enabling connected commerce.

RICE 2023  Expo Hall

There’s still more! RICE provided plenty of chances for interaction and collaboration. It was all about fostering teamwork, encouraging innovation, and igniting fresh perspectives. You would want to take advantage of it.

Participants at #RICE23 flooded social media with posts on their favorite moments from the conference, sparking a buzz that spread widely. Attendees couldn’t contain their excitement as they experienced unforgettable networking opportunities and speech-inspiring events. The impact of #RICE23 was felt well beyond the event’s physical location because its essence was captured and disseminated globally. Clearly, #RICE23 left a lasting impression on everyone who took part.


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.