- by David Dorf
This year the Oracle Retail users conference, Crosstalk, had a 20% increase in attendees, which was driven by both new customers and those acquired via Endeca. As the product assets of Oracle have grown, so has the completeness of the solution set. This year was marked by the breadth of omni-channel stories. Rose Spicer and her marketing team (see photo on left) always strive for an equal balance of retailer presentations, networking opportunities, and unique experiences -- this year was no exception. We had 41 different retailers from China, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, US, Canada and the UK sharing their insights with one another. In all there were 251 executives from 120 iconic brands such as Daphne, Kohl's, Morrisons, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hot Topic, Talbots, Petco, Deckers, Sportmaster, Mr. Price, Falabella, and Disney to name a few. From a product perspective, there were a few new developments from Oracle Retail: Endeca's search engine has been integrated into the ATG commerce platform. The latest Retail Analytics application, Oracle Retail Customer Analytics, is generally available. Oracle Retail previewed a new fully-integrated mobile POS. But the real benefit of attending Crosstalk was hearing about the experiences of retailers and partners. Here are are a few interesting facts I picked up: At Kohl's, the most popular website accessed by customers within their stores is Facebook. With all the buzz about showrooming, I was really expecting it to be Amazon. Daphne, a Chinese shoe retailer, is opening 3 new stores per day. Being located near the factories allows them to have a very agile supply chain as well. Disney Stores have increased sales by 25% at stores upgraded to include Mobile POS. They continue to lead the pack with excellent customer experiences. Quicksilver reported that 1 in 5 visits to their website comes from a tablet. More evidence that tablets are replacing traditional PCs in households. By tagging shoes with RFID, Saks is able to ensure all shoe models are on display. If a model is not being displayed, it has no chance of being sold. Additionally, there were awards, store tours on Michigan Avenue, fireworks at Navy Pier, and the Oracle Retail house band, Bolo313, performing at Solider Field. Speaking of which, a few retailers got on stage and jammed with band -- possible rival to Rock & Roll Retail? You can always find the latest info from us at the Retail Rack. The next events on tap are the Partner Summit followed by OpenWorld.