Last year, 2020, was marked by the coronavirus health crisis, which forced governments around the world to implement exceptional measures to slow the spread of the pandemic, many of which are still in place in 2021. The ‘new normal’ is having a tremendous impact on the retail sector, causing businesses both large and small to be shuttered for months as a result of the restrictions.

Because of this unusual situation, some of the leading international retail & visual merchandising trade fairs and conferences have had to be cancelled or postponed. However, many organizers have also managed to adapt to this new reality, moving their events online in an innovative format that is becoming increasingly popular. Many companies are also confident that it will be possible to hold in-person trade fairs and conferences again in the second half of the year.

We’ve drawn up a list of 7 retail events that will be drawing all eyes in the coming months.

Take a look at the list!

1. Future Stores Connect

What will points of sale look like in the future? International brands like Sephora, The North Face and Verizon will be present at one of the most anticipated virtual events of the year. WBR, the event organizer, is also preparing an in-person version at an as-of-yet unknown date and venue. This event will doubtless provide a unique opportunity to see the latest in in-store experiences.

Where: Online | When: February 2021 | More info: website

2. The Retail Summit

After being forced to cancel the in-person edition in 2020, the event organizers launched a series of highly interesting webinars for retailers. On 9 and 10 March, they return to the in-person format in Dubai, a city that has become consolidated as one of the most important business centres worldwide. This edition focuses on how retailers should approach a future that is full of challenges but also opportunities.

Where: Hotel Atlantis, Dubai | When: March 2021 | More info: website

3. InternetRetailing EXPO

The organizers of IRX decided to postpone the latest edition of one of the most important electronic commerce events in the world to March 2021. After gathering more than 5,000 professionals and experts in the e-commerce field in 2019, this event is clearly a “must” for any online retailer. The event will be held in person on 18 and 19 March at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham (UK).

Where: NEC Birmingham | When: March 2021 | More info: website

4. NRF 2021: Chapter Two

Following the success of NRF 2020, which took place in January last year, the most important annual event in the sector had to come up with a new formula to adapt to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. The latest edition of this trade fair will be held in an innovative, 100% online format, with the first chapter held in January and the second one scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 June, initially planned as an in-person event held in New York but it now seems most likely that this one will also be virtual.

Where: Online | When: June 2021 | More info: website

5. Paris Retail Week

The French capital will host the new edition of the Paris Retail Week in September 2021, after postponing the event last year. In a clear commitment to remaining true to its successful in-person format, the organizers hope to return to physical events in the coming months. This is undoubtedly one of the most relevant trade fairs in the retail industry, managing to bring together more than 25,000 sector professionals and 600 exhibitors.

Where: Paris Expo Porte de Versailles | When: September 2021 | More info: website

6. World Retail Congress

Despite the success of the online edition in 2020, World Retail Congress Connected Hotel Cavalieri in Rome will once again host the in-person congress from 28 to 30 September, gathering some of the most influential retailers in the world once again. Thousands of professionals will meet at this event, which has devoted over a decade to seeking new ways of understanding and serving consumers of the future.

Where: Hotel Cavalieri, Roma | When: September 2021 | More info: website

7. International Design Conference

IDSA has introduced an innovative format in which design professionals from around the world can participate in one of the most anticipated virtual events of the year for 24 hours non-stop. IDC 2021 stands out as a unique platform to give a voice to thousands of creative professionals with a wide range of specialties.

Where: Online | When: September 2021 | More info: website

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