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World Retail Congress 2018, Day 1: Hearing About the “Retail Apocalypse,” Chinese Retail and the Need for Change in Brick-and-Mortar

Executive Summary

The Coresight Research team is attending World Retail Congress 2018 in Madrid this week. Here are our top takeaways from day one of the conference:

  • The “retail apocalypse” story is “great clickbait,” but it is not taken seriously as an accurate depiction of US retail.
  • JD.com’s Richard Liu predicted that the retail industry will be operated at some point by artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, rather than by humans—but he did not predict when.
  • Alibaba Group sees Tmall as the “gateway to China” for Western retailers and brands and notes that the platform enables these companies to test products rapidly.

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