Shoptalk on Wednesday announced the launch of a series of virtual events that will supplement Shoptalk's in-person events, according to a press release. Shoptalk Virtual Events will initially focus on the impact of COVID-19 on retail and e-commerce, and will take three forms: Shoptalk Virtual Tabletalks, Shoptalk Virtual Conferences and Shoptalk Virtual Meetings.
On April 23, Shoptalk Virtual Tabletalks will be held via video conference, where retailers and brands will be able to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on retail in groups of four to six individuals. The Shoptalk Virtual Conference will take place via livestream on April 30 and will include a 12-session agenda with more than 20 speakers to discuss how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted retail, per the company announcement.
Shoptalk Virtual Meetings will connect retailers and brands together with sponsoring companies, which is an expansion of its past "Hosted Retailers & Brands Program," and will incorporate networking and collaboration initiatives.
Shoptalk initially planned to have only women speakers at its March 2020 event, but it had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. That in-person event has been rescheduled to Sept. 14 - 17, 2020, at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
While the Shoptalk Virtual Tabletalks event will initially only be open to retailers and brands registered for Shoptalk's fall conference, the first half-day Shoptalk Virtual Conference is open at no cost.
"We're proud to announce the launch of a broad range of virtual events at a time when they can most help the industry adjust to entirely unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances," Anil Aggarwal, founder of Shoptalk, said in a statement. "As with our in-person events, the formats of our virtual events will bring people together for everything from large-scale learning to small group conversations and one-to-one collaboration."
Shoptalk isn't the only entity shifting to a virtual strategy. The Toy Association recently announced its own virtual events series, dubbed "Toy Fair Everywhere" that will connect toy manufacturers with buyers, media, and other stakeholders via technology.
Retailers have responded to the pandemic in different ways, depending on whether they're deemed essential or non-essential. It's not clear what retail will look like once non-essential stores are allowed to reopen, and consumers may be forever changed after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.