Posts by Dan Hodges

What It Takes to Win In Retail Today

The top trends driving retail store growth in 2019

Retail Store Tours – has discovered the top trends affecting retail in 2019. Founder & CEO Dan Hodges said, “in curating hundreds of stores and retail formats in the last year we discovered the winning factors in retail today, including employee training, retail environment, use of technology, business model, store design, customer management, brand story, unique concept, the human touch and change.” Here is a summary of our findings.

The Human Touch: Apple Stores hires sales associates based on their kindness and evaluates them based on customer empathy. Microsoft retail hires sales associates who are both entertaining and informative. It is noteworthy that two of the leading technology retailers are focused on the human touch as a business strategy.

Use of Technology: Customer engagement technology that interacts with shoppers in-store is a winning play. Sephora’s Color IQ allows a shopper to select make-up while looking at themselves with Color IQ in-store. Apple’s sales associates use customer management software that increases responsiveness to customers, resulting in satisfaction and more time in the store. Sales Associates who are knowledgeable in product and empathetic to customers are the winning in retail stores today.

Employee Training: Apple, Sephora, Tiffany and other leading retailers are constantly training their employees to update their product knowledge and people skills. They use a combination of daily questions and formalized classroom training.

Business Model: Companies focused on personalization and customization are winning in the marketplace. Two examples are Bonobos, which is an in-store showroom where men are helped to select clothes with in-store stylist and Untucket which is a business where the shoppers are styled and sized in the store using a number of pre-sized shirts.

Store Design: The Apple store design features a minimalist approach which is a highly engaging environment. The Ray-Ban store is a multi-experience store where you can have your eyes examined and select a custom frame personalized to your taste. The Sonos store uses sound and environment to create an immersive sound experience. Sephora uses the store experience augmented by technology which is integrated into the store design.

Customer Management: All tier one stores have store associates who use the personal touch combined with technical tools to engage and co-create the shopping experience. Aldo uses technology to connect the front-end sales associate tools with the back-end inventory. Aldo utilizes in-store technology where customers can engage directly with the products in the store and curate the styles and inventory themselves.

Brand Story: All winning retail stores have a unique brand DNA story that was born out of a market need or a visionary founder. Tiffany, Sugarfina, Untucket, B8TA, Warby Parker, All Birds, Amazon are some examples of the many brands that have a unique reason for being.

Unique Value Proposition: The Real Real, B8ta, Everlane, Alo Yoga, Brooklinen, 3×1 and The Apartment are all distinctive offerings with a unique concept and focused purpose. These stores offer unique products and buying experiences not found elsewhere.

Change: Retailers built to capitalize on rapidly changing consumer behaviors and trends are winners. The future belongs to the fast movers and their ability to adapt their business models. Story is an example of a store that changes its entire product offerings many times during the year. Nike’s Flagship store is another example where customers can buy online and pick-up in store in their own, secure locker. This allows the shoppers to grab and go.

How To Get the Most Out of Your Time at NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show

We listened to you and created four programs designed to maximize your NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show experience whether is that is seeing cutting edge exhibitors, visiting innovative stores or networking with retailers

Custom Curated Experience

Photo by Jason Dixson Photography,

Curate and plan your agenda with industry experts. Custom Curated Experience focus on you, working to identify your specific business requirements, key areas of interest, potential business partners and relevant activities to help you reach your company objectives. It is where you “achieve months of business development in days” according to a leading CEO.

Retail Store Tours

Guided Store Tours

Experience innovative & iconic retail stores expertly curated by Retail Store Tours, before, during and after The NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show.

EXPO Tours

Photo by Jason Dixson Photography,

Explore the show floor of 700+ exhibitors of the leading companies driving the future of retail in our exhibition showcase with EXPO Tours. 

Short Lists Service

Photo by Jason Dixson Photography,

Short Lists, everyone creates a short list of targets, companies, stores to visit people to meet. We will help you identify the sessions to attend, exhibitors to visit, technologies to experience and create a short list of companies and stores to visit before during and after the NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show.

Contact or visit us at the EXPO Tours room located at Room 1C02 at the Javits Center.

CES 2019 Retail Navigation Guide and Tour for Retailers

CES 2019 is an event that highlights the pace of change in the world of technology and its impact on consumers behavior and the world of advertising and marketing. It is held from January 8 – 11 and is one of the largest events in the world. One of the largest groups to attend CES 2018 are retailers of which over 10,000 attended. According to a 2018 survey of attendees, 182,198 people attended CES in 2018 of which 63,784 were international visitors.


CES 2019 Features the Most Innovative Companies

A decade ago automotive companies first started to attend CES. Today there are 150 auto exhibitors will be spread across a space larger than four football fields and this year more categories are attending. Eureka Park will host a record 1,200 exhibitors from 40 different countries. CES will feature 4,500 exhibitors from 155 countries, regions and territories. Retailers visit CES every year to make connections with buyers and to keep up with the pace of change. Amazon, Microsoft Retail Stores, Apple, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Bose, Walmart, Costco, Target, Fry’s Electronics, Newegg, Sam’s Club, Staples, The Home Depot, HSN Inc, R.C. Willey Home Furnishings, B&H Photo Video and Rakuten all send teams to CES.


What to see at CES 2019?

It is impossible to attend hundreds of content sessions and meet with 5,700 exhibitors. Here are the main themes for retailers to focus on during your visit to CES.

  • The practical consumer and marketing applications for artificial intelligence.
  • Understanding the enabling processors and chip set in development to advertising and marketing.
  • The role out and capabilities for 5G video consumption.
  • Vehicle tech and self-driving cars and the car as a media platform.
  • The rise of smart cites and location-based advertising.
  • Technologies useful for disasters and personal safety.
  • Medical therapeutics and new health application.

The pace of change is accelerating in the advertising and marketing marketplace on many levels. CES offers the premiere venue to understand the pace of change for advertising and marketing industries.


Retail Experience Tech Tour on January 8th

Experience technology from the companies that are driving the pace of change in retail today. Consumers are using chat bots, smartphones, apps and social in their shopping experience. Retailers are using location technology, sales associate tools, facial recognition, analytics and much more to improve the purchase funnel.

This tour will visit companies focused on both the technologies consumers are using and the latest technology cutting edge retailers use to delight, manage and measure the path to purchase.

Availability is very limited. To make reservations click on the link below:


Experience Las Vegas Retail Store Tours on January 8th Only With Retail Store Tours during CES

Experience unmatched retail innovation in Las Vegas during your visit to CES. See what makes Las Vegas retail the most profitable and cutting-edge retail destination in North America. Attendees can sign-up for experiential extravaganza of retail stores where you see, touch, and learn about current innovations. Hear from store manager of the leading retailers during the multi-store stop on the features, innovations, store design experience, customer service enhancements, and brand stories.

CIM Tours at CES has been curating executive experiences at CES Tours since 2015.

Availability is very limited. To make reservations click on the link below:

The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian

Retail Store Tours at CES at The Venetian: The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, isn’t just a mere Las Vegas shopping mall, but a true shoppers paradise. With serenading gondoliers gliding down the Grand Canal, and the larger-than-life LOVE installation dominating the Waterfall Atrium of The Palazzo, your catered Retail Store Tour of world class retail stores, will provide our guests an experience beyond simple browsing.

Forum Shops at Caesar’s Place

Retail Store Tours at CES at Caesar’s Place: The legendary and grand, Caesars Palace which is the home to beautiful villas, gourmet dining, superstar shows, and The Forum Shops. Known as “The Shopping Wonder of the World”, The Forum Shops are a must-see, all-encompassing experience as Las Vegas’ definitive luxury shopping destination.

CES 2019: What to See Guide and Where to Go

CES was attended by 182,198 people in 2018 with 63,784 international visitors.

CES 2019 is held from January 8 – 11 in Las Vegas and is one of the largest events in the world.


Highlighted Companies to Visit at CES 2019

  • LG: OLED Tech, Smart Refrigerator, Gaming, VR and Smart Home.
  • Casio: They featured a variety of activity and sports watches.
  • Intel: VR, AR, IOT, AI – with several demos.
  • Various automobile manufacturers for connected cars such as Ford Byton
  • Nvidia
  • Civil Maps – location technology
  • Qualcomm – leaders in 5G


The Most Innovative Companies

Eureka Park will host a record 1,200 exhibitors from 40 different countries. CES will feature 4,500 exhibitors from 155 countries, regions and territories.


Key Themes

The key themes identified by CES are curated social buying, interactive POS systems and digital concierge services. They see a shift from a connected age to a data age. New chips being produced by Intel and others that will power embedded A.I., machine learning, digital assistants and voice technologies. The new chips connect AI to household appliances, powering meaning and coordinated interactions. The chip sets also have the potential to transform marketing and advertising. The role out and capabilities for 5G will provide enough bandwidth to increase the quality and volume of video consumption. enable self-driving cars and the car as a media platform. The rise of smart cities and location-based advertising will be fuel by AI as well as medical therapeutics and new health application. Digital therapeutics that enhance traditional medical practices and encouraging behavioral change and stand-alone direct therapy are some of the services available with the roll-out of 5G. This year doctors will be receiving CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits for participating in the digital therapeutics at CES.

Where to Go

Key Locations to visit at CES:

Tech East: Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center (LVCC), Westgate Las Vegas (Westgate) and Renaissance Las Vegas (Renaissance). In these locations you will find innovations in audio, drones, gaming, augmented and virtual reality, vehicle technology, video, wireless devices, wireless services, digital imaging/photography or anything “i” coming to market. It’s also home to many international exhibitors.

Tech West: Sands Expo (Sands), The Venetian, The Palazzo, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn (Wynn/Encore). These locations feature the innovative power behind the industry’s emerging technology, including revolutions in fitness and health, the Internet of Things, wearables, smart home, sensors and other high-growth technologies changing the world. It’s also home to Eureka Park, the startup community at CES.

Tech South: ARIA, Cosmopolitan and Vdara. Together, these locations are the CES epicenter for the advertising, content, marketing and entertainment communities, hosting a variety of C Space activities, including conference sessions, networking events, exhibits and hospitality suites.

Important Conferences and Events to Attend in 2019

2019 will mark the 50th anniversary that humans first landed on the moon on July 20th, 1969. The Apollo program developed technologies that connected humanity with its dreams. The winning conferences in 2019 will highlight the promise of technology and its potential is to connect people and facilitating experiences that matter.

Consumers in Motion Group has attended major industry events around the world since 2000 to learn about the technologies and consumer trends that are shaping our future. We have curated these events based on the quality of their content, exhibitors and attendees and have listed the top events to attend in 2019.

A word on our methodology: We ranked the events by four key criteria: 1) Distinct, value-added programming that highlights the direction our industry is going; 2) A diverse, high-caliber attendee list of marketing leaders, and 3) An environment and format that supports learning, networking and community building 4) Conferences that highlight technologies to enable meaning consumers experiences


CES 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada, January 8–11

CES features hundreds of content sessions and with 5,700 exhibitors you could only spend fifteen seconds with each of the exhibitors at CES, if you wanted to see them all in the four days. Broadly, the most effective way to navigate CES is identify the themes and to see and experience these technologies in action. The practical consumer and business applications for artificial intelligence, understanding the enabling processors and chip set in development. The role out and capabilities for 5G. Vehicle tech and self-driving cars. The rise of smart cities. Technologies useful for disasters and personal safety. Medical therapeutics.


NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show

New York, New York, January 13–15

NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show is a marketplace for ideas and relationships. A chance to forge new partnerships, try out best-in-class experiences, and learn from some of the biggest players transforming retail today. An event guaranteed to drive impact. Because after all, what’s the point of a show if you have nothing to show for. Highlights: The Big Show features over 800 exhibits, including Digital Commerce, Acquisition & Blockchain, Future Tech + Innovative New Products, In Store & Customer Experience Tech and Logistics, Supply Chain & Fulfillment the NRF Retail’s Big Show is a major forum for global retail industry and world leaders.


World Economic Forum

Davos, Switzerland, January 22–25

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is the only yearly gathering that brings together leaders of global society. The heads and members of more than 100 governments, top executives of the 1,000 foremost global companies, leaders of international organizations and relevant non-governmental organizations, the most prominent cultural, societal and thought leaders, and the disruptive voices of the Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers and Technology Pioneers come together at the beginning of each year to define priorities and shape global, industry and regional agendas.


MWC Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain, February 25–28

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Intelligent Connectivity’ – the term we use to describe the powerful combination of flexible, high-speed 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Intelligent connectivity marks the beginning of a new era defined by highly contextualized and personalized experiences, delivered when and where you want them. This is the future of our industry and our world. Within Intelligent Connectivity, we developed 8 core themes around which we will focus our content for this year’s event. From conference keynotes, track sessions, partner events, tours, and seminars.


South by Southwest

Austin, Texas, March 8–17

South by Southwest (SXSW) dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, television and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. Five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology held in March. SXSW offers scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs, video games and startup ideas.

Highlights: There are four main shows designed to enhance and complement conference programming. Each show encourages targeted connections and new discoveries through niche pavilions including Come and Capture, Future of Food, The Sport Spot and The MedTech Pavilion. Several stages located throughout the shows feature content aimed at promoting discovery, education and inspiration, including Next Stage, Pitch Stage and Podcast Stage.


NAB Show

Las Vegas, April 6–11

The NAB Show, held in Las Vegas, is the world’s largest convention encompassing the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. With 100,000 attendees from 161 countries and 1,800+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and embrace content delivery to new screens in new ways.  From creation to consumption, across multiple platforms and countless nationalities, NAB Show is where global visionaries convene to bring content to life in new and exciting ways. New gear. Impressive tech. Big thinking. This is the real deal. And where deals are done. NAB is in the business of storytelling and this is where you need to be. With a global community finding inspiration, building skills, discovering solutions and powering profits. NAB advances the art, science and business of content.



New York, May 10–22

Annual celebration of design, attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and designers from across the globe. Taking place each May—next occurring May 10–22, 2019—the event celebrates a world of design and showcases over a dozen design disciplines through events taking place across the city’s five boroughs.


World Retail Congress

Amsterdam, May 14–16

Each year the Congress selects a key theme that is impacting the global retail industry. The 2019 theme truly reflects what successful retail is today – it’s all about speed and dynamism. Those that are winning in today’s supersonic environment are zealously consumer-centric, passionately embrace change and risk, have a simple, agile business model and vision, are blind to borders and are ruthlessly evolving.


C2 Montreal

Montreal, May 22–24

C2 Montréal is the annual international business conference that helps established and aspiring leaders unlock their creativity in order to better face disruption and change. For 3 immersive days, bright minds from all industries connect, collaborate and build the new set of tools they need to find actionable solutions to the challenges of our times. Get out of the office and into a world of infinite possibility.


Cannes Lions

Cannes, France, June 17–21

Cannes Lions is a multi-day program of creative inspiration, celebration, education and networking held in June. Over 15,000 delegates from around 100 countries attend the Festival, making it the only truly global meeting place for branded communications professionals to connect, share and discover.

Highlights: The Cannes Lions Festival features Health, Entertainment and Innovation as three distinct conferences within Cannes Lions. Lions Health challenges the industry’s norms and motivates it to change the course of healthcare communications – and explores the ways talent and storytelling can elevate content into the cultural mainstream. Lions Innovation is an exploration of data and tech as catalysts for creativity. Over two days it showcases the new and kick-started collaboration. It brings together the start-ups with game-changing products and services, the investors who back them, the brands who work with them and the storytellers who can bring it all to life.


MWC Shanghai

Shanghai, June 26–28

The Conference at MWC Shanghai features thought-provoking presentations from some of the mobile industry’s most influential executives, who will share their visions of the mobile industry while providing essential insights on current and future trends.

Highlights: MWC Shanghai focuses on how mobile technology,  from connected cars and wearable tech to IOT and smarter cities,  is revolutionizing every aspect of individuals’ lives and creating a personalized experience.



Cologne, Germany, September 11–12

dMexco is the world’s leading exhibition and conference for the digital industry and stands for innovative and future-oriented developments and trends in the center of a new digital economy: The digiconomy. Within the two days of dMexco, a top-notch lineup of speakers and a unique presentation of diverse themes will put the crucial trends and business potential in the limelight.

Highlights: The program for 2019 will include more than 400 speakers from all over the world who will hold presentations on 15 different stages. The speakers will include digital stars, top executives, newcomers and trendsetters, who will hold outstanding keynote speeches, engage in exciting discussions and present visionary demonstrations.


ANA Masters of Marketing

Orlando, October 2–5

The who’s who of CMOs and other industry movers and shakers will share their remarkable stories of mastering brands and driving results in ways that didn’t even seem possible a few years ago. As one past attendee noted, “This is unquestionably the biggest and best gathering of senior marketers in the country, and it’s a great opportunity to confirm and learn about the latest trends and recent best practices.” By any measure, the ANA Master of Marketing Conference is the industry’s premier annual event, attracting more than 2,500 attendees.



Los Angeles, October 22–24

The GSMA and CTIA created a new mobile industry event in the United States. CTIA and the GSMA are equal partners in the joint event with the GSMA leading the event’s production and management.

Highlights: MWC Americas showcases how mobile is creating the connected life, transforming how individuals, businesses and entire industries communicate, interact and innovate. Mobile World Congress Americas is set to become the leading mobile industry event in the Americas.



Los Angeles, October 29–30

Highlights: ReMode is an event uniting fashion brand leaders and industry-wide professionals to inspire solutions for growth and innovation. The two-day event features talks, demonstrations, exhibits, and meetings, through which participants can: DISCOVER strategies to build and grow an omnichannel business.

NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show & 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing

What does the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing have in common with the technology at NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show? The National Retail Federation was founded in 1911 and 57 years after its founding the first men landed on the moon which was July 20th, 1969. The Apollo program developed technologies that connected humanity with its dreams and created the core technologies that are driving the pace of change fifty years later. Robotics, computer hardware and software, nanotechnology, aeronautics, location technologies, micro-electromechanical systems, supercomputers and microcomputers, software and microprocessors – were also created using technology developed by NASA. The technologies changed the face of retail globally.

Intel was a product of the Apollo program. New chips produced by Intel today and others are driving the artificial intelligence revolution. These chips will power embedded A.I., machine learning, digital assistants and voice technologies. The new chips will connect AI to household appliances, powering meaningful and coordinated interactions. The chip sets also have the potential to further transform the retail industry.

The transformative impact of AI and the role out and capabilities for 5G will provide enough bandwidth to increase the quality and volume of video consumption, enable self-driving cars and the car as a media platform. It will make interactions faster and seamless. The rise of smart cities and location-based advertising will also be fueled by AI as will medical therapeutics and new health applications. Digital therapeutics that enhance traditional medical practices and encouraging behavioral change and stand-alone direct therapy are some of the services available with the roll-out of 5G.

These developments also impact the pace of change in the retail industry on many levels. NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show offers the premiere venue to understand the pace of change for the retail industry each year.

The technical innovations created by the Apollo moon landing have had vast impact in the last 50 years. Today technologies and companies created to support the Apollo program such as chips and software will drive the pace of change today and for the next 50 years. The NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show offers the opportunity to see, feel and touch all of these creations in one location.

Reinventing Physical Retail

Dan Hodges, CEO of CIM Tours and Founder of Fashion Week Store Tours will moderate a discussion on “Reinventing Physical Retail” at the premiere of REMODE. REMODE is an event that brings the entire industry’s brightest and boldest minds together to change fashion for the better. In a world where the fashion industry is the second largest polluter and the consumer is the new channel, the industry must evolve with clear purpose and transparency. From the yarn to the final consumer, design to manufacturing, and financing to marketing, the industry’s entire value chain must move towards a more sustainable and omni-channel business.

The panel will discuss that brands, retailers, and mall owners alike are increasingly testing new concepts in physical retail. New formats such as popups are gaining popularity among both online-only and traditional brands, who are using them to increase customer engagement, launch limited edition products, or test new markets. In addition, retailers and mall owners are adding experiences, events, and services to attract foot traffic. In this session, industry experts will discuss which concepts are proving successful and how in-person fashion retail is likely to evolve in the future.

The panelist include Liza Cantu, Digitally-Native and Emerging Brands, Westfield

Richard Found, Director, Founder Associates, Krista Boyer, President and Founder, Retail for the People and Ross Bailey, CEO, Appear Here on Wednesday, Nov 14 at 2:40 PM PST

Welcome to the Co-Creative Retail Experience Economy

The National Retail Federation projects that 2018 spending at retail is expected to be 4.5% over last year which is reason to be optimistic. Is the growth coming from consumers who are returning to brick and mortar stores or consumers buying more online? The answer is a resounding yes but what in retail is driving this growth?

This past year we visited hundreds of stores in the United States and Europe as part of our Retail Store Tours program and found many examples of why some retail businesses are booming.

Apple, Sephora, Eataly, Fredric Malle, Tiffany, Suit Supply, Mont Blanc and hundreds of others had one common trait, a uniquely personal experience informed by sales associates and augmented by technology.

Joseph Pine and James Gilmore wrote in their book The Experience Economy, that “experiences are a distinct economic offering, as different from services as services are from goods.” The book written in the late 1990’s did not consider the role of smartphone or digital commerce as Amazon at the time was a four-year-old company. The rise of digital and the always on economy have created an intersection where meaningful retail experiences drive sales.

Jeremy Duimstra (Co-Founder and CEO, MJD Interactive) and I will be discussing this at the NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show will feature the “Co-Creative Economy: How Successful Brands Use Technology to Drive Sales.”

We know that all retailers know the value of a good narrative. However, the most successful retailers are taking their narratives to the next level by embracing the “Co-Creative Economy” – the deployment of innovative technology that profitably enables unique collaborations between customers and store sales associates within the framework of a brands core promise. We will discuss how brands like the Container Store, Apple, Levi Strauss, Sephora spur sales by elevating the in-store experience with experiential technology.