Recapping LiveWorx 18: 4 Themes Retailers Need to Know



Earlier this week, leaders in retail, tech, augmented reality, IoT, and other technologies came together for LiveWorx, the world’s largest digital transformation conference and marketplace, in Boston’s innovation district.

LiveWorx Xtropolis

There were many experiences – especially for retailers and fashion, apparel, and footwear brands – from a connected mirror in a smart dressing room to fashion items making their runway debut using augmented reality.

With back-to-back sessions highlighting retail technology innovations, numerous meetups and events, and exciting demos of new products and solutions, the four-day “Coachella for the tech crowd," as Paul Rudd joked on Tuesday, passed by in a flash. These are four themes that resonated the most as we look forward to next year’s edition.

3D technology

From 3D digital product design to additive manufacturing, it feels inevitable that retail product lifecycle management will not only be fully digital, but also three dimensional.

LiveWorx Retail AR Demo

So how will 3D technology impact retailers and brands as they scale for the future? 

  • Processes need to be redesigned.
  • Product design and development must be fully digitized.
  • Companies will require new skills when bringing in new talent.
  • PLM will become a core platform to enable digital innovation.
  • Connections to the store, consumer, and manufacturing will be more critical than ever.

The need for speed

From the show floor, to messages from the keynote speakers, to the new products and solutions being demoed, the theme of speed was consistent throughout LiveWorx. Retailers and brands must not only get their products to the market with speed, but also deploy solutions at scale with efficiency and quickness. In addition, the speed with which we interact with the digital world is accelerating through emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality.

Jim Heppelmann LiveWorx Keynote

As PTC’s Jim Heppelmann explained in his opening keynote, of all five human senses, our sense of sight gives us the ability to process information the fastest. Using augmented reality allows us to visualize digital information as if it were part of the physical world with only our sight, and this will no doubt change the way that we design concepts, ideas, and trends, especially in industries as visual as fashion, apparel, and footwear.

IoT and smart retail changing the business model

Traditional retailing consists of designing, developing, making, and selling apparel. IoT technology is changing that model. Consumers can now see, experience, “try-on,” and buy clothes before they exist in the physical world using augmented reality, which will change the way that retailers and brands produce apparel and manage their inventory.

LiveWorx AR demo

Solutions like connected stores and predictive analytics provide retailers with greater and more accurate visibility into inventory at the store level all the way down to the supply chain, giving them the ability to adopt a more cost-efficient and sustainable business model in the future.

Digital transformation impacts every employee

Finally, digital transformation isn’t just about designing retail products, or optimizing store layouts, or what the implications to IT infrastructure are. As Daniel Christie of L.L. Bean mentioned in an engaging breakout session, digital transformation impacts every employee in an organization. It enables them to communicate faster, collaborate better, and make smarter business decisions that drive innovation.

LiveWorx Retail Breakout Session

Watch the LiveWorx recap video here to relive the sights and sounds from 2018.