Stockholm, May 4-5th 2023. In this press release, we summarize the two-day event full of energy, creativity and innovation. The event contained inspiring discussions by multiple industry peers at the tech hub; Epicenter. Read more about how the discussions went around AI, retail, tech, marketing and much more.
CATCHING THE NEW WAVE
The founder of the established tech event SIME, Ola Ahlvarsson, started his speech on stage to kick off the first sessions on the agenda. The events would contain a lot about the new trending phenomenon; AI, as well as retail, tech, society topics, and discussions with multiple industry leaders and speakers.
He started by sharing one example in regards to AI, that Snapchat just released their own version called "My AI". In the Snapchat app, users are able to chat with the AI. The AI can be seen as a random user, chatting when no one else is responding – but cannot give rational advice as the target group of Snapchat (Gen Z) might search for.
During the week that Snapchat launched My AI, the percentage of how many googled "how to remove MY AI on Snapchat" was extremely high.
Of course, this means that the fascination around AI is very divided.
The first guest on stage was Alexander Bard who shared his thoughts on what AI will mean for businesses and leaders.
“We're gonna go mad. Human beings are not intelligent. We are memetic, rational, emotional. AI is intelligent, but will never have emotions. There will be drastic changes for leaders"
Next up on stage were the fantastic and inspiring Wilma Emanuelsson. Wilma is a hacker, founder and CEO of iTrack Reading. She's a 19 year old entrepreneur. Her aim is to help people with dyslexia to read fluently.
"We have a lot of problems in the world. If I can develop my technology skills and help, I will do it"
When Ola asked her how it all started, she told us; her friend in school had dyslexia, and the teachers told her that her grades were 'okay for having dyslexia'. Wilma thought that no one should receive an argument like that, hence why she later in life started iTrack Reading, to raise awareness around the burning issue and help where she can. Also, she shared an interesting fact; 40 % of self-made millionaires are dyslexic.
The Fashion (Beauty) of the Internet
Next on stage was Massimiliano Bendetti, who has made a great journey in the retail business from former Marketing Director at YNAP – to board director Luisa Via Roma. Luisa Via Roma is a retailer and re-seller in the luxury market. He told us about a rough start when the conversation he had with the brands in the beginning about selling luxury goods online on the internet, and the response was; "it will never work". The reason was that they thought the internet means accessibility, and products exclusivity.
Now, when the e-commerce industry has grown and the statistics of the product sales is happening 1/3 online, the perception hits different. One strong mindset and goal they always had according to Massimilano, was to always keep the brand image, protecting it, and respecting the brand positioning. In the beginning they had a good, competitive advantage when they started, he says, because no one knew about for example the now very well-known Italian influencers that they worked with. Now, it looks different, and the competition is quite strong.
Retail, experience matter – elevating brick-and-mortar in the age of e-commerce
On a retail breakout session in Epicenter's tech-hub location; Epistore, the topics were about how AI would affect the retail industry. Many discussions were about how retail is under construction and that the physical verses the online store should be more combined and work as a whole.
We discussed about that AI can be powerful in some areas. For example, how it can gather all the important visitor and customer data. In that way, many retailers will be able to have more niched targeting and have a bigger advantage when it comes to understanding customers buying behaviors online.
Within customer service, an AI chatbot can contribute to customer service teams by providing faster and better service, respond to the most frequently asked questions, and save time, money and resources for companies.
Marketing – the power of brand in the new communication landscape
Another inspiring speaker was Matt Hirst, partner at West, writer, researcher and marketer. He told us about how we are at a crossroads in marketing & communications. Some advice he gave to businesses when it comes to branding: "Don't settle for mediocrity. Be human. Make people feel something. The world needs you to be weird, inspiring, human. The best product rarely wins. The best brands always win"
Time to grow – the Breitling growth saga
Stephane Dehner, Head of Breitling Nordics, came up on stage and told us about the fantastic journey that Breitling have had. He started at the company in 1986. He talked about how one success factor has been how they have never been afraid of the digital world – but instead welcomed it and embraced it.
Even though e-commerce sales are growing for many companies, Breitling has focused on their stores instead. They just recently opened up 100 brand stores and employed 400 people. Today, they have 220 boutiques.
"We use the stores to embrace our target groups, our clients, and the young generations. We are inclusive, welcoming, and see our stores as meeting places. We use that platform to create a community of Breitling friends".
We want to thank Ola Ahlvarsson and all the organizers around SIME for two great eventful days that will be remembered!