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Austrian retailers explore the future of retail in New York, Boston and Philadelphia

November 4, 2014

In early October, Advantage Austria organized a study trip for 15 executives of Austrian retailers. Building on the vast knowledge and industry leading expertise of two American elite universities, the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) in Philadelphia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston the objective was to explore, learn and inspire Austrian retailers by exposing them to current developments, innovation and future trends of the retail landscape.

Lectures at the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School by Professors Barbara Kahn, Peter Fader and David Bell explained developments in the areas of Customer Centricity, Online - Offline Interaction, Omni - Channel and Mobile Retailing. In addition, a visit to the MIT Media Lab in Boston outlined the latest developments in the fields of Urban Planning, Social Shopping and Big Data.

The theoretical part of the course was supplemented by thematically coordinated and guided visits to companies and retail stores in New York City. For instance, Patti Lee, SVP of Macy 's Herald Square gave valuable insight to the successful Omni - Channel strategy of the department store chain. IBM presented Watson, a “super computer” and the opportunities it gives to online-retailers. Visits to and Alexis Bittar showcased successful business models in the online and offline world. Moreover, visits to Warby Parker and Bonobos illustrated the trend of showroom concepts. During a networking reception at the residence of Trade Commissioner Michael Friedl, the participants had the opportunity to discuss their insights and impressions with US retailers and professors.
The study trip was co-financed by the "go international- the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Business".