We know Re/code events are fun, but we and our guests always learn a bunch of new stuff, too.
Our first Code/Commerce event, taking place on the evening of May 17 in Las Vegas during Shoptalk, won’t be any different. We’ve lined up three great speakers working at the intersection of the technology and retail industries whom Kara Swisher and I will have the pleasure of grilling onstage.
We’ll be talking to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Target.com President Jason Goldberger and The RealReal founder and CEO Julie Wainwright. It’s going to be good. Really good. But if you want to be there, you really ought to apply now.
So what am I hoping to learn from these smart people and the accomplished group of entrepreneurs, execs and investors who’ll be in the audience? Glad you asked! Here are three of the questions I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. I’d love to hear what you have on your mind, too, either in my inbox or on Twitter.
How do mass-market retailers like Target plan to thrive while Amazon keeps getting bigger, stronger and faster? More money is spent online each year, but Amazon has been accounting for more and more of that growth. That should be a daunting prospect for Jason Goldberger, who runs Target’s e-commerce operation and knows Amazon well from working there for eight years. So will Target continue to try to play Amazon’s selection and speed game? How much of Target’s future prospects rest on its stores and websites working increasingly well together? Can partnerships with startups like Instacart and Curbside offer key differentiation? I plan to ask about all of that.
Is now the time for traditional retailers to make a splash in M&A? For years, sexy e-commerce companies have raised round after round of financing, believing that even if an IPO never became an option, a traditional retailer looking to become more modern would jump at the chance to gobble them up. But with few exceptions, that story line has yet to play out in the U.S.
Part of it is that some retailers are more focused on righting their own ships. But part of it has been the sky-high private market valuations that startups have been able to secure recently. Now that those days increasingly look over, is the pace of M&A involving brick-and-mortar retailers going to pick up?
How mainstream will the idea of buying, selling and renting used clothing really go? Julie Wainwright has now raised more than $120 million from investors who have bought into the idea that lots more people are going to start buying and selling used clothing online. Over at Rent the Runway, CEO Jennifer Hyman believes many professional women are going to think it’s normal to rent everyday clothing, too. I’m skeptical that millennials will keep acting like millennials once they’re no longer millennials. But I’m interested in learning more.
We’ll be talking about all this stuff and a lot, lot more (like how Tony Hsieh’s plans for a no-boss workplace are being received inside a company run by Amazon, with its many bosses).
If you haven’t applied yet, this is probably your last chance, with just three weeks to go. See you in Vegas.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.