The slowing economy has forced retailers to turn to technology to find new ways of maximizing returns, cutting costs, and improving consumer relationships. Today, at Forrester’s Retail Summit, “Making Retail Technology Pay Off,” at The Grand Hyatt in New York, more than 200 attendees will learn from pioneering retail executives how to use new and existing technologies to increase sales and profitability and gain a competitive advantage.

“Technology can create a strategic advantage for retailers. They will either win with it or struggle without it,” said Kate Delhagen, retail research director at Forrester. “The goal of our Summit today is to help companies determine which technologies should be implemented and optimized, how they can be used to create operating efficiencies, and how to measure success.”

“With ever-demanding consumers, expanded shopping channels, and new technology offerings, it’s a tough world out there for retailers,” according to Chris Charron, group director of research at Forrester. “Although retailers have historically turned to brand to differentiate in competitive markets, technology now provides another key differentiator, and it will change the industry as we know it.”

Forrester’s Retail Summit focuses on three key questions that will be addressed by featured industry speakers and Forrester analysts.

Key questions:

  • Which retail technologies demand attention and budget, and which ones don’t?
  • How should retailers adapt business processes in light of technology’s more prominent role?
  • How can retailers measure the payback of technology initiatives?

Industry speakers include:

  • Dale Nitschke, President,, Target Corp.
  • Dennis Honan, Vice President and General Manager, Customer Direct, Sears, Roebuck and Co.
  • Bob Edington, Director of Retail Convergence Services, Borders Group

Plus an industry panel discussion with:

  • Kevin Hanson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, ShopNBC
  • Christopher Marentis, Senior Vice President, Interactive Marketing, AOL
  • Bill Rowley, Director of Business Development and Business Manager, Yahoo! Shopping
  • Mark Ugar, Director of MSN Shopping, Microsoft

In addition to Delhagen and Charron, Forrester’s Paul Sonderegger, senior analyst, will speak. Forrester panelists include Analysts Christopher M. Kelley and James Crawford; and Senior Analyst Jim Nail. Carrie A. Johnson, analyst, and Michael E. Gazala, vice president North American research, will moderate the panel discussions.