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Exploring Innovation in Retail and Private Brand with Justin Honaman of Amazon

In this engaging episode of Velocity Talks, host Christopher Durham sits down with Justin Honaman from Amazon to delve into the intersection of retail, private branding, technology, and sustainability. As a pivotal figure at Amazon Web Services with expertise in worldwide retail and consumer goods, Justin offers profound insights on innovation within industry giants and startup brands alike.

The discussion explores the rapid advancements in customer experience technologies and how retailers are leaning into innovation to enhance physical store experiences and shape new standards and strategies in sales, marketing, and engagement. With the shifting landscape post-COVID, Justin stresses the importance of understanding generative AI and its transformative potential in data analytics and customer service.

Key takeaways from this episode delve into the future of retail stores, the buzz around AI, and the strategies brands are implementing to build deeper customer relationships. The conversation uncovers the surprising dynamism of the sector, revealing the resurgence of interest in physical stores even as digital transformation continues to impel the industry forward.

Key Takeaways:

  • Retailers are keen on innovation, with emerging focus areas being customer experience technologies and AI, especially generative AI.
  • Physical retail stores are expanding, with many retailers opening new locations and investing in technology to improve in-store experiences.
  • Data and analytics continue to be essential, driving the need for further expertise in these areas for the foreseeable future.
  • Companies are seeking to bridge the customer experience across physical and digital platforms.
  • Generative AI is a pressing topic with substantial implications that industry professionals should lean into understanding.

Notable Quotes:

“Our mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.”

“Retail stores are open, they’re growing… They’re investing in loyalty, they’re putting new apps together, their e-commerce platforms are shifting.”

“Besides all the models and what you can do with them around images and text and whatnot, it’s really shining a light on data challenges for most of the companies we work with.”

“Supply chain is certainly still top of list. And then for both consumer goods and retail. Data and analytics has always been important, and it’s going to continue to be top of mind for every organization.”

“If you’re not leaning in to it AI at least understand it, please do. This is not metaverse and blockchain… generative AI is one that we view as a significant game changer.”

Tune into the full episode of Velocity Talks to hear all the insights from Justin Honaman on the revolutionary trends shaping retail, private brands, and technology. Keep up with the latest conversations that fuse practical industry knowledge with forward-thinking strategies by staying connected to the Velocity Institute’s series.

About Justin

Justin Honaman is a seasoned professional in the field of retail and consumer goods. With ten years at Coca-Cola and several years at Georgia-Pacific under his belt, he brings extensive industry knowledge to his current role at Amazon Web Services, where he leads the worldwide retail and consumer goods go-to-market team. He collaborates with various retailers and brands, both established and emerging, and has a background in technology and consulting from his time at Accenture and Ernst & Young. Holding a degree as an industrial engineer from Georgia Tech, Justin combines his analytical skills with creative problem-solving to facilitate innovation and customer-centric solutions in the retail space.

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About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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