Mastering the Retail Game: 6 Key Takeaways from a ThinkTank Event

Yael Kochman


Tips and tricks

Last week, I was invited to attend a ThinkTank event in London. The event included two diverse panel discussions with leading brands and retailers, each followed by roundtable discussions that allowed the participants to dive deeper into the topics covered in the panels.

This article delves into the key takeaways from the event, shedding light on the nuances of social media, influencer marketing, live shopping, and the importance of strategic partnerships in today’s retail arena.

Social Media: Nurturing Ground, Not a Sales Floor:

Social media is hard to convert into sales, and maybe that’s OK – according to Darren Topp of L.K. Bennet, the primary driver is engagement – you want to keep being top of mind with customers in between occasions so they’ll come back to you to buy the next time they need. Both Darren Topp and Paul Stafford of Superdrug echoed a sentiment that many retailers grapple with – the challenge of converting social media engagement into direct sales. Stafford further underlined this point, suggesting that platforms like TikTok Shops are “long-term bets,” emphasizing the need for patience and a focus on building brand awareness over time.

Letting Customers Guide Content Creation:

Jack Zambakides of D. Louise provided a valuable lesson on content creation – saying his team learned “not judge content before it goes live”. His advice to let the audience judge resonates with the growing importance of data-driven content strategies. By analyzing metrics and audience engagement, retailers can tailor their content to what resonates most with their target demographic. This approach ensures that content remains dynamic, evolving with the ever-changing preferences of the audience.

Influencer Marketing: Authenticity as the Currency:

The resounding message from Jack Zambakides and the event’s participants was clear – authenticity is the new currency in influencer marketing. Aligning influencers with your brand values and ensuring that product promotion feels natural within their content is paramount. Attempting to force unnatural partnerships or product placements risks alienating the very audience you seek to engage. As JAck put it – aim for “minimum behavior change” – find an influencer that is already associated with your brand or with similar products who can represent your products in a natural way as part of their personality and routine.

Live Shopping: An Untapped Opportunity:

The potential of live shopping was a focal point of the event, with David Blakeney predicting an imminent explosion in its popularity. The high conversion rates and engagement associated with live shopping, is tempting for brands and retailers alike. However, since this is a new channel for them, they remain concerned about some challenges. Lama Hayek highlighted the fear of the unknown, while Anju Mahbubani shared challenges in managing a live environment with less control. To me, this unpredictability is part of live shopping’s charm. The audience is not expecting a script show, but wants to see their favorite creators in their real, authentic way – contributing to higher audience engagement and resulting in increased sales compared to regular e-commerce.

Partnership is Key: Finding Your “Dream Team”:

Myles Ejegi-Memeh emphasized the importance of choosing partners who operate as an extension of your team, and advised to “look for flexibility” and find partners that will work with you as if they were part of your team. I’m proud to say this is a feedback we constantly get from our clients, as Tatiana Wolter-Ferguson of Hardly Ever Worn It commented at ShopTalk in regards to buywith “it’s not just about the platform but about the team”.

Building a Community Beyond Products:

Ben Hardy of Astrid & Miyu offered a refreshing perspective on brand engagement. He spoke of the importance of building a community around your brand through channels like podcasts and live events. By going beyond traditional product-centric approaches, retailers can foster a deeper connection with their audience. The article suggests that this strategy not only increases brand loyalty but also contributes to long-term success.


The ThinkTank event provided a glimpse into the strategies shaping the future of retail. From the evolving role of social media to the challenges and charms of live shopping, the key takeaways underscore the importance of adaptability, authenticity, and collaborative partnerships.
As retailers navigate this dynamic landscape, embracing these insights can pave the way for sustained growth and customer loyalty in the ever-evolving world of modern commerce.

Yael Kochman
Chief Marketing Officer at buywith

Yael Kochman is the Chief Marketing Officer at buywith, a leading live shopping platform and creator marketplace. Yael is a retail and commerce innovation expert and marketing leader with over 15 years of extensive experience in marketing and business development. Recognized as among the 100 influential people in retail tech and acknowledged by HubSpot as one of the 59 female marketers to follow, Yael’s remarkable career spans co-founding Re:Tech, an innovation hub for retail tech.


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