Consumer Experience Symposium at UNT to present guest speakers on mobile shopping

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 14:50

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Thanksgiving weekend 2013 set records for mobile retail sales in the U.S. via smartphones and tablets, accounting for nearly 40 percent of online traffic on Black Friday and nearly a third of all online traffic three days later on Cyber Monday, according to a report from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. The report noted that mobile shopping accounted for just 4 percent of Cyber Monday online traffic in 2010.

University of North Texas merchandising and digital retailing students will learn about the future of mobile shopping during the annual Consumer Experience Symposium April 10 (Thursday). The symposium, "Consumers on the Move," is sponsored by the Global Digital Retailing Research Center in UNT's College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, and will feature four keynote speakers.

The event will be from 8 a.m. to noon in the ballroom of UNT's Gateway Center, 801 North Texas Blvd. The speakers are:

  • Garrett Eastham, co-founder and chief executive officer of Compare Metrics, an Austin company that helps leading brands better engage their online customers. Eastham was previously data and analytics product manager for Bazaarvoice.
  • Sweeni Ponoth, vice president and global practice leader for retail and brands at Symphony Analytics in Plano. He assists retail and manufacturing companies with enabling data-driven decision making.
    •Rita Ramirez, vice president of emerging payments for MasterCard, who has worked with a wide variety of leading financial institutions, major retailers and processors to implement the next generation of payment solutions, such as mobile payments and digital wallets.
  • Kerri Smith, an independent mobile specialist who writes the blog A Mobile Pursuit. Smith previously was the head of mobile performance and strategy for iProspect's Europe, Middle East and Africa division, and worked in account services for iProspect's U.S. office.

Richard Last, senior director of the Global Digital Retailing Research Center, will serve as the moderator for the event. Created in 2013, the interdisciplinary center is the first of its kind in the U.S, advancing the global digital retailing field through collaborations in research, innovation and talent development between industry leaders and those in academics. The center's founding members are JCPenney, LiquidPixels, Rocket Red, Sally Beauty Holdings Inc., Usability Sciences and Zales.

Last said the center's goal "is to not only understand what customers want today, but also look at the data and research to understand what they'll want tomorrow."

"That's what makes the Consumer Experience Symposium and the work of the center so valuable to our students and the retail industry at large. Our half-day event is a very efficient way to stay abreast of what's new, and to do so within the collaborative context of an academic institution educating the next generation of industry leaders," Last said.

In addition to giving their keynote addresses, the four speakers will participate in a panel discussion.

The event is open to a limited number of non-UNT students and to the general public. Non-UNT students can buy individual tickets for $25 with valid college or university identification, while the general public will pay $50 for individual tickets. Parking is included in the cost of the tickets. For more information, contact Lisa Wallace, director of development for the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, at 940-369-7051 or

UNT News Service
(940) 565-2108