October 29, 2018

This year’s FUTR Asia summit was focused on charting the future of retail, marketing and commerce from the perspective of Asia’s digitally-savvy consumers. 3,000 attendees from 31 countries came together at Suntec Exhibition and Conference Centre to examine the relentless pace of innovation and disruption across key industries towards a “seamless journey” for customers. The summit hosted more than 3,000 of the world’s most disruptive brands, retailers, solution providers and personalities who anchored more than 60-presentations, panels discussions and showcases across the summit’s two days.

In its third edition, the FUTR Asia Summit welcomed new conference tracks such as Consumer Goods, Breaking China & New Markets, and Startup Innovation Lab, and introduced popular fireside chats, including Re-Hub & Mango, Unruly & P&G, Criteo & Go-Jek and Indahash & J&J, allowing visitors to unearth greater insight and analytics that will better equip them to tackle challenges from tomorrow’s ever-evolving marketplace.

The Best Moments


Highlights from day one included the opening keynote by Theo Vassilakis, Group CTO at GRAB, who shared how Grab is being creative in targeting Asian mobile users, impacting customers’ needs through localisation of products, and going beyond the status quo to improving its services with new technology. Carlson Choi, Global Chief Digital Officer at Jollibee Foods Corporation highlighted the key pillars for digital transformation success by presenting key examples of both learnings and failings along the way at Jollibee and previous companies. Also, the closing keynote from One Championship on New Market brand building, discussed the importance of product & service innovation, investment strategy and authenticity proved extremely valuable.

Stand out sessions from day two included Twitter’s presentation on how Nike and Heinz unleashed creativity on Twitter and converted their audiences into brand advocates; and the keynote panel discussion which brought together some very influential and forward-thinking regional C-suites from TATA SIA Airlines Ltd, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson and Criteo to share the biggest technology challenges, collaboration necessities and new ideas required for businesses to prosper in changing times.

Visitors were also treated to a variety of engaging presentations, offering them a glimpse into the future of marketing, retail and commerce – Zero Friction Customer Experience by Facebook took business through the friction points across different stages of the consumers’ journey and shared strategies for removing them. Meltwater’s presentation showed how you can move your customers from a passive position to brand advocacy. Zendesk, one of the primary sponsors for the summit this year showcased how AI is fast emerging as the best way to offer a genuinely one-to-one experience to customers without the big price tag. Finally, the Startup Innovation Lab brought together 12 of Asia’s most ambitious startups that are reimagining the future retail and commerce today.

FUTR Summit also hosted a number of exclusive FUTR Backstage events which was a dedicated area of the Summit that hosted brand and retailer roundtables, workshops and lunches. These backstage programmes brought Asia’s leading companies together to have closed group discussions on opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Highlights of the programme included:

● What a Successful E-commerce Strategy Looks Like for the Rising Centennial Generation hosted by Dentsu Aegis Network, dived deep into understanding the next billion shoppers revealing their opinions about e-commerce—what they expect, their buying behaviours and more.

● Transform shopper experience with unified commerce hosted by Adyen, examined how retailers can boost customer loyalty by utilising richer payments data and shopper insights from offline and online channels to create personalised shopping experiences for repeat customers. As well as, how payment methods like WeChat Pay can prove crucial to a frictionless customer experience.

● Next-Gen CX is actually within your grasp today hosted by Sitecore, demonstrated how technologies such as voice, VR and AR can fit into your CX strategy and program within realistic timeframes and budgets and why companies should not be scared of embracing CX beyond the web browser.


FUTR Asia also presented the prestigious FUTR Innovations Awards 2018 to recognise excellence in the market, to acknowledge those embracing the evolving commerce landscape and building new brands, solutions, campaigns, technologies or platforms that are enabling change in the Industry.

Winners included Dentsu X for their strategic thinking for Disney Studios in the Retail Reinvented category, DDB Mudra Group for their neglected state of sanitary hygiene in digital India in the Killer Campaign Category. The new category, FUTR Inspiring Partnerships was won by DBS bank. Shuga PTE Ltd won the Best Retail Solution category, with their cost-per-visit platform rejuvenation of Singapore’s brick and mortar scene, and lastly the Brand of the year was won by Grab, nominated by Teneo. Grab is one of the most frequently used online to offline (020) mobile platform in Southeast Asia providing the everyday services that matter most to consumers, commute, eat and shop.

Game-Changing Discussions From The Key Industry Tracks

New-Age Advertising—What is a success? Tracking engagement and measuring ROI for New-Age Advertising

Speakers in this track deliberated on how best to measure the success and understand what is working when there are more channels to advertise on than ever before, with social, influencers and online now then the norm.

Travel & Hospitality: Smile, snap, and share! Operating in an age where experience and sharing is everything.

Travel & Hospitality brands and retailers are being tasked to reach and retain today’s travelers and consider how to entice and encourage customer loyalty. Speakers explored how content curation, strategy, storytelling, and innovation continues to be the key to helping brands become and remain the first choice.

Retail Evolution: Replacing click for brick, driving a new era of a personalised and immersive shopping experience.

There are many places that customers can learn about your product and services. Understanding the customer’s interactions (both online and offline) is crucial. Speakers of the track concretised strategies that put the consumer at the forefront and explored how the adoption of data sciences, machine learning and AI are revolutionising a marketer’s role, as well as enhancing product discovery, improving personalisation and securing the future for instore.

Getting creative with your data and using personalisation to get ahead

Speakers of this track converged to discuss about how using empirical data, technology and culture of experimentation can drive a better business decision. From using customers’ data points including online, social media, forecasts and records to improve sales, while not being seen as invasive.

Direct to consumer revolution in the end to end e-commerce

It doesn’t matter if your retail business starts off as an online or offline business, a desktop business or a mobile-first proposition. Consumers simply expect a consistent interface across all channels. Speakers in the session discussed how you could be a channel agnostic provider and capture the sales before you lose their attention. Customer payment preference, rewards programmes and conveniences are all fueling the retail and e-commerce landscape.

This changes everything—How Al is transforming marketing as we know it

There is so much buzz around AI that it can be hard to understand how and where it has the most significant impact. Speakers discussed how the hype could be a highly powerful tool to capture the attention and hearts of today’s digital-savvy customers.

Consumer goods – How are leading brands using off-line data to sell more

From ingredients to influencers and marketing channels to the marketplace, the FMCG industry is going through a massive overhaul. Speakers explored the changing consumption and behavioral habits of Asia consumers and how whitespace innovations are helping brands stay ahead of the curve through proactive innovation that brings meaningful benefits to consumers.

Breaking China and New Markets

The world’s most populous nations are notoriously complicated markets for non-Chinese and non-Indians companies. Speakers shared how you can adapt your strategies and expand to become profitable and leading brands in these nations