We are just weeks away from our sixth annual North American Demandware XChange conference, where an extended community of more than 1,300 retailers, partners, prospects and others come together to learn and share ideas about our incredibly dynamic industry.

The event, which takes place in Hollywood, Florida April 4 – 6, will feature a truly incredible lineup of speakers; dozens of breakout sessions (some led by the world’s leading brands) covering the topics most relevant to our community; ‘Ask the Experts’ one-on-one sessions with our Retail Practice, Technical Support or Product Management teams; Pacesetter and Partner awards; and, of course, tremendous evening events. See the short video below for highlights of last year’s XChange conference.

One of the themes of this year’s event is how unified commerce can help retailers build a sustainable advantage in the face of unprecedented disruption. Today, the conversion funnel is being pushed forward to the point of discovery. One example, a friend recommends a product to you via a social media or a messaging app and you buy that product right then, without having to leave for the merchant’s site.

This may cause some angst for retailers, but it is the world in which we live, and evolution is necessary. Tomorrow’s winners will be the ones who best adapt. The Economist Intelligence Unit will present research from C-level retail executives, laying out a roadmap for growth strategies, which include geographic expansion, strategic partnerships, new and innovative store formats, new currencies and personalization.

Underpinning all of this is the concept of unified commerce, which empowers retailers to deliver a consistent experience across any channel where shoppers engage, whether web, mobile, social, in-store, marketplace, call center, etc.

A 2015 report by the National Retail Federation, eCommerce Europe and the eCommerce Foundation cited three business benefits of Unified Commerce: the ability to quickly respond to consumer demands, an increase in store associate productivity; and an ability to support omnichannel strategies – all of which ultimately result in improved profit margins, brand value and revenue.

Finally, the cloud platform that provides an essentially versionless flow of new features and capabilities is another key tenet of our vision, and one that we will discuss in more depth at the event. We aim to free you from maintaining your IT environment and concentrate your efforts on differentiating the shopping experience for your customers. They are driving the unyielding pace of change in our industry. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are the Sun around which Earthly retailers must revolve. In a world of ever-changing consumer preferences and technology evolution, our aim is to empower the world’s leading retailers and brands to best serve and grow their client base.

On behalf of everyone at Demandware, I look forward to welcoming you to XChange 2016.