FULL PROGRAM

Discover the latest in creating seamless, efficient, customer-centric operations and fulfillment
from industry experts

 

Use the Add to My Agenda buttons to compile a Personalized Agenda of the sessions you wish to attend. Then submit an email address at bottom of screen to receive your Personalized Agenda in your inbox!

Tuesday | April 3

10:45 AM – 7:00 PM
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Registration Open

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
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Lunch for Workshop Participants

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
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Abercrombie & Fitch Facility Tour

Bus Departs Convention Center: 1:00 PM

Tour: 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Bus Returns to Convention Center: 3:00 PM
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
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Master Class Workshop: Defining and Optimizing the Customer Experience

Since customer acquisition is much more expensive than retention, the quality and consistency of the experience along the entire customer journey will make or break your retention rate and profitability.

To help you up your game, this workshop will cover every aspect of customer service and the customer experience. This includes: Finding and retaining agents that are true brand ambassadors; the effective use of social channels; the role of technology; and meeting customers across mobile, desktop, chat or phone.

Leading merchant practitioners will share their experiences in the trenches, including best practices for aligning people, processes and technology to consistently delight customers, win loyalty and drive sales.

This Master Class Workshop will cover:
• Making the cross-channel experience as seamless and friction-free as possible • Recruiting, hiring, training and retention best practices
• Improving communication along the entire customer journey and relationship
• Leveraging social channels to increase engagement, solve issues and create champions
• Using data and analytics to improve the overall CX and drive lifetime value
• Leveraging feedback and VoC to improve processes across departments
Wokshop Leader:
Speakers:
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
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Master Class Workshop: Taking Omnichannel to the Next Level

While there are some who would like to see the term “omnichannel” disappear, it remains the best word for capturing the new reality of retail: Shoppers want to have it their way, to paraphrase an old ad, and you have to respond to their heightened expectations.

Yet most retailers still struggle with the execution side of omnichannel, working to change on the fly as they update legacy systems, silos and processes. The difficulty of achieving real-time, cross-channel inventory visibility is a key challenge, leading to fulfillment issues that can negatively impact your business.

This workshop will bring together an expert panel of practitioners in the trenches of omnichannel who will talk frankly about the challenges they’re facing and critically, what they’re doing to solve them. The aim is to help you improve the performance and profitability of your omnichannel operations in a hypercompetitive environment.

This Master Class Workshop will cover:

• Dealing with the “new normal” – rising customer expectations and the Amazon effect
• Refining omnichannel strategy to address dynamic changes
• Addressing what’s fixable now (inventory management, fulfillment)
• Tactical approaches (ship to store, ship from store, BOPIS, reserve online, curbside pickup, etc.)
• Best practices in drop shipping to bulk up inventory and reduce risk
• Working across merchants, brands, providers, carriers
• A look down the road: conversational commerce, AI, mobile, etc.
Wokshop Leader:
  • Jim Barnes, Senior Managing Partner, President, CEO, enVista
Panelists:
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
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Master Class Workshop: The Fundamentals of Operations & Fulfillment

Whether you’re someone who’s just starting out in direct-to-customer operations or you’ve been at it a while, this half-day workshop will go over the basics while also providing a review for experienced total operations management. Strategies and tactics in DTC and omnichannel operations will be covered in depth, giving you practical tools to help you deliver superior call center and fulfillment services as a competitive advantage. This workshop will place an emphasis on real-world examples as well as interaction and engagement with attendees.

The bottom line: You’ll come away with actionable ideas to maximize performance and operational efficiency throughout your front-end and back-end operations. This workshop is a must for anyone responsible for executing DTC or omnichannel fulfillment, from supervisors to executives.

In this Master Class Workshop you will learn:
• How to set up and execute your operations organizational plan
• What delivery service level/speed is right for you and your customers
• How to make the returns process as clear and simple as possible
• How to set customer care expectations and measure the results
• How to establish levels of authority to handle customers more efficiently
• About different upselling approaches and finding ones that work
• Best practices in receiving, vendor management, QC and more
• How to turn your call center into a profit center
• About how pay for performance can reward your top performers AND reduce costs

Wokshop Leader:
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
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DHL eCommerce Facility Tour

Bus Departs Convention Center: 2:00 PM

Tour: 2:30 – 3:30 PM

Bus Returns to Convention Center: 4:00 PM
2:30 PM – 4:45 PM
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Amazon Facility Tour

Bus Departs Convention Center: 2:30 PM

Tour: 3:00 – 4:15 PM

Bus Returns to Convention Center: 4:45 PM
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
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Ascena Retail Group Facility Tour

Bus Departs Convention center: 3:00 PM

Tour: 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Bus Returns to Convention Center: 5:00 PM
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
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Welcome Party - Exhibit Hall Preview & Reception

The Welcome Party kicks off your 2018 Operations Summit experience in style. Grab some apps, have a cocktail and meet up with fellow attendees and speakers. Start planning out your three days at Ecommerce Operations Summit.

Join us on Tuesday, April 3rd – more details to come. See you there!

Welcome Party sponsored by:
Canada Post
Chicago Tag & Label
Hy-Tek Material Handling
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
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Distillery Tours

Bus departs 7:15 PM
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
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Networking Event

Wednesday | April 4

7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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Registration Open

8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
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Breakfast Roundtables

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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Exhibit Hall Open

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
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Keynote: Intelligent Assistant, Machine Learning, Robotics, IoT - Keeping Up with What’s Next in Ecommerce

The only constant in ecommerce and direct-to-customer operations and fulfillment is change. Rapid advances in technology and delivery methods are racing to keep up with rising customer and performance expectations, driven not just by Amazon but by the fast-evolving world of ecommerce and retail in general.

In this keynote presentation, Ivan Tchakarov, Director of Operations for Google Express, will talk about the current ecommerce landscape, moves by the major players, the seismic shifts taking place in technology and their implications for fulfillment and logistics operations.
Keynote:
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
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Coffee Break in the Expo Hall

10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Using Customer Journey Reconstruction as a Powerful Tool in CX Design

Building genuine customer empathy is a challenge in any service environment, and this is compounded when even tried-and-true CX methods present customers as theoretical entities. But when that customer has a name, when you frame the actual event, and when you hear the raw emotion in the customer’s own words, empathy is inescapable and becomes a powerful motivator for action. Your customers are talking all along the journey – are you listening?

In this session, two customer experience design professionals from Verizon Business Solutions share how they created a customer journey reconstruction practice that takes journey mapping beyond identification of touchpoints to real customer names, real dates and times and real customer voices.

This session will cover:
• How you already have the data needed to reconstruct journeys and bring customer stories to life
• How reconstructing actual customer journeys exposes the root causes of customer pain in unexpected places
• How journey reconstruction can lead to process and organizational changes, eliminating customer pain points
• How emotion and empathy now have a seat alongside hard data in C-level meetings

Speakers:
  • Cary Cusumano, Manager, Ease of Commerce Marketing, Customer Experience, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
  • Erin Van Remortel, Customer Experience Strategist, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Fulfillment Mountaineering: Handling Major and Minor Demand Peaks

Without a successful peak, it’s nearly impossible to hit your target financials. Many businesses face a non-holiday peak season or have several “mini-peaks” throughout the year, presenting inventory and staffing challenges. While your company may have amazing products, engaging marketing and top-of-the-line delivery options, shortcomings in operational execution can make or break your year.

So how do you successfully navigate the challenges of varying levels of demand and staffing? In this session you’ll hear from the leaders of dynamic supply chains who will discuss how they manage non-traditional peaks. You’ll walk away with ready-to-implement principles for your supply chain.

This session will cover:
• Tactics to maximize productivity and optimize resources
• How to evaluate peak performance to adjust and streamline processes
• Best practices for working with vendors and carriers
Moderator:
Panelists:
  • Jim Wells, Vice President of Transportation, Distribution and Channel Logistics, Starbucks
  • Joe Morrow, Senior Director, Logistics and Operations, Samsung Electronics America
  • Ian Hobkirk, Founder, Managing Director, Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors
10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Blockchain: The Next Big Thing in Omnichannel?

Blockchain has been getting a lot of attention recently as the technology behind crypto-currency platforms like bitcoin, but its potential as an enabler of smarter supply chains is gaining ground. Test cases have demonstrated blockchain’s potential for making data sharing across supply chain partners more secure through the use of “smart contracts,” while eliminating costly logistics (and fulfillment?) errors. Even with this great potential, however, there is a need for standardization across technology providers and organizations, plus broader industry buy-in.

This session will cover current efforts to leverage blockchain for decentralizing retail supply chains, making them more agile and configurable to meet the constantly changing dynamics of supply and demand. It will also address standardization efforts that aim to provide all stakeholder groups with a common foundation to unleash the power of blockchain applications.

This session will cover:
• How blockchain can enable massive networks to operate within a decentralized, distributed operating platform
• How it can improve traceability throughout the supply chain to improve product authenticity
• Use cases and pilots using blockchain in retail and ecommerce settings
• How the ubiquity of smart devices and mobile apps can be a game-changer for data sharing via blockchain
• The status of blockchain standardization and adoption efforts and the implications for retail and ecommerce
Moderator:
  • Melanie Nuce, Vice President of Apparel and General Merchandise, GS1
10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Sprint to the Last Mile: Optimizing the Costliest Leg of Fulfillment

It’s no secret that the last mile of fulfillment – from the final node to the doorstep – is the most costly. Retailers, ecommerce companies, carriers and service providers have all been wrestling with this conundrum, seeking creative solutions to a vexing, expensive problem. Various consolidation approaches offer promise, including parcel lockers and store or curbside pickup services. While convenient for some, not everyone is interested in making a special trip to collect their purchase.

What is the latest thinking on conquering the last mile of ecommerce? What solutions are being put into play and what kind of benefits do they deliver? How is technology being leveraged to optimize routing? How about crowdsourcing and ridesharing solutions? We’ll take a deep dive into the players and systems, what’s working and what’s next.

This session will cover:
• Owning the “moment that matters”: delivery in hand
• Ways to shorten the last mile
• Driving optimization, finding efficiencies
• The latest solutions and what’s coming next

Speakers TBA
Moderator:
  • Marc Smith, Director, Strategy and Ecommerce Market Development, Canada Post
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
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Is the Future Now? Using AR and Heads-Up Display in the DC

While Google Glass never took off as a cool gadget for consumers, augmented reality is having a second life as an enterprise tool in manufacturing and distribution facilities. So far it has shown benefits in both picking and cross-docking applications. AR solutions can also cut down on fixed infrastructure costs such as pick-to-light systems and put walls.
DHL eCommerce has been testing both Google Glass and a related AR system at facilities in the Netherlands and in Columbus, OH, the latter for a major fashion retailer and a technology firm. An operations executive from DHL and an industry expert will discuss their experience implementing the technology and the results achieved to date, including increased associate productivity and overall picking efficiency gains.

This session will cover:
• The types of use cases where AR makes sense, and where it doesn’t
• Results to date of AR implementations in DTC operations
• Integration and infrastructure issues and how they’re addressed
• Untapped potential and where the technology is headed

Speakers TBA
Speakers:
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
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(Close to) Real-Time Inventory Visibility: Holy Grail or Achievable?

Inventory visibility impacts suppliers, retailers and consumers alike. Consumers like to see what’s available so they know the item will be at the store or arrive on time at their doorstep. Without sufficient visibility across channels – including in transit – retailers may not know where inventory is, when more will be needed or when shipments will arrive. And suppliers risk letting down retailers and consumers when they fail to hold up their end of the bargain.

In today’s omnichannel world, greater inventory visibility is required to meet rising customer expectations. Success depends on both accurate visibility (across channels, distribution and fulfillment points) and the speed with which that information is made available to customers. How close to real time can it get? Learn from retailer examples how available to promise can become a promise that is kept on a more consistent basis.

This session will cover:
• Increasing available inventory, including selling against the future (POs, returns)
• Achieving tighter vendor-retailer collaboration and data sharing
• Improving SKU-level accuracy across channels
• Technology advances and their impact on visibility (IoT, RFID, analytics, etc.)
Moderator:
Panelists:
  • Jason Seemann, Senior Manager, Omnichannel and Order Management, Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Michael Smith, Senior Vice President, Omnicommerce, Stage Stores
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
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Speed Order, Aisle 5: The Land Rush in Same-Day Grocery Delivery

It was already happening before Amazon’s shockwave-producing acquisition of Whole Foods, but the push to same-day delivery of online grocery orders – perishable and non-perishable – gained considerable steam from the deal. Now traditional chains like Kroger, Costco and Albertson’s, giants like Target, Amazon and Walmart and specialty providers including Blue Apron and Plated are angling to gain share of a market expected to reach $100 billion by 2025, according to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).

And of course service providers are scrambling to accommodate the grocery land rush, from Instacart, Peapod and Shipt to logistics and fulfillment firms. This panel discussion will cover the latest trends, projections and opportunities available in this fast-growing space.

This session will cover:
• An overview of the online grocery delivery market
• Solutions and services being brought to bear
• Customer expectations and how they’re being met
• Where the sector is headed

Panelists TBA
Moderator:
  • Mark Baum, Chief Collaboration Officer, Food Marketing Institute
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
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Keynote: Anyway, Anywhere, Anytime - Challenges and Opportunities in Omnichannel

Be it omnichannel, unified commerce or just plain commerce, the new normal in delivering on expectations and hitting exacting service levels is creating challenges up and down the supply chain. It’s causing ecommerce startups and traditional retailers alike to take a fresh look at supply chain and distribution network design to address the rapid changes taking place.

Eva Ponce, Executive Director of the MITx MicroMasters Program in Supply Chain Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, will draw from her research as well as work with executives from top retailers in this keynote presentation to address challenges, trends and the way forward. She’ll touch on data-driven approaches to optimizing supply chain and distribution models, as well as how various disruptive technologies are shaping the future of omnichannel operations.
Keynote:
  • Eva Ponce, Executive Director, MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management, MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics
1:45 PM – 2:30 PM
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Dessert Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall

2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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It Should All Look the Same: Creating True Cross-Channel Customer Centricity

While a lot of the talk in omnichannel involves creating a consistent experience across channels, it’s difficult to achieve in practice. Does everything look and feel the same to customers whether they’re shopping in your store, browsing your ecommerce site or checking in on mobile? In what ways? And how are you working toward that goal?

It takes a cultural shift in an organization to make this happen, but at what point does the momentum start to swing? Does ecommerce have to go from 5% to 20% of sales before “customer centricity” becomes institutionalized across inventory assortment, pricing/promotion, etc.? We’ll address these issues from the perspective of companies that have wrestled with and are wrestling with this dilemma, and discuss approaches they’re taking.

This session will cover:
• The definition of customer-centricity
• What “the same” should look like
• Overcoming hurdles to a consistent experience
• Successful change management tactics
Speakers:
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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Knowing When and How to Choose a 3PL Partner

With the advent of same-day shipping and the popularity of Amazon, more ecommerce shippers are considering third-party fulfillment (3PL) to help them meet the challenges of a hyper-competitive market and customers’ heightened service-level expectations. But to make this happen, they need to know what to look for in a 3PL partner, what technologies to consider and how to effectively benchmark providers.

This session will outline how SweatBlock evaluated and settled on its 3PL provider. It will be loaded with expertise and practical tips on the entire process, including setting requirements, conducting research, final selection and the contract phase that helped SweatBlock partner with the right 3PL based on its current and future needs.

This session will cover:

• When in your evolution a 3PL partnership should be considered
• What elements go into the selection process
• Fulfillment charges and costs to consider
• Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you evaluate 3PLs
• Other resources to help in your selection process
Speakers:
  • Austin Graff, Director of Operations, SweatBlock
  • Krish Iyer, Director, Shipping & Logistics Solutions, ShipStation
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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Harnessing Data, Automation to Optimize Drop Shipping for Suppliers and Retailers

The massive amounts of B2B data sharing required for drop shipping means that manual systems are often unable to maintain the needed accuracy, timeliness and segmentation. But with the proper automated tech stack and processes, much higher volumes of accurate and timely B2B data can be exchanged and harnessed for optimized drop shipping operations.

This panel discussion will explore how data and automation can provide the intelligence and analytics required for optimization. We will discuss state-of-the-art B2B data technologies, machine learning pattern recognition AI, and best practices for gathering, exchanging and analyzing inventory, order and shipping data.

This session will cover:
• How suppliers and retailers must partner together to develop data automation
• Why accuracy, timeliness, and segmentation are the foundations of data automation
• Why data standardization is necessary for machine learning and AI pattern recognition
• How standardized shipping data and automation can lower overhead and augment the customer experience
• Common inventory blindness patterns that help automate inventory availability logic

Moderator:
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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Supply Chain Intelligence: Taking Action on Your Data

So you have an audit platform and you monitor carrier performance. You track dozens of data points and you file for refunds from the carriers. Is this all that matters to you?

Audit platforms should not simply be “auditing” the carriers in hopes of reaping a 1%-2% reward that you end up splitting with your audit provider. It’s about constructing the right KPI picture for your supply chain and taking decisive action as warranted by your data, your shipping trends and industry changes. In this session, two supply chain experts on the shipper and provider side will discuss how to leverage business intelligence to optimize complex supply chains.

This session will cover:
• What goes into comprehensive KPI construction
• Which KPIs matter most to your supply chain
• Analyzing the bottom-line and customer experience impact of action/inaction
• Leveraging your data to build a compelling business case for carrier procurement
Speakers:
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
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The Rise of Chatbots and AI in Customer Care

From handing out lifestyle advice to helping you find that perfect pair of shoes, chatbots are opening up a new era of retailer-customer interaction. Also known as virtual agents, chatbots are computer programs using artificial intelligence (AI) to respond to text or verbal commands and questions, providing advice and answers in place of a human agent.

While they have many benefits, chatbots can also create another hurdle separating customers from a live someone who can answer difficult questions and show the compassion and good will that underpin a great service experience. We’ll explore the ins and outs of this rapidly growing capability, and discuss scenarios where it does and doesn’t make sense.

This session will cover:

• How chatbots work
• Their benefits and limitations
• The interplay between live and virtual agents
• Use cases and success stories
• Where the technology is headed

Speakers TBA
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
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Translating Your Strategic Plan into Operational Objectives

As senior management looks forward three to five years, how do you plan the changes required in your DTC operations? What changes are needed to meet your strategic plan’s objectives, including merchandise, processes, facilities, systems and shipping? In a competitive environment, there is always pressure to make these changes quickly.

This session will provide tools to help you develop operational projects that are in sync with your company’s strategic plans. A panel of senior operations leaders will discuss their planning processes at a high level. They’ll also talk about how they translate requirements into long-term solutions in line with organizational goals.

This session will cover:
• Planning and follow-up steps to success
• How to involve your DC staff
• How to conduct risk analysis of the options being considered
• Tips to help you deliver projects on time and within budget
Moderator:
Panelists:
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
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From Anywhere to Everywhere: Executing on the Promise of Omnichannel

All customer A knows is she wants her shoes to be at your store near her Columbus, OH home by tomorrow for pickup, as she was promised at checkout – even though they’re being shipped from an ecommerce DC in Michigan. Customer B, meanwhile, expects that espresso machine to be at his Dallas office in two days, as it makes its way down from a store in Salt Lake City.

Behind these (to them) seemingly simple transactions lies a web of complexity on the back end, as the order data flows from checkout to OMS, inventory management, WMS and transportation systems to make the magic happen. For you, a lot is riding on how well the order is orchestrated, resulting in service-level success and a happy customer. We will touch on various aspects of omnichannel execution in different scenarios, from order to door.

This session will cover:
• The concept of order orchestration
• Tapping the power of sourcing logic
• Tying it to back-end logistics
• Getting to seamlessness on the customer end

Panelists TBA
Moderator:
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
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Mastering Small Parcel Contract Negotiations: Insider's Playbook for Best-in-Class Pricing Agreements

If you are involved the procurement of pricing for vendors like FedEx and UPS, make sure you attend this interactive presentation for a crash course on the tips, tricks and tactics of professional parcel negotiators. Parcel contracts are highly negotiable, but pricing is complex and conditional, and most businesses lack benchmarking and other comparative information. As a result, 9 out 10 businesses are overspending for these services!

Led by a leading professional consultant with decades of experience negotiating parcel contracts on both sides of the table, this session will provide invaluable information to help you reduce overall shipping costs by as much as 30%.

This session will cover:
• How to avoid the most common negotiating mistakes
• Negotiating the best upfront discounts, contracts and services
• The use of statistical benchmarking data to compare pricing to peers
• Analyzing parcel data for reporting and auditing to lower shipping costs, improve productivity and enhance carrier communication
• Create and utilize leverage to improve your position during contract negotiations

Speakers:
4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
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Attention, Mid-Market Merchants: How to Win in an Amazon Prime World

Today’s mid-market online seller is struggling. Shipping costs are on the rise, profit margins are shrinking and competition is growing quickly. In an Amazon Prime world, free two-day shipping is now the expectation, and no longer a way to differentiate and delight customers. Today, shipping programs can literally make or break profitability. How do you not only compete but win?

New research from Pulse Commerce will analyze the performance and behavior of leading mid-market merchants. It will track real orders, analyzing more than 50,000 data points throughout the entire purchase path. The insights gained will help you optimize for higher conversion rates and increased profitability along the entire customer journey.

This session will cover:
• Insights into merchant behavior across product categories, covering nearly 100 parameters
• Leading packaging, shipping and communications strategies used by your peers
• Taking advantage of opportunities before and after the buy button
• Returns program strategies, the massive satisfaction gap, and where to invest
Speakers:
4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
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Taking Your Fulfillment to the Cloud

With an explosion in the popularity of subscription boxes, it’s tempting for ecommerce companies to explore a subscription offering as an added revenue source. But it pays to understand the unique challenges associated with subscription order fulfillment. From managing inventory to getting orders out the door, there’s an exact science behind well-oiled subscription commerce – and warehouse management technology makes it possible.

Hear from gamer-based apparel and collectibles subscription service Loot Crate about why and when a best-of-breed WMS became a necessity. Today the company uses its system to support rapid growth, accurately fulfilling hundreds of thousands of orders a month.

This session will cover:
• What to look for when selecting a WMS
• Why Loot Crate chose a cloud-based system vs. an on-premise solution
• Steps to a successful WMS implementation
• Helping your warehouse team transition from basic inventory data collection solution to a best-of-breed solution
Speakers:
4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
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RFID in Omnichannel: Third Time's the Charm?

The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in supply chain and inventory management has seen a couple waves of interest in the past 20 years, only to subside again as the ROI wasn’t proven out. Now a “third wave” is coming as retailers and brands including Macy’s, Target, Levi Strauss and Lululemon have seen some success in RFID deployments.

For this reason RFID is becoming a bigger part of the inventory management equation, with cheaper tags enabling broader use for tracking goods at the pallet, case and even SKU level, in stores and DCs. While there are definite advantages over barcode labels, the RFID decision process requires careful costs/benefit analysis.

This session will cover:
• The pros and cons of RFID for retailers and brands
• Discussion of use cases and implementation examples
• The impact on inventory visibility and labor costs
• The latest on RFID standards adoption

More speakers TBA
Moderator:
4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
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Getting Out from Under All Those Ecommerce Returns

Once a supply chain afterthought, reverse logistics has become a big deal as ecommerce sellers search for ways to tackle return rates that can easily top 30% in some categories, compared to about 9% across all of retail. Given this reality they’re looking for ways to process boomerang items quickly and cost effectively, be it back to stock, reconditioning or liquidation – or in some cases, no return at all.

To address this increasing challenge, steps can be taken on the front end to reduce the flow and on the back end to gain efficiency and lower costs. This panel of experts will talk about the latest trends in reverse logistics, creative solutions being brought to bear and how technology is being leveraged to handle the flow of returned goods.

This session will cover:
• Pre-purchase steps, including returns policy and customer communication
• Post-purchase and reverse logistics
• Ways to create a “circular supply chain”
• Using financial analysis to determine disposition
• New tools and techniques for handling returns

Speakers TBA
Speakers:
  • Brent Bachochin, Vice President, Distribution Operations, Cornerstone Brands
5:20 PM – 6:30 PM
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Networking Pub Crawl in Exhibit Hall

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
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Networking Event: Dine Around

Thursday | April 5

7:00 AM – 12:30 PM
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Registration Open

8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
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Breakfast Roundtables

8:00 AM – 1:30 PM
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Exhibit Hall Open

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
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The Post-Purchase Experience: Meeting Shopper Needs After the Click

Ecommerce has forever changed how consumers interact with brands. From social media to AI-powered chatbots, they can reach you anytime through a variety of mediums. As in any relationship, brands today need to make sure they’re initiating the conversation to adequately promote loyalty. More than just promotions or new products, shoppers want consistent, thoughtful interactions with their favorite brands throughout the lifecycle.

This means avoiding the mindset that the exchange is over once they click “buy.” From delivery, customer care, returns and other issues, you need to be prepared to extend the interaction and drive a high-quality experience. A panel of retail professionals will discuss ways to establish meaningful customer relationships throughout the post-purchase period. You’ll come away with tips on creating positive brand interactions that strengthen loyalty and positively impact the bottom line.

This session will cover:
• Customer expectations for unique, consistent interaction with their favorite brands
• How retailers can enhance the post-purchase experience for customers
• Actionable advice and tips on how to properly engage with shoppers post-purchase
Moderator:
  • Patrick Allard, Senior Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Newgistics
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
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Warehouse Robotics: Tipping Point or Pipe Dream?

While the automation industry has promoted solutions for more than a quarter century, the last two years have seen an explosion in offerings that promise newer, faster and cheaper robots. But do promises of addressing labor force shortfalls, increased productivity and reduced downtime live up to expectations, or are we just repeating the same slogans we have seen again and again?

A noted expert in supply chain strategy and automation will explore the current technology landscape from an agnostic perspective. He’ll address what’s working today and what it will take to get us to a future state where warehouse robotics is a must-have, attainable capability in merchant DC operations.

This session will cover:
• Industry trends driving the adoption of warehouse robotics
• The current state of technologies being utilized
• How leading companies are tacking warehouse robotics projects
• What problems need to be solved to increase utilization
• What warehouse robotics will look like in the future
Speakers:
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
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From Shark Tank to Omnichannel Mania: How Spikeball Found Success with its Operations Hub

A lack of insight into sales velocity or supply chain can lead to stock-outs that cripple a multichannel business. Enlisting the right systems to scale efficiencies, add channels and manage inventory empowers retailers to punch well above their weight class. Leading up to Spikeball’s Shark Tank appearance, the founders risked selling product without inventory.

Using cloud-based retail management software as a hub integrated with ecommerce and fulfillment platforms, Spikeball has been able to fulfill 100% of its orders the next day. This helped the company handle explosive growth by carefully managing sales and service across Amazon marketplaces, five Shopify stores, its website and 3,000 retail locations.

This session will cover:
• How a high-scale business expanded while staying lean with staff
• How Spikeball manages daily order volume that jumps from hundreds to thousands during peak seasons
• Analyzing inventory flow daily vs. monthly, by customer type and specific channel
• Getting a read on what’s available NOW vs. calling shipping companies, suppliers and warehouses
• Reporting on sales channels and SKUs, and allocating products per channel
Speakers:
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
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Smart Packaging Options to Stay Ahead of Rising Parcel Shipping Costs

Shipping costs are by far your largest fulfillment-related expense. Most companies focus their cost-reduction efforts on optimizing freight strategies when in fact product packaging may hold the most promise for cutting freight expenses and boosting profits.

In this session packaging experts will identify common mistakes made by small-parcel shippers and review a range of packaging options. We will also outline a real-world packaging optimization project for a large B2C shipper that involved automation and packaging type changes to improve product presentation and drastically reduce costs.

This session will cover:
• How to identifying common packaging mistakes
• Understanding how packaging mistakes/oversights drive up shipping costs
• Packaging optimization methods that can reduce costs and improve presentation
• A case study of a company that used packaging to drive down costs

Speakers:
10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
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Making the Social Nets Work: Improving Engagement, Solving Customer Issues

Social media can be an excellent tool for brands to engage with customers and handle issues that arise. While they started as a way to showcase products, sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become great vehicles for dialog and storytelling as well as putting out fires, addressing complaints and sharing the coolest new stuff.

So why are so many brands struggling to meet customer expectations in a space where shoppers spend so much time? Sprout Social ranks retail as second in terms of complaints about lack of social responsiveness. To address this, we’ll highlight examples of companies that are ahead of the curve on effective social communication, and provide tips you can use to bolster your organization’s performance.

This session will cover:
• Why fast response times are good, but not the end goal
• Tips on making your agents empathetic, effective social pros
• The pluses and minuses of various social platforms for brands
• Best practices in social listening and how it benefits you
• Getting internal teams on the same social media page
Moderator:
Speakers:
10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
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Where Do I Ship From? Optimizing Order Sourcing Across Channels

Congratulations! You’ve just added ship from store functionality, transforming your brick-and-mortar locations into a network of mini-FCs, enabling you to get closer to the customer and hit tight service levels. So how do you avoid going from there right to “holy smokes, I just added ship from store”?

The growth of “omnicommerce” has led to challenges including transportation costs, fill rates and inventory positioning. With all this capacity to ship from stores or an ecommerce DC, how do you decide when and where to send orders to be fulfilled? What impact will this have on your in-store sales? We will address the impact of new omnichannel tactics on your fulfillment operations.

This session will cover: • The decision criteria in sourcing orders in your network
• The implications for your technology, people and processes
• What data you need to optimize your solution
• The impact of a successful sourcing strategy

Speakers:
  • Alex Volakis, Senior Omnichannel Strategy Analyst, Abercrombie & Fitch
10:50 AM – 11:30 AM
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Brunch in the Exhibit Hall

11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
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WMS 3.0: Benefit from the Biggest Changes in 20 Years

The choices in warehouse management systems are more distinct now than they have been in years. Whatever the size of your organization, the WMS marketplace demands a thorough look because of new types of software on the market, not just new providers. These systems can deliver functionality that’s quite different from what’s been available.

This discussion will focus on how the new systems can impact productivity, operational flexibility and a DC manager’s ability to coordinate labor. Multichannel retailers, ecommerce companies and 3PL operator, or anyone with a complex warehouse operation will benefit from the information shared.

This session will cover:
• How new-breed WMS systems can add value to small and large DC operations
• How they can optimize labor allocation and reduce associate downtime
• The ROI and making the business case to management
• Types of providers to pursue based on scale, complexity of operations, etc.
Moderator:
11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
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The Three Phases of an Omnichannel Business Model

75% of retailers consider omnichannel to be essential for their business, but nearly 50% are not actively investing in an omnichannel strategy. Why the disconnect? There are certain operational complexities that come with integrating a number of systems and functions across an organization, and these complexities are different for each business.

There is no “one size fits all” omnichannel solution. From a people and process standpoint, introducing a new operating model is no small feat as organizations tend to function in departmental silos that rarely communicate. Retailers tend to fall into one of three different phases of omnichannel maturity in their journey toward achieving a singular view of the customer.

This session will cover:
• An overview of the three phases of omnichannel maturity
• Recommendations on how to move your organization along the path
• Tangible ways to index your organization against the industry
• Making customer-centricity the central objective of your omnichannel strategy
Speakers:
11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
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Cross-Border Ecommerce: The World is Your Market

Ecommerce is forecast to make up 15.5% of total worldwide retail sales by 2021, and cross-border ecommerce is growing just as fast or even faster. Retailers who are cross-border enabled have the opportunity to capitalize on international sales and sell their products to millions of new customers, but it’s no easy feat.

Shippers just getting into cross-border – and even those who have been at it awhile – are constantly running into issues related to time of delivery and cost, effecting both the customer experience and their bottom line. We will discuss both the challenges and solutions, equipping merchants to take advantage of the rapid growth in cross-border ecommerce.

This session will cover:
• The numbers behind cross-border shipping growth
• The top international shipping headaches, and their relief
• Examining your current international processes
• Steps involved in exploring and jumping into cross-border
• Streamlining the cross-border shipping process

Speakers TBA
12:40 PM – 1:30 PM
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The End of the Alphabet: Creating a Standout Customer Experience for Gen Y & Z

Hard on the heels of the millennial generation comes the shoppers of Gen Y and Gen Z – and just when you thought you had the younger folks figured out! These groups not only represent huge sales potential in coming years but also wield tremendous influence on today’s purchasing decisions.

And make no mistake, Gen Y and Gen Z shoppers expect brands to “get” them and their preferences at all times. So you need to understand not only how they’re wired – digitally and otherwise – but what in their minds constitutes a great customer experience. We’ll tap the expertise of brands intimately acquainted with younger shoppers to better understand what it takes to win their hearts and minds with an experience that hits all the right notes.

This session will cover:
• Key traits, characteristics and preferences of each group
• An understanding of what resonates with – and turns off – younger shoppers
• Top tips for leveraging mobile and social channels to maximum effect
• The role of personalization in creating a great experience
Moderator:
Speakers:
  • Justin Garrity, Vice President of Display, Commerce and Integration, Sprinklr
12:40 PM – 1:30 PM
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Getting Out Late-Day Orders: Hitting Cutoffs, Balancing Cost and Service Level

Knowing your service-level commitments, and the growing expectation of two-day delivery, fulfilling late-day orders can prove tricky. With carrier cutoffs set in stone, you have to work against those times to get orders onto the last truck. But you’re also trying to be as cost-effective as possible, which means relegating some of the late-day orders for earlier pickup at a cheaper rate. That means the game of “beat the clock” has been elevated – and this challenge only grows trickier on Fridays, as pickup schedules shift over the weekend.

How do you balance the competing demands of cost and service level on your late-day orders? What about labor management and allocation needed to push them out the door in time? This session will address all the ins and outs of late-day fulfillment, including real-world examples and creative approaches.

This session will cover:
• The various challenges of fulfilling late-day orders
• The cost vs. service level balancing act
• Approaches to labor and resource allocation
• Real-world scenarios and how they were addressed
Speakers:

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