FULL PROGRAM

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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:
• Refining omnichannel strategy to meet rising expectations and market changes
• The latest technologies, including best-of-breed vs. single platform approaches
• Working cross-functionally to better understand P&L and impact of omnichannel
• Order sourcing and inventory management
• Tapping vendors and drop shipping to bulk up inventory and decrease risk
• Gaining a single view of the customer to better anticipate and serve their needs
• Tactical tips and insights (ship to store, ship from store, BOPIS, reserve online, curbside pickup, etc.)

Speakers TBA
Presented By:
  • Jim Barnes, Senior Managing Partner, President, CEO, enVista
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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

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Master Class Workshop: Defining and Optimizing the Customer Experience

Numerous studies have shown over the years that its costs much more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So the quality and consistency of the experience you deliver – from first encounter through the sale, fulfillment, post-sale and issue resolution – will make or break your retention rate and profitability.

To help you up your customer game, this Master Class Workshop will cover every aspect of customer service and the customer experience. This includes: finding, empowering and retaining agents that are true brand ambassadors; the effective use of social channels; the role technology plays; and meeting customers wherever they are – on mobile, desktop, chat or phone.

Leading merchant practitioners will share their expertise about their experiences in the trenches, working to align people, processes and technology in pursuit of the universal goal: Consistently delighting customers to win loyalty and drive sales.

Some areas to be covered in this Master Class Workshop include:

• Making the cross-channel experience as seamless and friction-free as possible
• Recruiting, hiring, training and retaining best practices
• Improving communication along the entire customer journey and relationship
• Upping your game in social 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

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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
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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

Presented By:
  • Cary Cusumano, Manager, Ease of Commerce Marketing, Customer Experience, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
  • Erin Van Remortel, Customer Experience Strategist, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
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It Should All Look the Same to Them: Creating True Cross-Channel Customer Centricity

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The Post-Purchase Retail Experience: Winning After the Delivery

A 5% increase in customer retention can improve a company’s profitability by 75%, according to Bain research. Yet most retailers are more focused on acquisition and conversion than retention. Despite investing billions in this pursuit, ecommerce has created a “customer experience gap” for retailers unable to engage customers at key post-purchase moments. Brands are learning the hard way that lackluster engagement and an afterthought communication strategy is a guaranteed way to lose loyalty.

To address this important issue Pulse Commerce conducted mystery shopping at nearly 500 leading U.S. online merchants prior to the 2017 peak holiday shopping season. The result is a picture of true behavior rather than survey feedback, and benchmarking by product category for comparison to peers as well as to Amazon.

This session will cover:
• Insights into merchant behavior across 80 unique post-purchase experience parameters
• The impact of loyalty programs and reward types on growth and sales
• How your returns window, days to refund and return shipping costs affect CX
• The impact of branding and marketing on results (emails, packaging, packing slip, etc.)
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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
Moderated By:
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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
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The Wow Factor: Creating a Memorable Unboxing Experience

When certain companies send a package, it’s instantly recognizable everywhere because it’s doing double-duty as a transport medium and a brand ambassador. However many merchants are failing to take advantage of their packaging – both interior and exterior – to create a “wow factor” that sets them apart in consumers’ minds. And you don’t have to have a major national brand in order to do so.

Find out how you can create a more memorable experience with one of your most tangible customer touchpoints. Don’t just look at your box and consider its integrity and protection factor, as important as that is. Find out how even small details can excite your customers and make them want to share the unboxing experience socially with their friends.

This session will cover:
• The importance of branded packaging in ecommerce
• Key elements that can lead to a “wow”
• When it makes sense to consider a premium approach
• Examples of brands that are getting it right

Speakers TBA
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The Relationship's In Their Hands: Optimizing the Mobile Experience

Given the ubiquity of smart devices, shoppers are tied to them 24/7 – ok, at least 18/7! They’re on the hunt for deals, scanning reviews, comparing prices and making purchases. This is why creating the best possible mobile experience has become crucial to a brand’s success in a channel that’s exploding. According to the NRF, 45% of retailers said mobile initiatives transformed their digital customer experience.

We’ll talk about how retailers can offer the best mobile experience, including the latest trends, apps and technologies for stepping up your game. This will be backed up with real-world examples of mobile experiences that hit – and miss – from an industry expert and a brand practitioner.

This session will cover:
• How UX design can help or hinder the mobile experience
• The impact of voice shopping on m-commerce
• When it’s time to create an app, or refresh your current one
• Making it seamless with product pages, checkout and payments

Speakers TBA
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Communication is Key: Info Sharing Across Departments to Ensure Great CX

As the saying goes, silos belong on farms, but try as you might they’re a fact of life in many organizations regardless of sector. And poor cross-departmental collaboration in retail and ecommerce often lead to poor experiences, such as a breakdown in communication over order status between operations and customer care teams.

While you might not be able to remove silos wholesale, there are ways to open up the channels and work more cooperatively to help ensure that customer experience excellence is a shared enterprise vision. We will provide real-world examples from merchant companies that have been able to overcome logjams and set up successful cross-functional processes (customer care, marketing, supply chain, transportation, operations, etc.).

• This session will cover:
• What stakeholders need to be involved and why
• Setting expectations, planning outcomes, measuring results
• The nuts and bolts (meeting frequency, agendas, responsibilities, etc.)
• Instilling a customer-centric mindset that informs all you do

Speakers TBA
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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
Presented By:
  • Austin Graff, Director of Operations, SweatBlock
  • Krish Iyer, Director, Shipping & Logistics Solutions, ShipStation
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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
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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
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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
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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
Moderated By:
Presented By:
  • Jim Wells, Vice President of Transportation, Distribution and Channel Logistics, Starbucks
  • Joe Morrow, Senior Director, Logistics and Operations, Samsung Electronics America
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The Future Is 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. Operations executives from DHL will discuss their experience using the technology since 2015 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
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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

Speakers TBA
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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, but success takes the right combination of technology and team effort. How close to real time can it get? Learn from retail examples how available to promise can become a promise that is kept on a more consistent basis.

This session will cover:
• Process changes that can make a difference
• 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.)

Speakers TBA
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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

Speakers TBA
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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
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Blockchain: The Next Big Thing in Omnichannel?

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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

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The Three Phases of an Omnichannel Business Model

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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

Presented By:
  • Alex Volakis, Senior Omnichannel Strategy Analyst, Abercrombie & Fitch
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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
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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

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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

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Sprint to the Last Mile: Optimizing the Costliest Leg of Fulfillment

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Can I Ride Along? Brands as Freight Consolidation Bedfellows to Meet Tight Delivery Windows

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Getting Out Late-Day Orders: Hitting Cutoffs, Balancing Cost and Service Level

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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

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