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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. 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.)

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

More 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
Presented By:
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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
Moderated By:
  • Melanie Nuce, Vice President of Apparel and General Merchandise, GS1
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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

Moderated By:
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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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