Gain actionable insights from industry experts on ways to optimize your DTC ecommerce and omnichannel operations

 

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Wednesday | April 4

7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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Registration Open | Battelle Foyer

8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
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Breakfast Roundtables | Exhibit Hall

Back by popular demand are our Roundtable discussions. These offer you a face-to-face forum with fellow attendees to discuss a variety of issues and challenges facing ecommerce and omnichannel merchants’ operations and, to share and offer solutions.

In 2018 you can choose from dozens of roundtable discussions, each facilitated by an industry expert.
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 | Exhibit Hall

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 Exhibit Hall

10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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The Post-Purchase Experience: Meeting Shopper Needs After the Click | Lab 4

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:
  • Mike O'Brien, Senior Content Manager, Multichannel Merchant
Panelists:
10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Fulfillment Mountaineering: Handling Major and Minor Demand Peaks | Lab 1

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:
  • Joe Morrow, Senior Director, Logistics and Operations, Samsung Electronics America
  • Colman Roche, Vice President, Consulting, Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors
  • Bruce Welty, Chairman and Founder, Locus Robotics
10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Blockchain: The Next Big Thing in Omnichannel? | Lab 2

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, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, GS1
Panelists:
10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
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Sprint to the Last Mile: Optimizing the Costliest Leg of Fulfillment | Lab 3

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

Moderator:
  • Jamie Briggs, Director, Ecommerce Business Development and Emerging Markets, Canada Post
Panelists:
  • Tamir Gotfried, General Manager, Americas, Bringg
  • Joe Bobko, Vice President, Transportation, Boxed.com
  • Brett Briley, Senior Manager of Customer Experience-Logistics, American Eagle Outfitters
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
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Channel Surfing: How to Deliver a Seamless, Standout Experience in B2C and B2B | Lab 4

The explosion in mobile commerce, growth in cross-border shopping and increased popularity of online marketplaces are together creating a new retail landscape. Driving these behavior shifts is a desire for better prices, unique products, more personalization and greater choice, control and convenience. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that B2B buyers are demanding the same kind of seamless experience top retailers deliver to their “consumer self,” gravitating to suppliers who can deliver and dropping those who can’t.

If you’re a B2C seller looking to cross over into B2B, or vice versa, how do you gain deeper insights into the ongoing shift in shoppers’ behaviors and preferences? This panel discussion led by UPS will bring together B2B and B2C merchants to discuss how ecommerce trends have impacted expectations in both channels, highlighting similarities and differences.

This session will cover:
• Insights into online shoppers’ behavior and preferences in both channels
• How ecommerce has impacted B2C and B2B buyer expectations
• How your mobile approach is critical to meeting all customers where they live
• How and why business buyers and consumers utilize online marketplaces
Moderator:
Panelists:
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
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WMS 2.0 to 3.0: Comparing Legacy with the Latest | Lab 1

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 new systems can impact productivity, operational flexibility and a DC manager’s ability to react to change. Dayna Johnson from Uniform Advantage and Aaron Wilcox from Stella & Dot will discuss their observations and perceived functional gaps based on recent WMS implementations, and Daniel Shepherd will discuss zulily's DIY approach. Steve Mulaik will cover the specifics of personalized WMS products and warehouse execution systems which aim to plug some of those gaps.

This session will cover:
• A comparison of legacy and new-breed systems based on functionality and performance
• Why ecommerce operators may need to rethink their WMS software
• Real-world examples from recent WMS implementations
• The need to optimize labor allocation and reduce associate downtime
• The responsiveness and flexibility of 2.0 vs. 3.0 systems
Moderator:
Panelists:
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
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(Close to) Real-Time Inventory Visibility: Holy Grail or Achievable? | Lab 2

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 | Lab 3

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

Moderator:
  • Mark Baum, Chief Collaboration Officer, Food Marketing Institute
Panelist:
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
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Omnichannel Finds Another Gear: Talking Supply Chain with Best Buy

As omnichannel morphs from “the next big thing” to “just the ways things are done” in commerce, retailers old and new are continually refining their strategy to gain an edge in a hyper-competitive environment and do battle with that company from Seattle.

No company defines this 2.0 to 3.0 revolution more than Best Buy, with a consistent track record of growth in recent years, and ecommerce and omnichannel have been key pillars of that success. Of course, none of that happens without a solid supply chain foundation.

Mark Irvin, Best Buy’s Vice President of Supply Chain, will talk about his team’s role in supporting the company’s many innovations and disruptions. He’ll also explain how a realignment of the supply chain’s organizational structure led to core efficiency gains and business growth.
Speaker:
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 | Lab 4

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
Moderator:
Panelists:
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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Knowing When and How to Choose a 3PL Partner | Lab 1

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:
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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Harnessing Data, Automation to Optimize Drop Shipping for Suppliers and Retailers | Lab 2

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 session 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

Speakers:
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
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Supply Chain Intelligence: Taking Action on Your Data | Lab 3

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 | Lab 4

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

Speaker:
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
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Translating Your Strategic Plan into Operational Objectives | Lab 1

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 | Lab 2

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

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

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

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

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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Getting Out from Under All Those Ecommerce Returns | Lab 3

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

Moderator:
Panelists:
  • Brent Bachochin, Vice President, Distribution Operations, Cornerstone Brands
  • Robert Iaria, General Manager, Reverse Logistics, C.H. Robinson Worldwide
  • John Komaromy, Director of Reverse Logistics, Sears Holdings Corporation
5:20 PM – 6:30 PM
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Networking Pub Crawl in Exhibit Hall

It’s back! Come wrap up Wednesday with our second-annual Pub Crawl, which mixes craft beers and pub appetizers into an end-of-day power networking event attendees can’t get enough of. Meet up with attendees, chat up speakers, and test-drive the latest and greatest ecommerce operations partners.

Sponsored by:
SEKO Logistics
Elite Supply Chain Solutions
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
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Ecommerce Networking Dinner | Martini

Come break bread with your ecommerce peers at Martini, Columbus' modern Italian bistro located mere steps from the show. The family-style menu features greens and Caesar salad followed by butternut squash tortellini and shrimp marinara ... followed by beef tenderloin and salmon and chicken parmesan and veal martini. And then dessert. Includes two drinks from the beer and wine menu.

Sponsored by: Pitney Bowes Commerce Services

(Additional $90 fee applies. Sign up when you register. No walk-ups are available.)

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