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

 

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Thursday | April 5

7:00 AM – 12:30 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 – 1:30 PM
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Exhibit Hall Open

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
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Using Customer Journey Reconstruction as a Powerful Tool in CX Design | Lab 4

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
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
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Warehouse Robotics: Tipping Point or Pipe Dream? | Lab 1

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 and a robotics entrepreneur will explore the current technology landscape from an agnostic perspective. They will 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 | Lab 2

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 | Lab 3

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 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 | Lab 4

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
Leader:
Speaker:
  • Tara Robertson, Director, Marketing Strategy & Operations, Sprout Social
10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
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DIM Isn’t Going Away, So What Are You Doing to Address It? | Lab 1

With continual rate increases from carriers – including annual GRIs and adjustments to dimensional weight (DIM) rules – and other rising costs, merchant shippers are always looking for new and creative ways to economize. This includes things like process improvements, technology investments and carrier negotiations. Complicating matters are the downstream effects of fulfillment for demanding, always-on consumers in an omnichannel world, including rising split shipments and increasingly complex order fulfillment.

Given these significant challenges, what can be done within the four walls on the receiving and packaging side to drive greater efficiency and squeeze out costs? What options are available in scenarios ranging from hand packing operations up through the continuum of automated systems? This session will tap the combined expertise of an operations executive from a major retailer, a veteran from the world of automated systems and a packaging materials expert to address the landscape today, drawing on real-world experience and offering solutions for merchants of all sizes.

This session will cover:
• The impact of DIM charges and best practices for mitigation, balancing void reduction and protection
• The challenges of package optimization in a major omnichannel organization, and how they’re being addressed
• How things like box scoring, adjustments in void fill and augmentation with polybags can make a huge difference
• The range of solutions and approaches available, from manual scenarios through fully automated operations
Moderator:
  • Ken Myers, Director, Packaging & Automation, Tension Packaging & Automation
Panelists:
  • Thomas Retz, Director, Outbound Transportation, Ascena Retail Group
  • Landon West, Application Engineer, Storopack
10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
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Where Do I Ship From? Optimizing Order Sourcing Across Channels | Lab 2

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

Moderator:
  • KC Fox, Vice President, Technology Services, Radial
Panelists:
  • Alex Volakis, Senior Omnichannel Strategy Analyst, Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Rick Duley, Director of Network Fulfillment, Belk
10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
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Evolution at Home, Revolution Abroad: Strategies to Leverage Domestic Operations into Cross-Border Success | Lab 3

While the NRF is projecting overall domestic retail growth at about 4% for 2018, cross-border sales are expected to see double-digit growth for years to come. Ninety-three percent of retailers are therefore either actively pursuing other markets or will be soon. But are they building on a solid foundation of domestic logistics and shipping efficiency?

Retailers have invested heavily in ERP, POS, OMS and WMS, while not focusing equal attention on fulfillment, shipping and returns. Meanwhile consumers covet choices like real-time, optimized shipping rates, free(er) delivery options at checkout and simple, efficient returns. Something is missing as 47% of them say these factors all lead to a negative ecommerce experience – putting loyalty and conversion at risk.

In this session, Michael Griffiths, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Retail and Commerce Services for Pitney Bowes, will unpack how a greater strategic focus after the customer clicks “buy” (the evolution at home) can be a natural springboard to success with fast-growing cross-border opportunities (the revolution abroad).

This session will cover:
• The latest consumer data on challenges and opportunities here and abroad
• How to take shipping from an afterthought to a revenue and margin opportunity
• How getting the post-purchase experience right drives overall customer satisfaction
• How technology plays a key role in enabling both domestic and cross-border success
Speaker:
  • Michael Griffiths, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Retail and Commerce Services, Pitney Bowes
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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Creating a Standout Brand Experience That Cuts Through the Clutter | Lab 4

In a crowded, noisy marketplace you need to set yourself apart by creating a “wow” experience that wins hearts and minds. But where to begin to capture the interest of highly selective and time-crunched consumers? Everything from your email messaging, social media content and packaging should work together to reinforce differentiation from the pack. Are you taking advantage of all the tools available to increase engagement?

We will address all the ins and outs of creating a more memorable experience across the various touchpoints. We’ll travel up and down the customer journey, examining each stop along the way to learn how even the smallest details can excite them enough to share the experience with friends and family.

This session will cover:
• How to focus on the brand experience from front to back
• The importance of packaging and unboxing in the overall scheme
• Ways you can enhance your current messaging across all media
• Case study examples of brands that are doing it right

Speakers:
  • Corey Harris, Vice President of Operations and Customer Care, ipsy
  • Nicole Lee, Director of Operations, Saddle Creek Logistics Services
11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
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Is the Future Now? Using AR and Heads-Up Display in the DC | Lab 1

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 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:
11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
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The Three Phases of an Omnichannel Business Model | Lab 2

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:
  • Sajid Mohamedy, Vice President, Strategy and Operations, Nisum
  • Jay Kent, Managing Partner, SLB Performance Consulting
11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
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Cross-Border Ecommerce: The World is Your Market | Lab 3

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:
  • Todd Hext, Senior Business Manager, ProShip
  • Steve Congro, Director of Omnichannel Fulfillment Technology, Saddle Creek Logistics Services
12:40 PM – 1:30 PM
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The End of the Alphabet: How to "Get" the Needs and Preferences of Gens Y & Z | Lab 4

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
Leader:
Speaker:
  • Justin Garrity, Vice President of Display, Commerce and Integration, Sprinklr
12:40 PM – 1:30 PM
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Choosing the Right Mix of Automated and Manual DC Processes | Lab 1

Automation is a great solution to a lot of fulfillment problems, but it can get very expensive quickly. When you consider automation for handling seasonal volume spikes, it can get even more expensive and complex. Automation is most effective when applied to the right part of your operations, and despite talk of “lights out” facilities a 100% automated DC is very difficult to justify.

This session will cover best practices for determining which elements of your fulfillment operations can benefit the most from automation, those that will not, and how to marry the two in one integrated system for peak efficiency. It will also cover the range of automation solutions available today and how they are best applied.

You will learn:
• How to analyze product movement to identify the best candidates for automation
• How to consolidate orders from automated and manual picking processes
• How to determine if packing automation is a good fit for your operation
• About the latest packing and picking automation technologies
Speakers:
12:40 PM – 1:30 PM
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Getting Out Late-Day Orders: Hitting Cutoffs, Balancing Cost and Service Level | Lab 3

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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