Mission: Maximize Learning on Multichannel Retailing & E-Commerce

In preparation for this year’s Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Logistics event in Orlando February 17-20th my first task was to review the program and determine priorities for which sessions to attend.

In my mind the most significant challenge facing retail logistics professionals bar none is the rapid rise of multichannel commerce and all associated complexities and surrounding issues. With this in mind I am now a man on a multichannel mission for this year’s #RILAlogistics event!

Fortunately there’s no lack of great practitioner sessions and learning opportunities around these topics, here are the one’s I intend to check out next week:

Online, Big Box, Showrooming… Demystifying and Operationalizing to Thrive – Tobias Hartmann, CEO, Global Operations, GSI Commerce

Today’s Omnichannel consumers are dictating the future of retail. Online only retailers will not win. Big box retailing is not going away. Showrooming is an obstacle. It’s only the retailers and brands that focus on the best consumer experience that will thrive, which means not blurring but erasing the lines between channels. Retailers will discuss how building the best consumer-facing network of channels, incorporating stores, internet, mobile, social and local will thrive and how companies are leveraging unique strengths in these areas to grow over the long term. And, Tobias Hartmann, GSI Commerce, will discuss the operational impacts of becoming truly Omnichannel and various strategies to fit your business goals.

Brick and Mortar: Leveraging your DC and Store Capabilities to Win in the Future – Jeff Fackler, VIce President, Private Fleet, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., William Connell, Senior Vice President, Transportation, Macy’s

How do you optimize a common pool of inventory, store pick up, and scale to compete in the eComm world? What will you sell in your stores vs. what is available online?

Digital Consumer: Engaging Across Platforms – Katie Elfering, Senior Director, Consumer Strategist, Millennials, Media/Entertainment/Technology and Retail, Iconoculture;

While new technologies like smartphones, tablets and aps are helping customers find cool experiences and helpful forms of access, they are also fragmenting consumer attention spans and dramatically altering their shopping and buying behaviors. Hear an up-to-date look at how successful brands are leveraging emerging behaviors, platforms and technologies to develop deeper consumer relationships, more targeted advertising and stronger brand loyalty. Learn why values like discovery, sharing, authenticity, context and relevance are becoming “mission critical” for brands. See how businesses are developing strategies and messaging that engage consumers across multiple screens and devices

Multichannel Roundtable & Strategy Panel – Susan Kleinman, Senior Director, Comscore; Brent Beabout, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain,Office Depot, Inc.; Colby Chiles, Director, Transportation, The Home Depot;

A roundtable discussion of emerging issues and trends with service providers and retailers. Possible topics include:
• Multichannel Research
• Balancing your network to meet the customer’s need for speed but also optimize efficiency
• Profitability in free shipping and same day delivery – a discussion exploring the impact of industry-wide trends around free shipping and the impact to P&L for multichannel retailers. How do you leverage your current supply chain to minimize the cost of free shipping?

Omnichannel Evolution – Growing your supply chain to meet future consumers’ expectations – Al Sambar, Partner, Kurt Salmon Associates;

Kurt Salmon will share their vision of how consumer behavior and expectations will be changing across both digital and physical retailing. They will discuss the implications of this future for supply chain owners at brands, vertical and broadlines retailers. Particularly, how they impact the:
1. Physical delivery network strategy
2. Planning and management of omni-channel inventory & service
3. Expansion and management of ship-from-store, enterprise selling models
4. Pilots and rollout of expanded RFID usage

The above are the five sessions I’m targeting this year at RILA Logistics to maximize my learning on multichannel. But I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you that recently I’ve determined that the term ‘multichannel’ is not broad enough to encompass all of the moving parts evolving in the retail and e-commerce business. Early last year I coined the term ‘Matrix Commerce’ to capture and communicate the revolutionary changes we are now witnessing.

Recently I have put together a primer on ‘Matrix Commerce’ to share my vision in this regards and specifically highlight some of the key aspects which will have an impact on retail & e-commerce supply chains. So if you see me motoring by on my way to one of these sessions feel free to give me a shout or send a twitter message to @JeffAshcroft and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, challenges or ideas, and talk further about Matrix Commerce and my multichannel mission.

Jeff Ashcroft

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