On 2-4 October 2019 at the wonderful The Ritz-Carlton, Naples in Florida the US edition of our NG Retail Summit will bring together senior retail decision-makers and business leaders from across North America to discuss current industry challenges – and how best to tackle them.

The summit focuses on key topics such as: The future of Retail; omnichannel power & eCommerce explosion .

From case studies that lift the lid on operations inside best-in-class organisations, to workshops and collaborative sessions that focus on real challenges and future technology innovations, to one-to-one meetings with industry peers offering practical advice tailored to your specific needs, the summit provides you with everything you need to implement your key projects more effectively.

Our Approach

Every GDS Summit has one stated aim: to help attending executives implement their key projects more effectively. We do this by developing an in-depth understanding of those executives' project needs, the business outcomes they want to achieve, and the challenges they face in terms of hitting those goals.

Who Attends

Our summits are designed for executives looking to take their business to the next level – from market-leading brands to disruptive new entrants. As such, we’ve worked with some of the world’s best-loved and most forward-thinking businesses.
Apply to attend

Past Attendees

At previous events we've helped executives from some the world's most significant firms - as well as the most forward-thinking - to address their project challenges.
Image of Lisa Kerns
Lisa Kerns
Fareway Stores
Image of Jeffrey Halverson
Jeffrey Halverson
VP Store Experience & Operations
Ulta Beauty
Image of Ronald Blahnik
Ronald Blahnik
Hibbett Sporting Goods
Image of Yosef Martin
Yosef Martin
Founder & CEO
Image of Sydney Stinson
Sydney Stinson
VP Marketing
Image of Cedric Clark
Cedric Clark
VP Operations
Sam's Club
Image of Adam Powell
Adam Powell
VP Ecommerce
Hudson's Bay Companies
Image of Jim Edgett
Jim Edgett
Head of Integrated Marketing & Media
Image of Joice Wirkus
Joice Wirkus
VP Marketing
Image of Adam Starr
Adam Starr
VP Brand Development & Strategy
ALDO Group
Image of Mohammad Khan
Mohammad Khan
Edible Arrangements

6 Challenges in Retail

  • To rethink the role of stores. To identify new shopping experiences that can’t be found online.
  • To make digital a core part of the store experience. And use it to engage and empower all staff, from warehouse to store.
  • To gather meaningful customer data and use it to achieve long-term shopper loyalty.
  • To improve inventory visibility and forecasting. To get the right product to the right place at the right time. As efficiently as possible.
  • To explore and test ecommerce and online customer experience strategies, but still make money.
  • To differentiate. To compete.
Apply to attend

Summit Schedule

3 Days - 3 Summit Themes - 3 Workshops
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Wednesday October 2, 2019
Summit registration
1:00pm - 6:00pm
Solution provider briefing
2:00pm - 2:30pm
Welcome remarks and delegate briefing
2:30pm - 2:45pm
2:45pm - 3:30pm
Bringing it back to basics
  • What can retailers do to stand out and stay in the game?
  • How to implement new technology without compromising the customer?
  • How to truly understand what and who is YOUR target market?
  • What are their wants, wishes and desires?
3:30pm - 3:50pm
How to prevent customer speed dating
  • Is it cheaper to retain a customer than gain a new one?
  • What technical systems can be implemented in order to retain a customer?
  • How do you attract the attention of a customer who is so easily distracted?
3:50pm - 5:00pm
How to create loyalty in store as well as online?
  • What does it take for a loyalty scheme to work?
  • Customers are looking to be part of a team or a society. How do you create a loyalty scheme/ group that achieves this?
  • How does loyalty transcend from instore to online? Does one size fit all?
3:30pm - 5:00pm
Innovative technology: where/how do these technologies have a place in your business and if not what else..?
  • AI, AR, Voice Interaction, Touch, Mobile Payments and Purchasing Technology
  • Do companies know what they need?
  • What information do retailers need in order to stay competitive in the market?
3:50pm - 5:00pm
In store experience
  • In a world where everyone has the internet and online shopping at their finger tips in store design & experience is now more important than ever.
  • How can good retail design not only benefit the customer but also staff retention and sales?
  • What differentiates your store from the next?
  • Is high tech essential for a modern in store experience?
  • How do you deliver a truly memorable shopping experience?
3:50pm - 5:00pm
Leveraging omnichannel to deliver a seamless customer experience
  • How do you make purchasing as simple as possible?
  • What is easier – shopping instore or online?
  • How do you effectively link up your platforms?
3:50pm - 5:00pm
How do you market effectively to your customers?
  • How do you gain useful customer insights and leverage the data successfully?
  • How do you monitor and measure likes, clicks and engagement and what does this amount to?
  • Which traditional marketing channels are still working and will they survive in the future?
3:50pm - 5:00pm
  • How are the likes of Instagram Checkout and social selling influencing ecommerce?
  • Is mobile buying the new normal?
  • With consumers finding new ways to shop online in various different forms, how do you respond and keep up with the demand for fast, convenient delivery?
  • Despite the constant headlines that retail is dying brick-and-mortar still dominates online sales by over $20 trillion.
  • With experience playing a big role in this, how can an online platform still deliver an experience and not be seen as purely transactional?
Roundtable feedback
5:00pm - 5:30pm
Networking drinks
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Gala dinner
7:00pm - 10:00pm
8:00pm - 8:30pm
Gala dinner keynote, Q&A: Experience, Experience, Experience
  • What instore events, activities and experiences do customers value today? A positive memory will last forever
  • Can experiences drive customers through the door and will that convert in higher sales, and if so how much higher?
  • What is the connection between marketing and footfall?
Thursday October 3, 2019
7:00am - 7:50am
Welcome Remarks
7:50am - 8:00am
8:00am - 8:20am
Value vs Technology: How to implement both?
  • What is the link between values and revenue? Is there a link between strong company values and sales?
  • Do retailers truly understand Gen Z purchasing decisions? How do these differ to previous generations?
  • How can retailers stay true to their brands values whilst implementing these systems? Why is it so important to do so?
8:20am - 8:50am
Shopping with your digital twin
  • How do retailers combine multiple sales platforms in order to create a seamless customer transaction across the board?
  • Can you use online platforms to entice customers in-store and vice-versa?
  • How do retailers regulate these systems to provide the same quality of service throughout their multiple sales platforms for customer ease?
8:50am - 9:20am
Traditional Brick & Mortar vs. New Entrants in the Retail Space
  • Do companies actually take the time to learn from the successes and failures of other in the market?
  • What are new entrants doing in order to break into the retail market? More importantly what are they doing to stay in the game?
  • Why and how to ACT to trends and changes in the market rather than REACT?
Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
9:20am - 10:00am
Do loyalty schemes actually work? How to make them effective
  • Are loyalty schemes too farfetched and is the information too distorted with the volume of data to offer a personalized experience?
  • Customer information: how is it found and how can it be made relevant to customer loyalty schemes?
  • How can retailers filter through consumer data jungles to ensure it’s relevant for their business practices?
Coffee & Networking Break
10:00am - 10:20am
Case Study
10:20am - 11:00am
Creating a seamless retail experience
  • How can technology support companies growth, in either entering a new market or staying relevant in this fast paced environment?
  • The consumers times is increasingly precious, so when they do make the trip instore, how do you make this a positive experience?
  • How can technology support the fast-paced lifestyle of the customer and still create fantastic instore experience?
  • Are customers just resorting to Amazon if they receive negative in-store experiences?
11:00am - 11:40am
How to keep up with rising customer experience
  • Why are returns frowned upon? How do you turn returns into a valuable learning tool for gaining ACTUAL information about products and customer needs?
  • Why does delivery take the spot light over returns?
  • Why isn’t returns throughout the retail environment treated equally? Will retailers ever learn from each other?
  • Does the returns process effect customers purchasing decisions?
Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
11:40am - 12:20pm
How can social media be used as an effective marketing tool?
  • Why is social media not utilized in all retail platforms? Why is it still considered a taboo for some companies?
  • The implementation of social media as a marketing platform? What costs are incurred by creating the brand’s “perfect” image?
  • Why are some brands benefitting from solely using influencers as their marketing platform? How does this effect brand image and company values? Could this explain the hesitation to adopt this approach?
12:20pm - 12:50pm
Buzz words: what do they mean? How do we implement them effectively?
  • Technological terms are being thrown around freely and there is a lot of pressure to adopt new technologies across the board. But the big question is do these technologies address the customers needs?
  • We are in an exciting time, with new innovations and options appearing on the market daily, how do you distinguish what is just a fade and what will really stick?
  • How do you translate a buzz word into a successful strategy?
Networking Lunch
12:50pm - 1:50pm
1:50pm - 2:40pm
Drill Down Roundtables

1. How to create loyalty in store as well as online?

2. Innovative technology: where/how do these technologies have a place in your business and if not what else..?

3. In store experience

4. Leveraging omnichannel to deliver a seamless customer experience 

5. How do you market effectively to your customers?

6. Ecommerce

2:40pm - 3:20pm
Technology and how to implement it
  • How can effectively implemented technology result in exponential growth?
  • Do companies really know what they need & how do they find the right technology for these needs?
  • How do your work with partners to ensure that new technology complements existing process rather than hindering?
  • What technology should companies invest in? Does greater cost ensure greater results? Is it just a numbers game?
Case Study
3:20pm - 4:00pm
Employment, gain, train, retain
  • To create a meaningful & positive experience for the customer, employees on the ground needs to be invested. How do you filter strategies and objectives through the ranks to those people actually face to face with the customer?
  • How do companies measuring their employees ROI beyond commission?
  • The retail has a notoriously high level of turn over, from store assistants through to the C-level. How are companies set up to listen to & retain staff at each level?
Panel Discussion
4:00pm - 4:40pm
The importance of considering your employee experience
  • The retail sector is already notorious for having an undesirable schedule. What effect does this have on the management and leadership considering their careers?
  • How can management and leaders attitudes and behaviors impact other employees, and the success of the retail stores?
  • What effect does this have on the entire organization?
Coffee & Networking Break
4:40pm - 5:00pm
Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
5:00pm - 5:40pm
Conquer or collaborate it doesn’t have to be a battlefield!
  • Why don’t retailers want to share information with each other?
  • Why is it such a secretive industry?
  • Would companies benefit more if information was shared more openly?
  • Is domination truly effective or is it moving towards inevitable industry saturation?
5:40pm - 6:10pm
Closing Keynote: The Retail apocalypse: is AMAZON really to blame?
  • We all know Amazon is taking the ecommerce market by storm and has also begun to make an impact in the physical space as well. What lessons can other retailers learn and implement from this journey?
  • Should retailers consider them as a separate entity rather than considering them as a competitor?
  • How can retailers find alternative marketing solutions to stay ahead of the curve?
  • Amazon is causing major disruption throughout the entire retail sector which is affecting traditional retailer’s ability to DIRECTLY COMPETE with them, starting in July, all 1150+ Kohl’s locations will be accepting Amazon returns, thus, increasing their opportunity to service guests from the increased footfall. (CONQUER OR COLLABORATE)
  • What can other retailers take from Kohl’s expedition?
Attendee downtime
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Networking drinks
7:00pm - 7:30pm
Gala dinner, silent auction, quiz/trivia
7:30pm - 10:00pm
Friday October 4, 2019
7:30 am - 8:20 am
Welcome Remarks
8:20 am - 8:30 am
8:30 am - 8:50 am
The future of grocery shopping

What are the change in trends within the grocery, food and beverage sector? What is the next best thing to make shoppers lives more efficient and convenient?

  • Is in store pick up becoming a factor rather than home delivery?
  • What can retailers use from grocery industry, how are they gaining traction in a already saturated industry?
8:50 am - 9:20 am
Optimizing Payment security

What are retailers doing to protect their customers against fraud, what steps have they got in place for their online sites?

  • The number of card payments being made has increased exponentially in the last 18 months and therefore the need to secure peoples’ personal data is more important than ever, but how do you find the right method and make the customer feel secure in that journey.
  • What systems are being put in place to optimize the customers security?
9:20 am - 10:00 am
Drill Down Roundtables

1. How to create loyalty in store as well as online?

2. Innovative technology: where/how do these technologies have a place in your business and if not what else..?

3. In store experience

4. Leveraging omnichannel to deliver a seamless customer experience 

5. How do you market effectively to your customers?

6. Ecommerce

Coffee & Networking Break
10:00 am - 10:30 am
Case Study
10:30 am - 11:10 am
Understanding the impact of social culture on retailers and their customers
  • How and why do companies keep their values prominent through out the customer journey?
  • Generation Z: how they differ in their shopping choices due to personal values. Do stores need to act rather than react to social changes?
  • Gender neutral is a key factor that retailers specifically need to consider regarding the shop floorplan design and layout of the store. How do companies implement this? What does it mean for the staff and customers?
  • Do customers consider the company’s values and does it affect their purchasing?
11:10 am - 11:50 am
  • As brick and mortar retailers adjust to new consumer expectations, non-retail collaborations are beginning to transform shopping centers by combining commerce and Co-working spaces, is this just a trend or will pop-up stores stick?
  • New stores can use pop up shops to fully understand the location benefits and do a test course on a store before entering the bring and mortar industry (its like a crash course) why don’t all new retailers use pop-up stores?
Panel Discussion
11:50 am - 12:30 pm
Closing panel & wrap up: What do customers WANT?

How have retailers lost sight of their customers, bringing it back to basics whilst implementing technology solutions  to benefit the instore and online experience.

Buffet lunch
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Summit Location

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida

Our events take place at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. Five-star accommodation, dining and amenities make attending one of our summits both business and pleasure. Being productive has never been so much fun.

Latest Case Study

Senior executives love our summits because of the unparalleled opportunity to meet people with ideas on how to move their key projects forward. But don’t just take our word for it…

To discuss how GDS Summits can help you solve your project challenges contact us on: 0117 921 4000 or email sayhello@gdsgroup.com.

Join us at the Upcoming Event

Don't miss out

Apply now