Empowering Your Customer Through Synergizing Brick and Digital

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

Attendees Include

The upcoming summit will welcome executives from some of the world's biggest and most recognisable firms - as well as the most forward-thinking - as they look to address their project challenges.
Image of Camila Da Rosa Lopes
Logo of Coca-Cola
Camila Da Rosa Lopes
Director of Customer Engagement & Innovation
Coca-Cola
Image of John Hegedus
Logo of Stein Mart
John Hegedus
SVP Stores
Stein Mart
Image of Paul Tepfenhart
Logo of H-E-B
Paul Tepfenhart
SVP Omni-channel Retail & Innovation
H-E-B
Image of Darrell Franklin
Logo of Mattress Firm
Darrell Franklin
VP Digital
Mattress Firm
Image of Monte Williams
Logo of Away
Monte Williams
Vice President of Customer Experience
Away
Image of Lisa Kerns
Logo of Fareway Stores
Lisa Kerns
CIO
Fareway Stores
Image of Yelena Fradlis
Logo of New York & Company
Yelena Fradlis
SVP Marketing, Creative Director
New York & Company
Image of Brian Hutchinson
Logo of Georgia Pacific
Brian Hutchinson
Director of Shopper Marketing
Georgia Pacific
Image of Fabian Urquijo
Logo of Revlon
Fabian Urquijo
SVP & CMO Professional Brands
Revlon
Image of Ricky Joshi
Logo of Saatva
Ricky Joshi
Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer
Saatva
Image of Matthew Mueller
Logo of Knot Standard
Matthew Mueller
Founder & President
Knot Standard
Image of Ronald Lalla
Logo of Office Depot
Ronald Lalla
Former CMO
Office Depot

6 Challenges in Retail

  • Getting to grips with emerging tech: finding use cases that work for your business
  • Connecting the retail environment: leveraging omnichannel to deliver seamless CX
  • Improving customer retention: figuring out how to generate and reward loyalty
  • Cutting through the noise: effective marketing in the age of personalization
  • Making the most of bricks and mortar: harnessing the store as an experience hub
  • Taking ecommerce to the next level: responding to new ways of shopping
Apply to attend

Summit Schedule

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Wednesday October 2, 2019
Summit Registration
1:00pm - 6:00pm

Grab your name badge, say hello, activate the onsite app and prepare to leave the office behind for two-and-a-half days of networking, learning and intelligence gathering.

Solution-provider Briefing
2:00pm - 2:30pm

Details To Follow.

Welcome Remarks and Delegate Briefing
2:30pm - 2:45pm

What? When? How? Where? Join our Master of Ceremonies for a brief welcome and orientation session, where we’ll explain your itinerary for the next few days.

Panel Discussion
2:45pm - 3:30pm
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them.
Bringing it Back to Basics
headshot of Ronald Lalla
Ronald Lalla
Former CMO - Office Depot
headshot of Courtney Messerli
Courtney Messerli
Director of E-commerce & Search - Goop.Com
  • 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?
Interview
3:30pm - 3:50pm
A one on one interview diving into the details of how to prepare yourself for the realities of one of the industry's top challengers.
How to Prevent Customer Speed Dating

Statisically, it is between 5-25 times more cost effective to retain a loyal customer. So…

  • What can be done to ensure you retain your customers?
  • 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?
Roundtable Track 1
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Getting to Grips with Emerging Tech: Finding Use Cases That Work For Your Business
  • 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?
Roundtable Track 2
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Making The Most of Bricks and Mortar: Harnessing The Store as an Experience Hub

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?
Roundtable Track 3
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Connecting The Retail Environment: Leveraging Omnichannel to Deliver Seamless CX
headshot of Ronald Lalla
Ronald Lalla
Former CMO - Office Depot
headshot of Dave Loat
Dave Loat
President - StoreForce Solutions
  • How do you make purchasing as simple as possible?
  • What is easier – shopping in store or online?
  • How do you effectively link up your platforms?
Roundtable Track 4
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Cutting Through The Noise: Effective Marketing in The Age of Personalization
headshot of David Stewart
David Stewart
Sales Director - ZineOne

Lies and Damn Lies About AI and Personalization

It’s difficult to know what AI can really do and where it makes the most sense when it comes to personalized customer engagement. So, how can a brand cut through the hype to deliver the right message at the right time?

  • What are common myths about AI and personalization that you need to know?
  • How are innovative retailers using AI and ML to provide a real-time, seamless, and personalized experience as their customers move across digital and physical channels?
  • In the age of too much data and not enough insights, how are brands able to scale their personalization programs across multiple segments to offer a 1:1 interaction?
  • How can your brand use AI and personalization to stand out?
Roundtable Track 5
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Taking e-Commerce to The Next Level: Responding to New Innovations in Shopping
headshot of Courtney Messerli
Courtney Messerli
Director of E-commerce & Search - Goop.Com
  • 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 Track 6
Session 1 - Discovery
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Improving Customer Retention: Figuring Out How to Generate and Reward Loyalty

Details To Follow.

Roundtable Feedback
5:00pm - 5:30pm

Details To Follow.

Networking Drinks
6:00pm - 7:00pm

Time to kick off your heels, loosen those ties and get to know your fellow summit attendees. Relax, drinks are on us.

Gala Dinner
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Time for some fun; you’ve earned it. Join us for our night’s dinner and entertainment.

Keynote
8:00pm - 8:30pm
Our Keynote speaker will be addressing the entirety of Summit attendees during our Gala Dinner. They will be going beyond the 'brand story' and sharing their experience and the real truths of tackling a challenge that is shaping the industry.
Gala Dinner Keynote, Q&A: Find your soul: developing and defining your brand in an increasingly crowded landscape
headshot of Yelena Fradlis
Yelena Fradlis
SVP Marketing, Creative Director - New York & Company
  • Finding and defining unique properties that customer can emotionally connect to
  • Building a community of avid supporters and connecting it to an in-person activity
    • Aka a skateboarding community affinity to supreme
  • Finding a face for the brand, but also a spirit and a soul
    • The importance of the role of the brand ambassador to be more than IG followers count
  • Branded Content
    • Partnering with young artist to create unique content and tap into their circles of influence
    • Create original, memorable and short stories that can be easily shared but in a meaningful series
Thursday October 3, 2019
Breakfast
7:00am - 7:50am

The most important meal of the day. Get yourself set for a productive day by joining us for coffee, croissants and more.

Welcome Remarks
7:50am - 8:00am

Details To Follow.

Keynote
8:00am - 8:20am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
TBC

Details To Follow.

Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
8:20am - 9:00am
One Topic. Two experts. Two opinions. You'll get the chance to vote on where you stand before the session starts. We'll then hear from our two experts, to see if they can sway your opinion when you participate in the closing vote
The Loyalty Scheme is an Outdated Concept. Discuss...
headshot of Michael D. Cain
Michael D. Cain
VP Stores and Field Operations - Dollar General
  • 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?
Workshop
9:05am - 9:45am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Stranger Retail: Welcome to the Upside Down – Omnichannel Evolved. ...what that means and how to apply for you & your shopper
headshot of Deann Campbell
Deann Campbell
SVP Research & Strategy - Harbor Industries, Inc

Details To Follow.

Workshop
9:50am - 10:30am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Overcoming The Four Biggest Challenges in New Tech Adoption
headshot of John Liebler
John Liebler
VP Store Operations - Shinola

1. What are the biggest challenges in implementing new technology and how can you avoid them?

2. The importance of ensuring the end user is part of the process, from scoping through implementation.

a. Scope definition

b. Change management

c. System training and behavior based training

3. The importance of being “Agile”

a. Setting realistic but adjustable timelines.

b. Guarding against “scope creep”

4. The benefits of configurations over customization.

Workshop
10:35am - 11:15am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Gain, Train, Retain: Why People are Retail’s Not-so-secret Weapon
headshot of Mike Denenberg
Mike Denenberg
Strategic Account Executive - GoSpotCheck

To create a meaningful & positive experience for the customer, Retail ,needs to invest in their employees on the ground.

  • How do you filter strategies and objectives through the ranks to those people actually face to face with the customer?
  • How do companies measure their employees ROI beyond commission?
  • The retail industry has a notoriously high level of turnover, from store assistants through to the board. How are companies set up to listen to & retain staff at each level?
Workshop
11:20am - 12:00pm
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Are you listening closely to what your customer is saying? Be agile, reduce friction and boost conversion
headshot of Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman
Director of eCommerce & Customer Service - Rainbow Shops
In the noise of big data we strive to get a 360 view of the customer, but are you in a silo and not listening to them.
Simple but effective practices to live by to really listen to them.
Keynote
12:05pm - 12:25pm
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Debunking The Old Retail Playbook
headshot of Bruce J Hershey II
Bruce J Hershey II
VP Brand Marketing - Tailored Brands

Details To Follow.

Networking Lunch
12:25pm - 1:10pm

Worked up an appetite? Recharge those batteries with our buffet-style lunch, and prepare to meet the afternoon head-on.

Roundtable
Session 2 - Discovery
1:10pm - 2:00pm
Learning and sharing with your group. What are the solutions? Are they readily available? What path are you going to take?
Drill Down Roundtables
  1. Getting to grips with emerging tech: finding use cases that work for your business
  2. Making the most of bricks and mortar: harnessing the store as an experience hub
  3. Connecting the retail environment: leveraging omnichannel to deliver seamless CX
  4. Cutting through the noise: effective marketing in the age of personalization
  5. Taking ecommerce to the next level: responding to new innovations in shopping
  6. Improving customer retention: figuring out how to generate and reward loyalty
Workshop
2:05pm - 2:45pm
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Transforming The Consumer Experience with your Digital Twin
headshot of Rob Price
Rob Price
Senior Director Data and Analytics Customer, Merchandising, and Marketing - Walmart

Omnichannel analytics enable retailers to personalize and predict insights for consumers’ digital twins:

  • How to make the most of each consumer touch point to engage the individual.
  • Best practices for using insights to entice in-store customers to shop more online or vice-versa.
  • Leveraging best-in-class tools to make accurate merchendising and stock predictions; ensuring that the product our customer wants is always available.
Workshop
2:50pm - 3:30pm
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Retail Apocalypse: Is Amazon Really to Blame?
headshot of Ben Abel
Ben Abel
Director of Digital - Wegmans Food Markets

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, 2019, 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?
Workshop
3:35pm - 4:15pm
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Personalization & The Role of Analytics
headshot of Krishna Kolluru
Krishna Kolluru
Director Digital Commerce, Personalization and Web Analytics - The Vitamin Shoppe

Details To Follow.

Interview
4:20pm - 5:00pm
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Incumbents vs. New Entrants: Learning From Your Retail Competitors
headshot of Jonathan Muller
Jonathan Muller
CEO - Gaffos

Details To Follow.

Workshop
5:05pm - 5:45pm
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
TBC
Attendee Down Time
5:45pm - 7:00pm

Time for a well-deserved break in your busy schedules.

Dinner & Entertainment
7:00pm - 10:30pm

Time for some fun; you’ve earned it. Join us for our second night’s dinner and entertainment. Details to follow.

Friday October 4, 2019
Breakfast
7:00 am - 7:50 am

The most important meal of the day. Get yourself set for a productive day by joining us for coffee, croissants and more.

Welcome Remarks
7:50 am - 8:00 am

Details To Follow.

Panel Discussion
8:00 am - 8:30 am
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them
AR You Ready?
headshot of Brian Hutchinson
Brian Hutchinson
Director of Shopper Marketing - Georgia-Pacific LLC
headshot of Alexandra Scebold
Alexandra Scebold
Director Customer Engagement - The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Details To Follow.

Roundtable
Session 3 - Outcomes
8:35 am - 9:15 am
What does it all mean. Tracing back through two days of work, where are we? What you are bringing back to the office with you.
Drill Down Roundtables
  1. Getting to grips with emerging tech: finding use cases that work for your business
  2. Making the most of bricks and mortar: harnessing the store as an experience hub
  3. Connecting the retail environment: leveraging omnichannel to deliver seamless CX
  4. Cutting through the noise: effective marketing in the age of personalization
  5. Taking ecommerce to the next level: responding to new innovations in shopping
  6. Improving customer retention: figuring out how to generate and reward loyalty
Workshop
9:20 am - 10:00 am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Creating a Seamless Retail Experience
headshot of Matthew Mueller
Matthew Mueller
Founder & President - Knot Standard
  • How can technology support companies growth in either entering a new market or staying relevant in this fast paced environment?
  • The consumers time 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 instore experiences?
Workshop
10:05 am - 10:45 am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
How Curiosity Thrilled The Cat!
headshot of Donna Pahel
Donna Pahel
Sr. Director of Growth, Innovation & Digital - Walmart
This interactive and immersive workshop explores how encouraging a culture of curiosity help bring business agility, resiliency and inspired resolutions to bear.
Participants will take part in activities and walk away with actionable exercises and techniques to put to use immediately.
Workshop
10:50 am - 11:30 am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
TBC

Details To Follow.

Workshop
11:35 am - 12:15 am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
TBC

Details To Follow.

Panel Discussion
12:20 am - 1:00 pm
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them
What Do Customers Want From Retail – And How Do You Deliver It?
headshot of Ronald Lalla
Ronald Lalla
Former CMO - Office Depot

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
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Worked up an appetite? Recharge those batteries with our buffet-style lunch for your journey home.

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.

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GDS Summits host experts to help experts. Our speakers are leading executives willing to share their insight to change the industry and the world in critical ways.

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

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