27-28 April 2021
ICC Sydney
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At a Glance

Fresh Terrain: Surveying the New World of Retail

While the national economy continues to endure seismic shocks resonating from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing response from the nation’s Retail community has been remarkably energetic. Retailers have reacted swiftly to paradigmatic shifts in consumer behaviour; physical environments have adapted, digital ecosystems have flourished, supply networks have been revised, and loyal customers have been rewarded. This Session serves as a contextual platform for the Forum; we will break down the changing macro-economic and socio-political environments we inhabit to frame the progress that has been made against the challenges and opportunities facing responsive Retailers in the world today.


Connection and Consideration: The Mantle of Modern Leaders

Devastating bushfires, a relentless pandemic, a global reckoning on race, and the continuing, systematic erosion of facts on the world stage – the calendar year to date has not shied from issuing historic challenges to our shared social fabric. And while much has and will continue to be said of the unprecedented challenges facing businesses on a structural level, close attention must be paid to the personal toll of crisis and our shifting responsibilities as leaders in this chaotic environment. This Session will explore the strategies and structures that Retail leaders have adopted to connect and protect their people, reigniting purpose and inspiring allegiance in the age of compassion fatigue.


Bridging Artificial Boundaries: The New Identity of Retail

For years, the continued relevance of brick-and-mortar was under question – but no longer. As foot traffic suffers, it is becoming abundantly clear that the store is a vital space of experience and experimentation, of identity and differentiation. The new challenge for retailers is giving expression to digital interfaces, of fostering loyalty and aligning with consumers without the human touch. Our conversation will challenge attendees to reconsider the limitations of digital channels, to think more deeply on how commerce and UX can be leveraged to inspire and ignite the imagination of online customers.


New Product Pathways: Remobilising the Retail Sector

Flexibility had been gathering momentum as a critical factor in supply chain design well before the advent of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for this argument to mature. Retailers around the world are confronting their supply chain dependencies now that the vulnerability of existing models has been unceremoniously exposed. It is now clear that individual component costs are a shadow of end-to-end value optimisation. Our conversation will delve into this shift in perspective, as we advance the argument for resilience, efficiency and flexibility to become the new foundations of supply chain design.


Measured Acceleration: Unlocking Growth in the New Retail

The time has come to consider what lies beyond preparedness. As our operating environment corrects, Retailers will have a fleeting opportunity to harness the upswing in the consumer economy before rivals capitalise on the restored confidence of consumers. This Stream unites financial leaders that are leading through the crisis for the insider’s insight on accelerating from crisis management to secure growth ambitions.


The Physical Edge: Reclaiming the Store Front

Retailers and consumers have been tirelessly co-creating an experiential landscape that stretches from the physical world to the digital realm.  But this exercise has assumed new meaning in the current climate. With foot traffic slowing to a halt while consumers steer towards digital channels, there is new pressure to radically accelerate in-store omnichannel integration and adapt physical environments to online drivers. Our conversation will begin with imperatives for the recovery of the physical shopfront, before diving deeper into the recalibration of brick-and-mortar operating models and the revolution of the role of the store.


Retail Refocussed: Realigning Your Consumer Compass

In climates defined by uncertainty, dynamic consumer insight informs an organisation’s capability to deliver across the entire value chain. Information is the foundation for action, and the ability to make early, informed decisions based on actionable consumer intelligence will be a competitive differentiator as our operating environment corrects. Our conversation will unearth the insider’s insight on consumer behaviour, unpacking the systems and structures that empower Retailers to look through the fog of crisis towards a new vision for their businesses.


Digitisation Destinations: Navigating Change at Pace

Many brands demonstrated enviable reflexes by adapting to the rapid state of digitally-driven Retail. Now, as our operating environment corrects and businesses begin to stabilise, stakeholder attention is returning from crisis management to strategic planning and growth ambition.  This Session will interrogate how Retailers, acting on a bedrock of consumer intelligence, are consolidating end-to-end value chain digitisation, staring through the fog of crisis to secure lasting value.


Aligning Sustainability and Business Objectives

Climate’s primacy as a mainstream political and socio-economic issue is challenging businesses to reconceive established operating models. Parallels between the pandemic and extreme climate events have become too stark to ignore as revised risk aversion principles scale the corporate agenda. Our conversation will explore how Retailers are approaching the disruption riffling through the sector as an opportunity to align sustainability and business objectives at the core of the organisation. We will hear how – in a global business environment that values resilience – sustainability and climate management are fast-becoming essential corporate capabilities.


Future Frameworks: A Blueprint for Technological Advancement

From momentous strides in machine learning to consequential developments in cloud architecture and augmented reality, the technologies that underpin Retail are evolving to change the sector in unexpected and even surreal ways. While not every company has the resources to innovate and extend the frontiers of retail experience, every executive has a responsibility to position their company for the early adoption of game-changing technologies. This Stream looks at the underlying architecture Retail firms can put in place that will serve as a platform for technological competitiveness in the years that follow.


The Consumer Shadow: Brands that Move with Customers

The boundaries between brands and consumers are collapsing. It is no longer enough for brands to have curated independent digital ecosystems, to expect consumers to find them. The customer journey from discovery to conversion has been condensed into sharp, one-click moments of instinct and influence on digital channels, and brands must be tactically present in these instances. Our conversation will extend beyond the bare skeleton of effective e-commerce models to confront the complexity of sustaining growth and remaining ahead of the competition in highly saturated online spaces. We will consider how businesses can embed responsive, dynamic methodologies into their e-commerce engine to ensure they never run out of fuel.


The Art of Motion: Recalibrating Product Pathways

Reliable and rapid fulfilment is crucial for elevating consumer experiences in the Retail domain. From prescriptive analytics to warehouse automation, distribution pathways are becoming incredibly responsive to true demand. This Stream unpacks the technologies and processes that are bringing products closer to consumers, and consumers closer to brands. We will track the customer’s journey through digital corridors and physical aisles to better understand how Retailers are moving products from suppliers to shelves and from carts to checkouts.


Transforming Payments: Lifting the Veil on Commerce as a Creative Differentiator

When we speak of friction in e-commerce, we are speaking of affording the customer cause for hesitation, of opening an exit on the path to purchase. Historically, payments have fallen into this faction of friction, and so every effort has been made to integrate – to clear this hurdle with a single click of conviction. But what if we inverted our thinking, and framed payments not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to deliver novel and personalised consumer experiences, both in-store and online? Our conversation will challenge the audience to reconceive of payments, not as the enemy, but as an ally in a retail arena increasingly defined by flexibility, security, personality, and identity.


The New Retail Armory: Empowering Your People

The Retail industry has experienced physical dislocation on an unprecedented scale. As businesses accelerate into a new operating environment, it is essential that employees are brought along for the ride. Our conversation will explore the bridge between employee wellbeing and experience, and performance and profitability. Together, we will consider how Retailers are curating authentic, value-driven cultures; advancing wellbeing and experiential practices; and repaving communication highways on the path to more resilient and rewarding businesses.


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