This year’s NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit has been recast as a virtual, on-demand experience that will be available for viewing beginning April 14. The 2020 NACS State of the Industry Summit Virtual Experience will include nearly a dozen sessions analyzing industry performance, trends and economic forces in a new era of “anytime, anyplace convenience.”

The virtual offering will also feature a special session looking at how coronavirus (COVID-19) is shaping consumer demands for convenience, in addition to informative sessions that will explore how to take the headwinds of retail disruption, technology and changing consumer need states and turn them into tailwinds to accelerate innovation and win customer trips.

“In this virtual experience format, we realize one of the most powerful benefits of the live State of the Industry Summit—networking with industry friends and peers—cannot be replicated. We’re excited to bring new virtual collaboration, interactive questions and discussions to the 2020 SOI Summit Virtual Experience. Each session will be accompanied by interactive discussion boards, an ‘ask the presenter’ question-and-answer forum and opportunities to engage with other attendees on your thoughts and ideas for each presentation,” said NACS Vice President of Research Lori Stillman.

The new NACS SOI Summit Virtual Experience is offered as a bundled enterprise registration, opening up participation to attendees from a single organization through one shared license. This on-demand format not only widens participation by expanding access to attendees but also creates new opportunities for questions, comments and collaborative discussions across organizations and within the broader convenience community.

“The importance of analyzing trends and data is especially critical now when there are so many new variables in place in today’s retail landscape. While it is heartbreaking to move away from our popular in-person event for this year, this virtual offering keeps our attendees safe and brings enormous value to participants, especially in sharing the key findings across organizations as many businesses have switched over to remote operations,” said Stillman.

A centerpiece of the NACS SOI Summit Virtual Experience is the session, “How Coronavirus is Reshaping Consumer Demands for Convenience,” hosted by Nielsen, which will clarify how consumers are changing their shopping behavior in ways that could shape long-term buying patterns. “The patterns and behaviors of communities impacted in the early days of the spread of the virus shed critical insights for markets in less impacted areas. We will share critical insight into how retailers and suppliers can navigate the continuing evolution of this pandemic in their own markets,” said Stillman.

In another timely session, “The Future of Last-Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail,” Stillman will look at the future of last-mile fulfillment in the convenience channel and provide important insight on the ways in which retailers can lead and win trips, grow baskets and reinforce convenience leadership in today’s marketplace. She also will preview the NACS “Last Mile in Convenience” survey that NACS will open to retailers for participation in May 2020. “Last-mile delivery is the future, and it is what retailers are using right now to continue operations at a time when retail is dramatically being shut down and social distancing has become the norm,” said Stillman.

Other planned sessions are:

  • Convenience Outlook: Key Operational and Financial Lessons from 2019 (Charlie McIllvaine, Chairman/CEO, Coen Markets Inc.)
  • The Return of the Economist (Anirban Basu, Chairman and CEO, Sage Policy Group Inc.)
  • The Convenience Consumer (Larry Levin, Executive Vice President, Market and Shopper Intelligence, Information Resources Inc.)
  • What Drives Convenience Growth: Understanding Categories and the Need States That Drive Growth (Chuck Maggelet, Chief Adventure Guide, Maverik Inc.)
  • Transforming Convenience Through Food Experiences (Chris Wolf, Senior Vice President, Strategic Insights & Planning, The Marlin Network; and Chef Thomas Talbert, Vice President, Culinary Marketing, CSSI)
  • The Voice of the Convenience Customer: Winning Their Preference (Jose Gomes, President, North America, dunnhumby)
  • Market Implications Emerging from Future Mobility (Denton Cinquergrana, Chief Oil Analyst, Oil Price Information Service [OPIS])
  • Hidden Dollars: The Sustainability Treasure Hunt (Jeff Lenard, Vice President, Strategic Industry Initiatives, NACS)