This fall, SCI hosted a series of educational events to discuss some of the key trends and challenges posed by the rise of e-commerce, the speed and pace of new technology and increasing consumer expectations.

The SCI Summits featured presentations from industry experts and panel discussions about how companies are adapting and evolving to meet these increasing demands.

SCI’s Omni-Channel Retail and Healthcare Executive Summit: The Power Shift of Consumerism

The SCI Executive Summit focused on the evolution of e-commerce and how brands are keeping pace with increasing consumer demands.

Canada Post’s Valerie Solc presented the latest research on Canada’s evolving e-commerce landscape. This included the rise of hyper+ shoppers, the importance of identifying a brand’s ideal customer and focusing on the customer journey throughout the entire purchase process.

Ran Ravitz from E-commerce Pathways shared his thoughts on different marketplace channels and how they can be used for direct to consumer strategies as brands mature and need to expand their customer base.

He discussed the benefits and drawbacks of direct to consumer platforms, including the brand’s ability to own the relationship with the customer and reduce dependency on other distribution channels.

Spin Master’s Brock Mclaughlin underlined the importance of using influencer marketing to drive brand awareness and the importance of working with influencers who align with a brand’s core values.

The summit concluded with an engaging panel discussion on strategies to handle peak season, moderated by Michael Leblanc for The Voice of Retail podcast. The panelists – Stephanie Barrington, Jerry Lam and Franco Schiavone – agreed that spreading out sales over a longer period and starting earlier promotions can help companies manage the Black Friday demands.

SCI Technology Summit: The New Age of B2B Consumerism

The SCI Technology Summit discussed how the impact of new technology on consumer expectations, is now affecting B2B business. Purolator’s Azim Panju spoke about businesses expect the same service levels as consumers. He noted that companies should modify their approach to business interactions to target a business’s specific needs.

Charlie Atkinson of CompTIA discussed the importance of seamless customer experience in an increasingly digital age. He advised brands to focus on understanding their customers, solicit customer feedback and act on this feedback to help improve the customer experience.

Slimstock’s Ludovic Magne offered insights about the impacts of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) on inventory management. AI and machine learning can be leveraged to predict sales cycles and can process high volumes of data much faster than humans, increasing speed and efficiency.

Jack McSorley of TechReset addressed the importance of repurposing, instead of recycling, old technology and ensuring that companies have sustainable plans in place to manage technology as it becomes obsolete.

The fireside chat with panelists Dave Duncan (PeopleToGo) and Nick Gaganiaras (Colliers) focused on unprecedented changes in consumerism and what businesses are doing to prepare themselves for the speed of change. Both participants agreed that companies that will succeed in this ever-evolving environment need to have the flexibility to scale up or down and be able to adapt and embrace change.

SCI would like to thank all the presenters and panelists for sharing their thoughts and experiences at these events.

There were many great, important discussions that provided insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by our industries today and how these trends will impact business in the future.

For more detailed accounts of the events, check out the blog posts from SCI’s CEO Chris Galindo on the key learnings from both the SCI Omni-Channel Retail and Healthcare Executive Summit and the SCI Technology Summit.