Connexus Conference Focuses on Surviving and Thriving

It’s not too late to register for the virtual education and strategy event set for next week.

August 06, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Surviving and Thriving in the Age of Disruption is the theme of the Conexxus annual education and strategy conference, which will be held virtually Aug. 11-13, from noon to 5 p.m. ET each day.

Conexxus created the conference for convenience and fuel retail industry professionals who are responsible for IT, marketing, customer experiences, security and technical programming.

The three-day all access pass is $314.16 for both members and non-members. It will have full access to Hopin, the virtual conference platform, where participants can attend three days of education sessions and interact with other attendees and sponsors through break-out networking, vendor exhibits and attendee activities. Once registered, participants can utilize the chat feature and connect with industry peers, even prior to the start of the conference.

Read on to get a preview of the speakers and the topics of their sessions:

Day 1:

KEYNOTE | Beyond the Pandemic and After the Elections: Issues, Challenges and Strategies to Grow Your Business Over The Next Two Years

Sessions for August 11 include strategies for where businesses should go from here, technologies to consider, how elections will impact the future, how various retail sectors fared amidst the pandemic, how consumer habits have changed, an overview of operational execution for integration of food service and packaged goods (from logistics to inventory management), and how to evaluate self check-out, delivery and curbside pickup options.

Aug 11, 12:10 p.m. ET 

Gene Marks—owner and operator of Marks Group PC

Marks  will talk about strategies and tactics for where businesses should go from here, key and little-known economic indicators to watch, workplace actions, technologies to consider and how the elections will impact the future.

Where We Are Headed: The Convenience Industry Outlook

Aug 11, 2:10 p.m. ET 

Lori Stillman—vice president of research, NACS

Industry performance in 2020 has been a wild roller coaster ride. The tsunami-like impact of a global pandemic has a way of drowning out foresight. Right now, it feels impossible to predict what the industry will look like next week, let alone next year. The ways in which retailers, suppliers and consumers have adapted to the challenges imposed by the events of 2020 are transforming categories, shopping patterns, retailer offerings and more! This session will look at which categories are winning, new solutions that are connecting retailers and shoppers and how to harvest the best learning—to date—from 2020 and how it can impact the future of convenience retail.

Bridging the Chasm: IT Requirements to Operational Execution

Aug 11, 3:55 p.m. ET

Kay Segal—founder, Business Accelerator Team (BATeam)

Mike Flebotte—partner, Business Accelerator Team (BATeam)

Nick Peters—director of IT, Holmes Oil

Babir Sultan—president, FavTrip

Krystal Rademacher—retail accounting supervisor, Quality Dairy Company

Systems must support marketing and operations. And systems today also must meet consumer need states, as well as integrate into the BOH (back of house) systems for foodservice and packaged goods. Since March 2020, consumers are using convenience stores for more products—both food and packaged goods—and they are using touchless services to get the products into their hands—be they self-check-out, delivery or curb-side pickup. This fast-paced session will share:

  • A recap of pertinent consumer trends for self-subscribed and distanced acquisition
  • An overview of requirements or needs for operational execution—from logistics to inventory management and from order management to curbside pickup and delivery
  • Key considerations and methodology to evaluate platform options and how these options must relate to the operational needs

Day 2:

Disrupt or be Disrupted: Industry Initiatives to Reshape Your Response to Disruption and Grow New Business Models.

Sessions for August 12 include API strategy, how Conexxus is accelerating API standardization to reduce technical debt, digital marketing strategy, evaluating your digital footprint and aligning across departments, and the NACS/Conexxus age verification work.

Faster, Cheaper, Better: Motivation and Strategies for Conexxus APIs

Aug 12, 12:10 p.m. ET

David Ezell—director of new initiatives, Conexxus

Clerley Silveira—API coordinator, Conexxus 

Patrick Abernathy—director of IT, Jacksons Food Stores

Ryan Uphouse—IT, Sheetz

APIs have become the foundation for new software development. To help the convenience industry pivot to APIs, Conexxus and NACS are investing heavily in tools, processes and specifications to speed the definition and implementation of industry-focused APIs. In this session, hear from retailers about projects for which APIs are crucial, new types of services planned that APIs will support and review how Conexxus is addressing the API ecosystem development in committees and in “the Factory.”

B2C Digital Marketing Tactics: Driving Engagement

Aug 12, 2 p.m. ET

Mike Flebotte—partner, Business Accelerator Team (BATeam)

Erin Strong—senior director of marketing and creative services, Maverik 

Don Frieden—president and CEO, P97 Networks

Digital marketing strategy should be geared to the mission of increasing customer visits. There are two ways to drive visits and sales—sell current customers more and more often and/ or increase the number of customers. For long-term sustained growth, you must increase visits—from your existing customer base as well as new customers. The tactics deployed can vary. In this session, we will share a roadmap for digital marketing strategy, summarizing key questions for consideration, methodically outlining what to ask and how to align with other departments and systems.  

Digital Identity and Age Verification and the Future of Retail

Aug 12, 3:50 p.m. ET 

Gray Taylor—executive director, Conexxus

Most states and the federal government are in the process of adopting digital replacements of the paper-based documents they issue. These new “documents” will create short-term confusion with those who use these documents to verify qualities of the presenter—when using a mobile driver’s license to buy beer or a digital social security card to prove citizenship, for example. During this digital identity disruption, the need for high-quality and low PII risk verification of age will become more important to retailers, as new age-restricted products enter the market and new restrictions on existing categories emerge; and the two trends can appear to be at odds. This session will show you how NACS and Conexxus are leading the private sector in shaping digital identity and verification process flows to minimize friction and data risk, while improving the quality of verification as we move from paper identity to future digital identity.

Day 3:

Digital Transformation: Designs and strategies essential for innovation

Sessions for August 13 include a look at IoT and how disparate systems can create data rich solutions without data integrations, ISVs utilizing IoT, the move to “agile” environments, how architecture decisions can affect culture, and what’s on the mind of some top retailers when it comes to new initiatives.

IoT Data-Driven Experiences for Retail

Aug 13, 12:10 p.m. ET

Michael McCool—principal engineer, Intel

Kristen Call—U.S. IoT specialist, Intel

In retail, the latest technologies enable exciting data-driven experiences and unlock business value like never before. However, there is still a lack of interoperability between various IoT and edge computing solutions, making it difficult for retailers to deploy integrated solutions with speed and ease. Our conversation and demo demonstrate how you can create flexible data rich retail solutions from disparate systems. Without depending on tightly coupled direct integrations, we demonstrate the creation of a sophisticated retail system using the open source framework EdgeX, IoT standards, and the visual orchestration system NodeRed. We also discuss the potential future value of emerging standards such as the W3C Web of Things (WoT).

The Store of the Future

Aug 13, 2:10 p.m. ET 

Kristen Call—US IoT Specialist, Intel

Marty Wolfe—vice president and global consumer industries CTO, IBM

As the role of the store has evolved, and especially given the challenges created by COVID-19 and the “new normal” of operations, this session will discuss the need and approach to deploying a common “hybrid store cloud platform” and the most important related considerations.

Kevin Smartt, CEO of Kwik Chek and Conexxus Chairman Gray Taylor discuss the future of convenience retail in the age of pandemic and the coming “new normal"

Aug 13, 3:45 p.m. ET

Kevin Smartt—CEO Kwik Chek and Conexxus chairman 

Gray Taylor—executive director, Conexxus

Smartt will discuss initiatives his medium-size company have taken to fully leverage digital commerce and marketing to increase category sales and minimize fuel demand destruction—including what he sees for the market as we emerge from lockdown; and how technology strategy plays an essential part in Kwik Chek’s success.

* Schedule is subject to change without prior notice

To take part in the Conexxus annual education and strategy conference, click here to register.

The annual strategy meeting following the conference will be held on Aug. 18 for Board Members and Gold Members.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.