General SessionLocation: Panzacola Ballroom G1 & F1-2
They are the tireless CEOs of their respective sections—the category managers who navigate a labyrinth of complexity. Amid mounting pressure on profits, turns and market-basket synergies, the best category managers are committed professionals balancing new products and customer favorites to enhance their stores’ operations. The Category Manager of the Year Awards recognize these often-underappreciated specialists, who were nominated by their supplier and wholesaler partners.
The tried and true ways of marketing have turned into tired and old, not to mention ineffective. The ability to build relationships and be heard by your market has never been greater, but overwhelming when trying to determine what tools to use. This session, lead by the effervescent Scott Stratten, president of UnMarketing, covers both online and offline methods of staying in front of your target audience, so when they have the need to buy, they choose you. From social media, to traditional local events, there are proven ways to connect more than ever before and after this session you have the practical tools to implement the tactics right away.
CRU Workshops (Choose 1 of 5)
The essence of CRU is the educational curriculum available to all attendees, providing insight, key trends and data, and valuable ideas to implement in stores. Regardless of your sphere of responsibility within the convenience industry, you will find the workshops informative, enlightening and engaging.
A number of retailers are changing the paradigms of how products get into the hands of consumers! In this session, we will explore how some of these disruptive concepts are turning into reality. Amazon Go is targeting to open 3,000 stores. Convenience retailers are already experimenting with employee-free locations. We will show how robots, third-party delivery and a rapidly expanding micro-market concept threaten share of the dollar for c-stores. Yes, amazing things are really happening! Are you ready?
Disruption to business comes in many forms, but no one is ever fully prepared for the next scam. All convenience store operators can do is be vigilant, adaptable, well-informed and even creative. Learn about best practices in fraud mitigation from this panel of esteemed, experienced retailers and subject-matter experts in risk management.
Strong branding is the cornerstone of retail success. New technology now makes it easy to create on-demand label merchandising at the store level. This capability reduces cost and the amount of space associated with storing labels while increasing sales by providing professional, informative and compliant labeling. This is extremely important to the production of fresh food. Beautiful color labels can be created and printed right at the point of production, in the store or the central kitchen. Learn how this technology can help you to grow your sales and profitability.
The natural product industry has been growing across all retail channels year-over-year and increasingly shaping shoppers’ expectations. However, keeping pace with health trends can be a full-time job. About 40% of consumers say their definitions of health have changed over the last two years, according to Technomic’s 2018 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. The recent partnership between retailers with The Partnership for a Healthier America and new concepts catering to health-conscious consumers might signal big changes in our industry. With SPINS to lead us, join us for a lively conversation on emerging segments of opportunity in natural, organic, sustainable and health-forward products.
Join Altria Group Distribution Company in this interactive session to gain insight into the consumer and learn together how we can optimize your tobacco categories in 2019. We will explore the seven vectors of change and how they may apply to your operations all grounded in the never ending pursuit of happiness.
CRU Key Category Forums
Convenience is under siege – and everyone knows it. Online retailing, third-party foodservice delivery and declining fuel fill-ups are challenging c-store retailers’ in-store performance. So maximizing category success has never been more important.
To help retailers grow sales amid this retail revolution, we’re providing Key Category Forums. In the nearly four hours of category-specific deep dives, we’ll go into key trends, product innovation and customer strategies that will help retailers grow their business and stay relevant for years to come.
Each forum will feature experts to inspire fresh ideas and new ways to engage customers. We also want to hear from retailers, which is why we’ll spend part of the time brainstorming together. Whether you’re a one-store operator or work for a chain of 5,000 units, you are guaranteed to go home with new insights and actionable solutions.
The presentation options will include Tobacco/OTP, Packaged Beverages, Foodservice, Dispensed Beverages, Center Store, Operations/Fuel & Forecourt and the Connected Customer.
- 1:30pm - 2:00pm, Guest Facilitator: Welcome & Presentation
- 2:00pm - 2:45pm, Subject Matter Expert Presentation
- 2:45pm - 3:15pm, Networking Break
- 3:15pm - 4:15pm, Key Category Panel
- 4:15pm - 5:00pm, Guest Speaker Presentation
- 5:00pm - 5:30pm, Open Discussion
New regulation, consumption challenges and a fresh take on cannabis keep retailers on the lookout for ways to drive sales and profit margins in the tobacco/OTP category. Join guest moderator, Kraig Knudsen, Category Manager, Circle K, guest speaker, Don Burke, Senior Vice President, Management Science Associates and retail panel members Anne Flint, Cumberland Farms, Laura White, RaceTrac and Anna Bettencourt, VERC Enterprises for frank and interactive discussion dedicated to discovering new ways our industry can rise to the challenges surrounding it.
Retailers are hesitant to mess with a category that represents more than one-fifth of inside gross profits. But with the largest segments on the downslide and new entries showing promise, it may be time to blow up the cold vault. We’ll explore product assortment, shifting consumer demand and how outside influences are affecting shoppers’ purchase decisions. Join guest moderator, Dana Sump, Senior Category Manager, Casey’s and guest speaker Nik Modi, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets for a frank and interactive discussion dedicated to maximizing sales and profits in cold vault space.
Whether your chain is more traditional in its approach to foodservice with roller grill and packaged food or it offers full-service and MTO options, you face the same cravings for consumer insight, trends and product innovation. As everyone from large tech companies to small start-ups look to cash in on foodservice convenience, retailers are constantly challenged in how to capture their share of stomach. This session, comprised of 3.5 hours of subject matter experts, category panels and guest speakers allows frank and interactive discussion dedicated to the nuances of running a foodservice operation in an ever-evolving channel.
Whether cold, hot or frozen, dispensed beverages are a focal point of every convenience store and continue to be some of the most complex of foodservice categories. So many things to consider! Do you have the right cup sizes, lids and product assortment to provide shopper beverage satisfaction? Some things that seemed simple – straws and disposable cups and sugary drinks – are now a societal conversation. What are the hot headlines in dispensed beverages you need to know from flavors to regulations to merchandising? This session, comprised of 3.5 hours of subject matter experts, category panels and guest speakers allows frank and interactive discussion dedicated to operational and customer needs within dispensed beverages.
Center store is the heart of any retail site. This is where consumers find items ranging from impulse snacks and candies to the medications needed to cure headaches and sensitive stomach from overloading on the former. While the center store remains a staple for visits, retailers are faced with the challenge of pleasing today’s evolving consumers regarding their snacks, candy and general merchandise purchases. Now more than ever, customers crave the ease of convenience associated with c-stores, but with a new interest in exceptional quality. This session—a 3.5-hour meeting between subject matter experts, category panels and guest speakers—allows frank and interactive dialogue dedicated to operational and customer needs within the center store.
With flat store traffic and fuel demand, getting consumers onto your site—and encouraging a repeat visit—is becoming more critical than ever. C-store retailers must hit the mark in the store and at the pumps, with everything from store cleanliness to the fueling experience at play. This session tackles the operational challenges and opportunities for c-store retailers. Join your moderator, Roy Strasburger, president, Strasburger Retail, and guest speaker Cassandra Worthy and her presentation of “Mastering the Chemistry of Change” for a frank and interactive discussion dedicated to operational challenges found in (and outside) the c-store. CSP’s fuels editor Samantha Oller will share highlights of a new consumer study with GasBuddy on influential factors in the c-store visit, and a panel discussion will focus on how to seal the deal with consumers on the gas island.
How are you adapting to a connected customer’s retail shopping wants and needs? This session aims to understand implications of technology in frictionless checkout, marketing and consumer communication initiatives. Join subject matter experts, category panelists and guest speakers for 3.5 hours of interactive discussion dedicated to the operational challenges of meeting today’s fast-paced, mobile-centric consumer.