Key Takeaways from the 9th Annual Retail Fulfilment Summit

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By Published On: March 8, 20240 Comments

Akolade’s 9th Annual Retail Fulfilment Summit was held on 21 – 22 February at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. The two-day conference offered over 500 attendees valuable perspectives on successfully navigating changes within the supply chain sector.

Throughout the event, a variety of retail leaders presented case studies and strategies for enhancing order fulfilment processes and ecommerce strategies. From enhancing operational efficiency and embracing sustainability to elevating customer experiences and harnessing the power of technology, this summit gathered industry leaders to “share their experiences and chart a course towards success in this transformative era.”

Nat Cooper, GM Supply Chain at Michael Hill International said the event was a great opportunity to share “war stories” with both retail peers and service providers alike, “nothing but good idea generation and insights come from this event for us each year.”

Over 80 retail and fulfilment experts spoke at the event. These experts shared valuable insights into how to boost efficiency by streamlining ecommerce and fulfilment processes, elevating the customer experience through speed, convenience, and sustainability, meeting evolving customer expectations, implementing sustainable solutions that align with customer demands and government regulations, unleashing the full potential of existing technologies, minimising manual interventions and maximising operational efficiency, and navigating unpredictable economies by adapting to shifting consumer behaviours while maintaining genuine sustainability commitments.

Highlights included a one-on-one fireside chat between NRA CEO Rob Godwin and Chemist Warehouse co-founder Jack Gance in an exclusive rare public appearance.

Also particularly enlightening was a keynote speech from Kikki.K founder Kristina Karlsson who shared her struggles with the business and offered priceless advice to attendees about perseverance and chasing your dreams. 

Insights didn’t stop at retail experts, as Donna Looney, Head of Sovereign Capability and Supply Chains Division at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources gave a hugely insightful update on policy and government indicators.

Here are just three of many the key insights from the event:

“The future is green.”

From government regulation to customer expectations, there is no doubt that sustainability should be top of mind when making decisions around boosting efficiency and navigating fulfilment challenges. 

In National Retailers Association CEO, Rob Godwin’s opening remarks on day two of the summit, he stated that “The future is green” and this theme rang true across all presentations. From last mile delivery solutions, PUDO points, data collection and packaging itself, sustainability is a key consideration across retail and fulfilment industries.

Ai is a valuable tool 

Another key theme of the event was harnessing and understanding emerging technology, thus ensuring you stay ahead of the curve. 

In a discussion hosted by Rakesh Bandipelli, Director of the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA), a panel of data experts discussed the next generation of retail in Unleashing AI’s potential and emerging technologies in customer engagement and operations.  

The discussion revealed various ways AI can and is being used to elevate shopping and customer service, its role in predicting trends and managing inventory, and how AI can be used for market insights, inventory efficiency, and to understand consumer trends. 

Customer Engagement should be a priority

Prioritising customer experience is key in ensuring shoppers keep coming back. This was another theme that emerged in every single presentation. 

Leslie Pogson, head of Data and Analytics at Catch deep dived into how technology can be used to create personalised experiences, as well as some valuable insights into how to collect, analyse and leverage customer data responsibly. 

Jack Gance, co-founder of Chemist Warehouse shared his views on how to keep up with customer expectations and his secrets to delivering exceptional customer experiences. 


The 9th Retail Fulfilment Summit was sponsored by a variety of logistics and fulfilment solution providers such as Uber, RELEX, Extolla, Sherpa, HUBBED, Shippit, Qauntiful, Google Maps Platform, OniGroup, ANC, Ferag AG, Rithum, Dematic, Vanderlande, Mondiale VGL, SKUvantage, Blue Yonder, Celigo, Microlise, and EWE Group.

As well as presentations from leading retailers, the event featuring exhibits from Better Packaging Co, Stockinstore, Starshipit, ToolsGroup, Locad, Conveyor Logistics, Refundid, SEKO, Floship, eStore Logistics, Doordash, Jitterbit and Locate2u.

The Retail Fulfilment Summit will be returning for its 10th year in 2025 from the 26-27 February at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Don’t miss out, register your interest here:

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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