As a sponsor of this year’s Operations Summit in Louisville, Kentucky, we joined others in the industry to discuss key trends around direct-to-consumer and omni-channel operations and fulfillment. Newgistics’ vice president of sales and business development, Patrick Allard, joined Douglas Smith, vice president of direct-to-consumer operations at Shepler’s Western Store and representatives from Ralph Lauren, American Eagle Outfitters and Swanson Health for a session titled “The Business Benefits of Creating a Great Returns Experience.” Moderated by Multichannel Merchant’s Ellen Shannon, the spirited discussion centered on raising the bar for returns – viewing it as an opportunity to enhance your brand, entice customers and drive sales. One of the most important discussions at the event featured representatives from Gilt, QVC, Gardner’s Supply, Fairytale Brownies and Belk, who came together for the keynote panel. The panel shared the challenges they faced this past year balancing growing customer demands with rising costs. Panelists discussed growing demands around quick shopping time, lower pricing for merchandise and shipping, and better communication and choices throughout the order fulfillment process – and the perpetual pursuit of innovative solutions to meet those demands. Some of the most popular sessions and roundtables covered the various elements of a top-notch omnichannel customer experience. Several omnichannel leaders shared their experiences with omnichannel customer experience management and all agreed on the need to take omnichannel slow. As Kevin Gardiner of Macy’s suggested, the enormous complexities of omnichannel call for a “crawl, walk and run approach.” We enjoyed sponsoring and attending this cutting-edge event, which offered a deep-dive into all things operations and fulfillment. We look forward to next year!