To help members better understand the dynamic operational trends occurring in ecommerce, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has tapped Tim Steiner, co-founder and CEO of U.K. online grocer Ocado, as a keynote speaker at its 2018 Midwinter Executive Conference.
“There’s a real appetite for change among food retailers, and the excitement is building to produce rewarding food experiences for a digitally engaged consumer,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “Ocado is using machine learning to create new experiences and opportunities for customers, even supplying its scalable technologies to other retailers.”
“The channel shift to online grocery shopping continues to accelerate internationally, bringing increasing pressure on retailers to adapt and evolve to meet these changing dynamics,” said Steiner. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to share insights of some of the challenges and successes we have experienced in building our business into a sustainably profitable company, and our experience of working with other retailers to help enable their online businesses.”
“None of us is insulated from disruption in this current business environment, but we have the ability to learn from each other and transition our once-perceived barriers into growth solutions,” added Sarasin. “Midwinter 2018 will attempt to satiate this hunger for longer-term business planning, knowing fully well that tomorrow the technology will change.”
In contrast with the typical supermarket, which carries an estimated 39,000 products, Ocado provides more than 50,000 and addresses complex logistical issues via its pure-play ecommerce model. Founded in 2000, when online and grocery delivery were still in their infancy, the company had more than $1.4 billion in sales in 2016, and is often held up as a model for online retail because of its automated warehouses, early adoption of a mobile strategy, and recent developments in voice capabilities using Alexa. Ocado also uses its technology and intellectual property to aid other retailers’ online businesses, including those of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc in the United Kingdom, and Groupe Casino in France.
An invitation-only event, the 2018 Midwinter Executive Conference will take place Jan. 26-29 at the National Doral Miami, in Florida.