What to watch at NRF Converge if you support a retail frontline

In some ways, the annual NRF conference feels like a big reunion. All your favorite retail leaders and industry commentators get together to talk about what’s worked for them in the past year and how they’re preparing to take on next year’s challenges. 

Needless to say, this year there’s a lot to talk about. Retailers have been forced to make lightning fast pivots and rewrite their strategic plans for a new retail landscape. And you can hear all about it, from the comfort of your home, at NRF Retail Converge next week. 

But with over 15 keynotes, 50 featured sessions, 30 Exhibitor Big Ideas sessions and 20 Lunch and Learns, we’re left with the age-old conference dilemma: so much to take in, so little time. 

If you support a frontline workforce, we’re here to help. We combed through the agenda and hand-picked sessions to help you learn from frontline-forward brands and hone your winning frontline employee support strategy. 

Read on for our list of not-to-be-missed frontline-focused keynotes and featured sessions at NRF Retail Converge: 

JUNE 21 

Retail Rising Together – Making Investments that pay it forward, with Walmart
11 – 11:30 EDT 
Walmart has made big moves this year to support associates through safety initiatives, training and development and even a
recently announced mobile device strategy. Hear from CEO John Furner about how their long term investment in their people positions them well for future success. 

After the Great Accelerator – Research tells us what customers want from the physical store
11:45 – 12:15 EDT 
Stores took on new roles during the pandemic, including showroom and fulfilment center, which had significant implications for frontline associates’ day-to-day job. Find out what changes are likely to stick and what will fade away, so you can better prepare your frontline workforce. 

How frontline support drives bottom-line growth in retail, with Lowe’s
2:30 – 3 pm EDT
How do leading retailers like Lowe’s set their stores apart in a competitive market? They make sure their associates are knowledgeable, confident and ready to deliver consistently great customer experiences. Hear from Jamie Furey, VP of Talent Management, Learning and Diversity, as she breaks down how Lowe’s uses frontline training and communications to impact key metrics. 

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Lowe’s supports their frontline at NRF. 


Purpose in action: How CVS’ role in the pandemic is reshaping it as a community health hub, with CVS
10:30 – 11:15 am EDT
CVS was heavily involved in the pandemic response, through COVID-19 testing and the vaccine roll-out. Learn more about how they performed these logistical feats as well as how changes in consumer demand have shaped their multichannel strategy, in this session with CVS Pharmacy President, Neela Montgomery.

Technology that’s transforming retail: A fireside chat with Walmart’s Global CTO and CDO
1 – 1:30 pm EDT
Let’s get technical! Walmart’s top tech guru breaks down how the retail giant is using cutting edge technology to make associates’ and customers’ lives easier.  

How Gap Inc., Albertsons and Total Wine & More successfully navigated the greatest disruptor of our lifetime, evolved and prepare for the future
1:45 – 2:15 pm EDT
One apparel retailer, one alcohol retailer and one grocer. This session promises to include an interesting mix of perspectives as they discuss new products, processes and approaches that have emerged from the crucible of 2020. 

Southeastern Grocers President & CEO, Anthony Hucker explores a future fueled by trust
3:30 – 4 pm EDT
SEG attributes their remarkable gains in business performance to record-high trust scores among associates. Tune in to this session to learn how to build a culture of trust in your frontline workforce.


Leading in the new normal, with Kohl’s
10:30 – 11 am EDT
Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass has made some bold moves this year to drive growth and reach a younger demographic. Hear how she led her team of more than 100,000 associates through these changes, emerging stronger than ever.

Anatomy of growth-driven transformation, with Bed, Bath and Beyond
11 – 11:30 EDT
Mark Tritton took the helm of Bed, Bath and Beyond with a three-year plan to turn the business around. A few months later, the pandemic hit. Find out about how this retailer is evolving and delivering on the brand’s promise to Unlock the Magic in Every Room.

Why it’s time to do a workforce mental health check-up
1 – 1:30 pm EDT
During this challenging year, associates’ mental health and wellness has come into focus for many frontline employers. Attend this session to hear strategies for putting an end to stigma and improving workplace mental health. 

JUNE 24 

The state of retail: A conversation on a digitally led transformation, with Macy’s, Inc.
10:30 – 11 am EDT
Macy’s dove headfirst into omnichannel this year. Hear how they use digital technology to deliver the most relevant and engaging shopping experiences, in this session with CEO and Chairman Jeff Gennette. 

Owning the home, with Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
11 – 11:30 am EDT
Tune in to this conversation with CEO Laura Alber to learn more about Williams-Sonoma’s commitment to a values-based company culture focused on sustainability, DE&I and employee support—and how that plays into their long term growth plans. 

Raising the bar on diversity, equity and inclusion goals
1:45 – 2:15 pm EDT
Learn from Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor of Case Western Reserve University as she shares research on the organizational strategies, best practices and metrics that can be used to address the problem of retail racism. 


JUNE 25 

Serving the ‘Out-Here’ lifestyle: How Tractor Supply is committed to being a more integral part of its customers’ lives
10:30 – 11 am EDT
After a year of record growth, Tractor Supply’s CEO Hal Lawton lays out his plan to keep the momentum going with their Life Out Here strategy. Plus, hear more about why they view their 42,000-strong frontline team as a competitive differentiator. 

Delivering high-value insights: Wayfair and Levi Strauss & Co. use AI to drive future strategy
1 – 1:30 pm EDT
No conference experience is complete without a session on AI, and this one promises to be a good one. Hear from two top retailers about how AI is really used to benefit the business, and which areas are the next to be disrupted. 

Get your ticket, and check out the full agenda at NRF Retail Converge

Jordan Dilworth has spent the majority of his marketing career working with some of the world’s leading brands and retail organizations across the apparel, footwear and beverage alcohol industries. Prior to Axonify, he was the head of North American Retail Marketing at Columbia Sportswear Company for 125 stores across the portfolio of brands and store formats. At Axonify, Jordan leads the Demand Marketing team with a focus on the Retail and Food & Beverage Industries.

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Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.