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The eDelivery Conference Returns on the 11th of October


The eDelivery Conference returns for a second year to London’s Novotel West on 11 October. Emma Herrod shares a preview of the speakers and topics to be discussed under the 2016 event’s overarching theme of practicality.
Following its successful inaugural year, the eDelivery Conference (EDC) returns to London on 11 October 2016. The event will address the latest trends and developments, as well as the best strategies for the “S-O-L-D” – Supply Chain, Operations, Logistics and Delivery – industry.

Key decision makers from Amazon, Tesco, Mothercare, Asda, M&S, John Lewis, Barbour, Royal Mail, Intershop, FedEx Cross Border, among other leading brands, will lead the board-level discussion taking place at Novotel West, Hammersmith.

The umbrella theme for this year’s eDelivery Conference is Practicality; how to respond to customer demands and schedule requirements by improving operational performance will be addressed across two conference streams and through roundtable discussion groups.

Perceived as a leader in delivering customer experience while innovating in supply chain and warehouse automation and now operating its own cargo planes is Amazon. Kick starting the industry into thinking about new business models – and opening this year’s eDelivery Conference is Katie McQuaid, Director – Fulfillment, Amazon. She’ll be talking to delegates about fulfilling customer demands – getting to the root of what customers want, how they want it and knowing where to invest to deliver success

“Investing in back office systems designed to support orders and fulfilment is vital for retailers competing to match delivery imperatives with joined up, multichannel customer options and capabilities. What are the costs and potential benefits? Where do you start when mapping a blueprint designed to gain buy-in from key decision makers and staff?” she says.


The conference will then split into 2 simultaneously-running conference tracks. The first of these will concentrate on Availability. This track will examine how the rapid growth of online retail has impacted traditional infrastructure, revealing new approaches for achieving efficiency, responsiveness, and agility. Migration to online shopping has forced retailers to restructure operations, models and relationships with customers and suppliers in order to achieve a robust and competitive supply chain.

It has also necessitated a closer working relationship within retail organisations as silo’d working gives way to cross-functional teams. At Marks & Spencer, for example, the logistics team thinks about the end customers but is also integrated with other departments in the business – such as the product and retail teams, ecommerce and buying – to work towards M&S being a seamless organisation. As Adrian Harris explains in this issue of eDelivery, his team has spent time with consumers and the different internal teams to understand what their needs are and to improve their understanding of the feedback that they are getting and how to prioritise what’s important.

When it comes to planning for peak, he explains that this is a “full-year process”. Basket configurations alter during peak trading as well, as customer purchasing behaviour changes. This impacts on how the warehouses are configured, so the logistics team works closely with commercial teams here, too. “Peak is a period of time of significantly more volume and we put in hugely detailed plans to make sure we’ve accounted for all the variability in terms of what might happen,” he says.

Ricky Wilson, Head of Operations at Marks & Spencer, will share more information with delegates on the different delivery services available to customers through its Shop Your Way service and how successful they are. He will also talk about how M&S is using click and collect to meet and exceed new customer demands and will reveal details of its trial of click and collect lockers at the Teddington Simply Food store.

Delegates will also hear how leading retailers are getting to grips with the latest technology and operational strategies designed to increase growth by gaining first-hand insights into key topics including: omnichannel, international growth and delivery, big data, sourcing, returns management and collaborative working as EDC gets to the heart of what is needed to improve operational effectiveness in omnichannel today.

The case for first time, on time, every time delivery has been well established within internet retailing and carriers have been working hard, innovating to help retailers’ end customer get their order at a time that’s convenient. Royal Mail, for example, has been transforming to thrive in this modern environment, transforming its parcel business and making big changes across the network. Delegate at EDC will hear from Roger Morris, Head of Royal Mail Parcels, Royal Mail on how the carrier is progressing with one of the biggest technology transformations in UK parcels history, to ensure the best possible service to its customers by investing in IT, technology processes and a range of exciting new initiatives to expand capabilities and deliver better services and improved efficiency.

Availability of products also requires swift returns. New models for service innovation and profitability are turning retail returns into a business opportunity which Tesco has been quick to grab. Tesco’s Head of Returns will share insight into how multichannel after sales management can be turned from being disastrous to the bottom line into a vehicle that not only enhances customer communications and connections but increases customer satisfaction too.


The second conference track will focus on Experience and how delivery professionals have evolved from being ‘back office’ staff to key drivers of customer experience. Today, it’s all about getting things right in the final mile. Orders drive retail business: making a product buyable for a customer; enabling the transaction; getting the product to (and sometimes from) a customer, whether at home, in store or collection point.

However, customers no longer see this as a ‘process’ or ‘journey’ or connected points – they are demanding a seamless, continuous connection with the retail brand, products and capabilities.

In this conference track, delegates will gain a well-rounded perspective on how the retail trailblazers are flexing, reworking and revolutionising customer delivery strategies to increase efficiency and win loyalty in the new retail landscape that has placed ‘delivery’ centre stage.

Delivery has moved from something which takes 3-5 days to free delivery as standard and next-day services with cut-off times becoming later in the day. Customers of fashion retailer Next can place their order at any time up until midnight and have their purchase delivered the next day either to their home or to a store for collection.

Recent times have seen retailers launching a number of same-day delivery services as the eternal innovator Amazon pushes forward with its one-hour Prime Now service. The launch of its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service has been followed by same-day grocery services by Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Tesco’s customers can collect their grocery order after 4pm from one of 300 stores as long as they place their order before 1pm.

Sainsbury’s is trialling same-day grocery deliveries from three supermarkets in Surrey and London and doubling the number of supermarkets from which customers can collect their shopping from a drive-thru. Of course, the full extent of Sainsbury’s acquisition of Argos is yet to be realised. A number of Argos spoke stores were located in Sainsbury’s supermarkets before the acquisition so it has experience of the hub and spoke model operated by the general merchandiser but the acquisition gives it access to so much more. In 2015, Argos launched its Fast Track delivery service which sees customer orders delivered the same day by its own network of van drivers.

Both retailers and carriers have plenty to discuss as ‘final mile’ innovations continue. “Working with multiple carriers, diverse networks, modes of transport and fulfilment models can be challenging,” says Craig Wheeler, Operations Director, In this conference stream, he’ll discuss how he’s working with suppliers to maximise visibility and drive customer satisfaction. He’ll also share the obstacles that need to be overcome to guarantee success, how greater collaboration can improve efficiency and ROI can be most easily achieved.

Presentations also look to new technologies and innovations such as Wayfair’s introduction of virtual reality into the shopping experience. It’s new R&D business unit, called Wayfair Next, is dedicated to creating a superior shopping experience for customers and is focused on improving the visualization of products – exploring novel 3D scanning techniques to enable Wayfair’s vast catalogue to be used for augmented reality and virtual reality. Maxim Romain, General Manager, Wayfair will share why the retailer believes the innovations from Wayfair Next will help transform the way customers shop for their homes over the coming years. Wherever you sell and whichever carrier you use delivery has to be managed from labels and duty and taxes to delivery status and carrier performance. Hypaship will share insight into simplifying and managing the processes to save time and money.


Three speakers will close the conference as they share insight into the key topics of supply chain agility, the true cost of delivery and international. Walter Blackwood, ‎Omni Channel Logistics Expert – ‎W&MB Consulting Ltd, and Former Logistics Director, Mothercare asks how agile is your supply chain. The industry veteran will share 5 things every retailer should know to maximise performance and increase supply chain effectiveness in order to grow and transform your business.

Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics, IMRG will present the findings of the IMRG Blackbay 2016 UK Valuing Home Delivery Review which examines the costs But, there are costs associated with failing to meet customer’s expectations for first time, on time every time delivery.

Finally, Leah Zhang, International Business Development, Alibaba will talk about the Chinese consumer and the growth opportunities available in this retail hotspot. As a leading retailer in China, she will present on how retailers need to redefine operational frameworks and organisational structures to cash in on international growth opportunities, what Chinese customers really want and how retailers can hone their supply chain for the competitive edge.


Conferences though are not about sitting and listening to speakers – for all the ideas they generate and insight given. Discussing, sharing and getting your own questions answered are equally important. The introduction of roundtables at this year’s EDC will give all delegates the opportunity to speak with their peers. In all, 13 roundtables, where industry experts will share insights over the strategic, operational and trading aspects of their businesses, will provide a practical, deployable learning opportunity to supplement the inspiration and best practice in the conference tracks.

Moderators, include Paul Johnson-Barnett, Head of Distribution at Barbour, discussing how to take fulfilment and delivery abroad and Kamal Bal, Head of Online Performance at M&S, discussing strategies to put customer experience at the heart of online.

Sam North, Portfolio Director, says of the event: “The eDelivery Conference is the first pan-European conference where the retail boardroom gathers to discuss the strategies, innovations, new capabilities and cross-border regulations that are shaping the universe behind the buy-button. With the increasing role that S-O-L-D is playing in setting retailers apart, there has never been a greater need for a conference like EDC. We are proud to gather the most innovative retailers and supply chain leaders to share their insight in a practical way.”

eDelivery Conference is the sister event of the InternetRetailing Conference (IRC), now into its second decade at the forefront of multichannel. The well-established 11th Annual Conference, taking place on 12th October also at Novotel West, Hammersmith, will offer a rounded view on the new directions of travel and goals as multichannel commerce moves into the next stage of digitally-led transformation.

To learn more about the eDelivery Conference or to book your place now, visit

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