NEWTON UPPER FALLS, Mass. -- Retailers seeking ways to tap into the e-commerce bonanza as well as optimize their supply chains will find ideas and expertise at this year's Retail Systems 1999 Conference and Exposition.
The show, held side by side with the VICS 1999 Retail Supply Chain Business Conference, will take place June 6 to 9 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
This year Retail Systems is coordinating its schedule with the Washington-based Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Standards Association's conference so that attendees can spend time at both shows, according to Tom Friedman, president of Retail Systems Alert Group here, which sponsors the Retail Systems 1999 show and organizes the VICS 1999 conference.
"Because we had significant crossover between Retail Systems and VICS last year, we have staggered events as much as possible so attendees can go to both opening days, with Retail Systems on Monday morning, June 7, and VICS on Monday afternoon," said Friedman.
June 8, Retail Systems has no sessions and VICS has a full morning of sessions. "On Wednesday, we have scheduled a common closing lecture by Rick Dalzell, chief information officer of Amazon.com, who is one of the most widely respected experts on e-commerce supply-chain practices."
In addition to Dalzell, a variety of retailers will present information about e-commerce, both from a business-to-consumer and a business-to-business perspective.
"Debbi Gilotti, who is heading up Internet strategy at Starbucks, and Robert Chea, vice president of engineering at Fogdog Sports, represent the best and brightest in e-commerce thinking," said Friedman.
"Phil Wilkerson, one of the brightest information technology people in any industry, will discuss how the Gap supports its brand images through its technology prowess during the keynote address on June 8. And Bob Herbold, chief operating officer of Microsoft, will lecture on his company's new ideas about integrating retailers and their suppliers," he added.
In addition to e-commerce, decision-support technology will be a major focus at the conference. "The industry should pay more attention to decision-support technologies for customer profiling and relationship development," said Friedman. "We have several lectures from international innovators in decision support in different industry segments."
Among the speakers on decision support will be Franco Collavo, IT director of the largest Italian supermarket chain, Gruppo GS; Bob Graham, director of store systems for warehouse grocery chain Smart & Final; and Scott Mills, vice president of information systems for American Skiing Co.
With the National Retail Federation's Riscon show being revamped into NRF.com, with a narrower focus on e-commerce, Friedman said he believes Retail Systems 1999 will provide an opportunity for retailers to learn about new technologies for all areas of their organizations, particularly in the area of supply-chain management.
In another move to help attendees better use their time at the show, Retail Systems 1999 will feature TechTours -- guided trips around the exhibit floor developed around major retail technology themes such as store automation, e-commerce and merchandising management.
About 350 exhibitors and about 5,000 attendees are expected at this year's show. Last's year's attendance was slightly more than 4,000, with 350 exhibitors. "We've seen a steady increase over the past several years," Friedman said. On the show floor, the Retail Internet Expo area, housing Internet software vendors, is the biggest area of growth this year, he noted.