Industry thought leaders present a global vision
for the future at the NACS Leadership Forum.
Nearly 300 NACS retailer and supplier members came together in Miami Beach from February 10–13 for the invite-only NACS Leadership Forum. This world-class event brings retailers and suppliers together in an intimate setting, providing a venue for convenience and fuel retailers to strengthen existing business relationships and build new ones, while gaining insights from some of the industry’s top voices. In addition to attending daily educational sessions sharing unique
perspectives on the changing convenience and fuel retailing landscape, Leadership Forum
participants also networked with colleagues during a variety of informal evening events.
Focus on Customer Experience
The NACS Leadership Forum kicked off with Harvard Business School Professor and
Stanley Roth Fellow Dr. Rajiv Lal, who assured attendees that convenience is the hottest
currency in retail today. Lal presented the opening general session, “Retail Revolution: Will
Your Brick-and-Mortar Survive?”
Lal said that online sales and innovations don’t necessarily affect all aspects of a brick-
and-mortar store. “You should singularly focus on one thing: customer experience,” Lal
advised. “If you can make the customer experience better, there’s no end to what you can
He shared his thoughts on Amazon.com, noting that today the retailer is not just the
world’s biggest bookstore, but in fact, the world’s biggest store. “Amazon has done an
amazing job of making sure you consider that to be the first place to shop,” he said.
Lal also offered up some other sound advice:
• Retailers need to focus on gross margins, basket size and shopping frequency.
• Think about how you’re maximizing your square footage.
• Think outside the box and tackle the last mile, including using data and CRM systems
on a mobile platform and your parking lots for customers to pick up goods ordered.
“Why can’t you start home delivery? You have Instacart, you have Uber—you can use
these assets,” he said.
• Retailers are not quick enough to experiment with new ideas and this fear can be
paralyzing. Ultimately, c-store owners need to ask themselves: “Are we going to be
happy with what we have, or are we going to invest in the future?”