a rEAlly bad time to be boring” keynote address
TUesday, 8:15am-9:15am
► AIA Approved | 1.0 LU

"By now it should be obvious that trying to stake out a winning position by being a slightly better version of boring is untenable." Steve Dennis

X/SPECS 2018 opens with retail strategist Steve Dennis’s unfiltered look at how retail will be re-imagined in the age of Amazon. The former Neiman Marcus executive is staunch in his belief that there is NO retail apocalypse; physical retail is “definitely different but far from dead.” Dennis emphasizes in his X/SPECS keynote address that innovation isn’t about out-Amazoning Amazon, but about forging your own unique and remarkable path.
Presenter:  Steve Dennis, President of SageBerry Consulting

TUesday, 11:30am-12:15Pm
► AIA Approved | 1.0 LU

The enemy of innovation is stagnation. Sit still too long and progress will pass you by. Veteran retailer Eric Russell will lead you out of the comfort of your routine into new territory that is ripe for innovation. With your participation and input, Eric will detail the ways that retail development has been treading water for decades, explore how you can impact change via long-term partnerships and efficient resource applications and, above all, challenge you to employ thoughtful leadership strategies versus tactful management styles.
Presenter:  Eric Russell, director of construction, Bath & Body Works, L Brands store design & construction


Wednesday, 8:15Am-9:00Am
► AIA Approved | 1.0 LU

Kelly McDonald, best-selling author and nationally recognized expert on marketing and consumer trends, will show that learning how to work with, lead, and market to people who are not like you is the key driver of success and innovation. What do customers want and how do they want it? How do design, facilities and operations help deliver an innovative and exceptional customer – and associate – experience?

Working with people who are “not like us”  brings different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to the table — fostering creative solutions, innovative ideas and the future-thinking possibilities to move business forward.

Kelly will cover how generational differences and workforce diversity can be leveraged toward a more progressive retail culture – one that is ripe for innovative thinking. Major macro trends of what customers want today – and tomorrow – will also be covered. The multi-unit retail industry is under pressure – this session will show you how to harness the power that is already within your teams and how to bring out the best in innovative thinking for greater growth, sales and profits. 
Presenter: Kelly McDonald, considered one of the nation’s top experts in marketing, customer service and consumer trends


Kelly McDonald follows her morning keynote address with a marketing and sales workshop tailored to non-retailers. All X/SPECS sponsors who are not presenting in the Solution Theatre series from 9:15-10:15 on Wednesday may attend this one-hour hands-on session led by Kelly, which will focus on forming connections with customers and prospects who are completely different from you.

 You’ll learn:
•  Five low-cost/no-cost things you can do right now to grow your business with new customers and
    increase customer satisfaction and retention;
•  The do’s and don’ts of marketing to different customer segments and their values;
•  The major macro trends that affect your business – and all of us – and how to leverage them for
    growth and customer satisfaction; and
•  How to communicate in a relevant manner to stand out from your competition.
Presenter: Kelly McDonald, immediately following her morning keynote address