2021 CMA|SIMA Conference: Week 1 In Review

Coming Together

Week 1 of the CMA|SIMA Conference introduced us to the future of conferencing, in the form of the brand-new ARC Virtual Campus. Although we could only meet virtually this year, our new digital platform provided a shared space for over 1,200 attendees to connect and explore in a week filled with with thought leadership, live Q&A sessions, networking, and digital booths in our Technology Expo Hall.

The Conference also marks the official launch of ‘ARC’ – The Association for Retail and Consumer Professionals. In his ‘Assocation Update’, president Mike McMahon outlined the new direction for both CMA and SIMA going forward, now joined under the parent association ARC.

This direction includes forming boards for each association that set the content agenda and corresponding workgroups of members to help execute the agenda. ARC has also hired a new content team focused on relevant and useful content and a member services team to ensure members get the most value out of their investment. We look forward to serving our current CMA and SIMA members under this new direction, and the opportunities ARC affords in future retail associations.

Did you miss Mike’s opening day keynote? Check it out right here:

Week 1 Content Recap

The theme of our Conference this year is “Rising to the New Retail Reality.” With retail upended by the pandemic, Week 1’s content focused on what’s changed in retail and how we can capitalize on it.  Here are some of the presentations featured in Week 1:

  • On Day 1, our kick-off Keynote presenter, leading economist ANDREW BUSCH, provided a macroeconomic overview in “The Future Economy – Opportunities for Growth” exploring the US stimulus, Biden’s policies, and supercharged retail trends.

  • “The Lasting Impacts of COVID” track included breakouts like the “Key Findings Across Categories During COVID: A Group Discussion” with ANDREW KOLESNIKOV, SUE TOY, and TIM WILSON and “The Evolution of Eating Habits” with SHELLEY BALANKO, Ph. D. As the Category Management Association, we feel it is important to highlight varying trends across categories.

  • “Teams of Tomorrow” featured speakers including KIM JAMES, MICHELLE COLLETT and DANIEL DUTY exploring how retailer/brand relationships have changed, the new skills needed in our industry as a result of these changes, and tips for negotiating in a virtual world.

  • On Day 2, PHIL LEMPERT, NBC’s “Supermarket Guru” himself, walked us through “The Future of Food Retail,” which likely incorporates elements of GPS to locate items, personalized food and recipe recommendations, and augmented reality displays.

    Did you miss it? Check out a preview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhXuteNeJ7k
  • The “Technology Disruption” track included specific case studies of AI and automation in routine category management and shopper insights’s tasks from CMA|SIMA members Conagra and Mondelēz.

  • And finally, Day 3 of Week 1 focused on YOU with Keynotes by DR. NATALIA WIECHOWSKI on how to create a personal brand and why it matters, and strengthening connections in the category management industry by FLORA DELANEY.

Sponsors NielsenIQ, Atlas, Blue Yonder, and InContext also presented findings in pricing/promotions and private label during COVID, and new cutting edge technology available in the category management and shopper insights space.

We featured 5 Keynotes and 17 Breakout presentations in Week 1, all pre-recorded and produced by professional editing teams, with live Q&A with the presenters afterward. All presentations, complete with Q&A, will be available on demand after the Conference concludes this Thursday.

What’s Next

Thanks to the combined efforts of ARC and all of our fantastic speakers and sponsors, we came together to make week 1 of the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference the can’t-miss industry event of the year. But we’re not done yet!

We’re deep in the middle of Week 2 right now, and the content has been just as incredible. Attend exciting new Keynotes and Breakouts, get more exclusive sneak peeks into Emerging Technologies, more experience more chances to connect, network, and learn… and even our Cocktail Social Hour!

If you’re attending, don’t forget to check out the Technology Expo to chat with our sponsors, watch their Tech Talk presentations and enter into the giveaways this week!

Make sure to check back with us next week for our week 2 recap and closing thoughts from the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference.