STORE SPACES

LinkedIn expert to lead workshop at SPECS/2017

BY Katherine Boccaccio

For more than half a century, Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS conference has delivered one of the retail industry’s most important and impactful events.

Over the years, SPECS has become known for its professional educational opportunities, including workshops, roundtables and panel presentations designed to give industry professionals new tools and perspectives they can apply to their own work. The 2017 event, to be held March 12-14 at the Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee, FL, will cover a wide range of emerging and evolving issues, focusing on must-see innovations and essential information about trends, topics and technologies that will be impacting the industry for many years to come.

The power of social media is one of those topics, and LinkedIn is perhaps the most important and influential social media platform.

One of the 2017 conference highlights will be a session on how to leverage LinkedIn, led by Brandon Chesnutt, director, digital and development at Identity, a Bingham Farms, Michigan-based integrated public relations firm. Chesnutt has served as social media counsel and delivered award-winning work on behalf of leading consumer brands and large corporations such as Verizon Wireless, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, ADESA, Kelly Services, Absopure Water Company and Olga's Kitchen.

Brandon’s session, which will be held twice for maximum attendance, will discuss how to maximize the power and utility and connectivity of LinkedIn: how to effectively utilize it as a platform for company connections and recruitment, and how to use it to properly market yourself. From executives looking to build their brand and increase visibility, to marketing managers and sales professionals aiming toward enhanced networking potential and an improved ability to generate leads, LinkedIn is the most important tool in the social media toolbox.

As attendees will learn, however, the real value of LinkedIn isn’t as a kind of digital warehouse of resumes, but as a tool to help brands and businesses identify connections, share previously inaccessible information and add meaningful value. LinkedIn unlocks a level of connectivity and interactivity that Gary Esposito, SPECS chairman and group publisher of Chain Store Age, calls “absolutely essential.”

Esposito says that “creating and capitalizing on networks, liaisons and business connections is critical to moving any business or brand forward. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, a tool like LinkedIn gives brands and businesses a way to not just stand out from the crowd–but to engage with that crowd in a way that adds lasting value.”

Successful social media platforms are a powerful engine. But even the biggest and most efficient engines need fuel to run. They need two things in particular: participation and content. In the case of LinkedIn, that participation means measurably growing company followers and individual connections in order to deliver more relevant and valuable content to customers, prospects, peers and potential hires.

Brandon’s session will cover how to do just that, and how to stay in front of your audience – utilizing a myriad of tactics — once you have built up a network.

Ultimately, attendees will come away from the session with an understanding of how to cultivate an effective LinkedIn presence that leverages several different types of content–and an appreciation for the importance of evolving and refining that content over time.

To register for SPECS, click here.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

RILA Supply Chain Conference coming in February

BY By Marianne Wilson

Logistics and supply chain executives from such retail powerhouses as Walmart, Target, Hudson’s Bay Company, 7-Eleven, Neiman Marcus, and The Home Depot will be among the speakers at the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s annual Retail Supply Chain Conference.

The event, scheduled for Feb. 12 -15, 2017, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fl., is designed for supply-chain executives from across the retail industry.

Greg Sandfort, CEO of Tractor Supply Company, which operates 1,575 stores in 49 states,will kick off the conference with a keynote address focused on the changing nature of retail, and the critical role the supply chain plays in serving the customer and exceeding expectations.

Attendees will learn the latest industry trends and technologies in transportation, distribution, international logistics & sourcing, supply chain planning, omnichannel, and more.

In addition to general sessions and networking events, the conference will feature five breakout tracks:

*Creating the Organization;

*Managing Through Adversity;

*Understanding the Customer;

*Building Game Changing Capabilities;

*Coexisting Retail Networks.

For more information and to register, click here.

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WORKFORCE

New cost cutting move: Kroger offering early retirement

BY By Marianne Wilson

The Kroger Co. is offering early retirement to approximately 2,000 corporate employees.

The offer does not include store and district associates, senior officers, and supermarket division presidents. It is part of the chain’s effort to lower expenses without directly impacting shoppers.

“We believe a generous Voluntary Retirement Offering is in line with our company values and recognizes the long careers many of our associates have had with Kroger," stated Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Kroger is committed to our operating model of lowering costs to invest in the areas that matter most to our customers."

Kroger does not plan to fill the vacant spots of employees who accept the offer the offer, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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