Nearly 400 independent food and beverage retailers from all over the United States and Canada tuned in to learn about the latest CATAPULT® features, hear from product experts and industry leaders, and support fellow retailers. If you couldn’t tune in to the conference, check out a few highlights below from Virtual Ignite 2021.
A Focus on Community
This year’s conference theme was centered around community: Fostering a positive and desirable place to work in our company, supporting our local community as our businesses thrive, and building relationships within our CATAPULT Community to drive our collective success. The truth is, we’re better together. The more we invest in each other, the more positive change will happen as a result. In our opening video, we take a quick walk around ECRS headquarters and straight into the keynote venue for Ignite 2021.
Opening Keynote: Investing in Our Community with a Unified Solution & Best Practices
In his executive address, Pete Catoe, ECRS Founder & CEO, emphasized some of our major accomplishments over the past year. He also pulled back the curtain to preview the future of CATAPULT and how ECRS plans to expedite product development decision-making. He expounded on our focus as a teaching organization to provide best practices for the CATAPULT system through our ever-expanding library of online resources.
Keynote: You Can Compete
In our featured keynote, Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc, outlined simple insights to help retailers grow profitability and reinvent their business in today’s digital age. He discussed the issue of sustainability in rising costs of both leases and labor, and how brick-and-mortar locations can capitalize on the customer (and employee) experience.
Educational Sessions & Discussions
Ignite 2021 offered educational opportunities in a variety of formats, including workshops, keynotes, Q&As, breakout sessions, and private meetings.
Monday’s annual Success Workshop Day was SOLD OUT. This year’s sessions provided a collaborative environment where retailers learned how to jumpstart their eCommerce marketing plans, amplify customer loyalty with LoyaltyBot®, and conduct accurate physical inventory counts with CATAPULT’s reporting functionality.
This year’s most attended breakout sessions focused on Loyalty and eCommerce. With the on-demand launch of CATAPULT WebCart™ 2.0, two of our exploratory WebCart product sessions were a hit. The next most attended session was “Understanding CATAPULT’s Dynamic Promotions,” which drew in almost half of all retailer attendees.
The Live CATAPULT Open Forum session gave retailers and ECRS product experts a platform on which to discuss anything and everything CATAPULT, from new features to burning questions about the system.
Sessions on reporting were next on the list with many attendees seeking information on the new Jaspersoft reporting functionality, as well as other tips and tricks with reporting in CATAPULT.
Live Q&A Sessions
About every two hours, attendees were encouraged to join live, product-focused Q&As to discuss content from breakout sessions. Q&A topics included eCommerce and online payments, ECRS Gateway™ and databases, loyalty, self-service, CATAPULT WebOffice™, reporting, and more. Led by some of the brightest and best at ECRS, these sessions were popping with questions from retailers looking to better their business and expand their CATAPULT knowledge.
Virtual Events to Remember
Ignite 2021 Conference Party Benefit Concert
At this year’s conference party, we took a different approach. ECRS crossed the street to the Appalachian Theatre to broadcast a live benefit concert in honor of Dorchester Food Co-op. With a conference theme of “community”, we charged retailers to dig deep and donate for the sake of a fellow CATAPULT Community member trying to get their doors open. The Dorchester Food Co-op has been working toward its grand opening for ten years, which will culminate in 2022.
Trivia at Ignite
Back by popular demand, Ignite attendees put their trivia knowledge to the test to win CATAPULT CASH on Wednesday afternoon. Allen Huffman, ECRS Director of Training and host of Ignite Trivia, put on an incredibly entertaining event for all. Winners hailed from all over the country and put their brains to the test, as answering the quickest earned more points.
Allen Huffman made another grand appearance to recognize retailers for their outstanding achievements. See the full award recipient list below:
- Ignite 2021 Award: Healthy Living Market & Cafe
- CATAPULT Community Champion: Bishop’s Orchard
- True North Leader: Detwiler’s Farm Market
- Golden Ambassador Award: B-Alive Nutrition Center
- Lighthouse Award: Redner’s Markets
- Congeniality Award: Kimble’s Food by Design
While the virtual format isn’t our preference, we were thrilled to see so much excitement and engagement from retailers, partners, and employees. Ignite is a testament to our retail community and all we have accomplished together. It’s about inspiration and improvement. It’s a chance to suit up for what lies ahead and build upon a strong foundation, so retailers are prepared to face the future and all it holds for retail.
Thank you for another successful event. We hope to see you in person in 2022.