The marketing agency Jack Morton Worldwide rather hysterically defines the ideal shopping transaction as a heart-thudding emotional experience for the customer (see p. 48 for our take on this). That description may be over the top, but Jack Morton has made one useful discovery: For most shoppers, the leading factor influencing a purchase is the presence of a live rep on the scene. Personal contact clinches the sale, so to speak. And personal contact — whether in the form of networking with your peers, meeting with industry experts, or discussing new products with vendors — is the big draw at O+F’s unique industry event, the National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment (www.ncof.com), coming up in April. The conference is a one-of-a-kind showcase of knowledge and instruction about the most innovative techniques in warehousing, shipping, customer service, packaging, benchmarking, and outsourcing. You’ll benefit from original case studies, results of exclusive research, and tales of pitfalls to avoid. Take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity to interact with the best in the business! We hope to see you there.