Highlighting innovation, best practice and excellence in customer service through all areas of ecommerce and cross-channel retailing are the key themes for successful retailing in 2009 — and are the subject of the three streams at this year's Internet Retailing conference. Delegates will hear from retailers who have spent the past year integrating systems, processes and people and those for whom the customer is truly at the heart of their business.
We are honoured that two of the world's most admired retailers are joining Google as keynote presenters at this year's Internet Retailing conference.
Famous for its customer service, John Lewis is a leading light in cross-channel operations and customer delight. Robin Terrell, managing director at John Lewis Direct, will share some of his wealth of insights and lessons learned in changing an already exemplary high street business into a leader in the cross-channel world.
Joining Robin will be Jane Judd, senior manager of the customer loyalty team at Zappos.com. Going the 'extra mile' seems like a starting point for this US shoe retailer with a service culture that is genuinely distinctive and engrained. Both Jane and the company are applauded as the best in the US (Jane was awarded as International Customer Service Manager of year in 2008 and Zappos.com picked up the Etailer of the Year award at the recent World Retail Congress).
With customer service and delight the distinguishing factors in the new era of ecommerce, Peter Fitzgerald, head of retail at Google UK, is in the enviable position of having an umbrella view of the customer. With eyes firmly fixed on the web upstream of retailers, Google is an enabler in the journey from research to purchase and the ability to help shoppers connect with retailers.
The conference will then split into three streams, all timed to allow you to move easily between them and join any session of most interest to you.
Stream 1 — The Customer as King
Converse, engage and delight. The customer has always been king but now they want 'power' on their own terms — especially as we need to tempt them to spend. Transparency and trust are the new order as customers look to each other for answers and recommendations. Retailers have to work harder to not only deliver the promise but also to go the extra mile and exceed expectations: Expectations of service, of value and of experience.
Stream 2 — Full Steam Ahead
Now that we've 'done' ecommerce, we need only sit back and watch the sales come in. Hardly! Second movers have implemented our best practices, innovations and technologies and hired the top people in a bid to catch up. What's next for etail leadership? How does one build from a mature position, in a saturated market with an unforgiving customer base? What achievements will the second movers be copying from you next year? This stream concentrates on major challenges, opportunities and advances in the commercial practice of ecommerce.
Stream 3 — Cross Channel
We all see the benefits of cross-channel retailing; indeed, our customers tell us with their wallets! However the challenges of planning, refining and operating complex cross-channel activities mean that we lag behind demand: From click-to-collect and in-store returns to contact centre order lines via pan-channel stock visibility... This stream will consider the opportunities, issues and challenges for retailers in exploiting cross channel: Stores, catalogues, phone sales, web and everything in between. • Registration for IR09 is now open. You can find out more and book your place at the Internet Retailing 09 website.