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Thousands expected to Internet Retailing Expo

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Thousands of visitors from across the UK’s ecommerce industry are set to flock to the first Internet Retailing Expo this week.

More than 3,000 are expected at the event, being held at Birmingham’s NEC on March 23 and 24, and at which more than 100 exhibitors will be showcasing their services to an audience of retailers and ecommerce industry professionals.

Ian Jindal, editor-in-chief of Internet Retailing, said the event came in response to demand from visitors to Internet Retailing’s annual October conference, from its readers and from suppliers. “We’re very excited to play our part in that,” he said.

He said the event would bring together industry professionals, leaders, practitioners, and expert suppliers in one space, with a real focus on multichannel retail.

“We’re blending lessons and insights from the UK’s leading retailers with an enterprise and growth agenda,” he said.

Highlights of the two-day Expo include two free-to-attend conferences, an M-Retailing zone where the focus is on selling both over mobile phones and through social media and a series of JumpStart presentations as well as more in-depth workshops, designed to bring retailers up to speed quickly with the latest developments in the industry.

The first of those conferences, the Evolution Conference, is aimed at larger companies looking at taking their next steps in ecommerce or starting online operations for the first time, while the Insights Conference is for small and medium-sized businesses, from those just starting out to entrepreneurs and eBay Power Sellers.

Speakers at the Evolution Conference include an opening keynote from Harriet Williams, strategy and online marketing controller at Debenhams, and John Butler, former head of marketing and communications at Dunnhumby, the company responsible for customer loyalty schemes at companies including Tesco. Speakers also hail from PayPal UK, BrandAlley, and Kiddicare.com, recently bought by supermarket Morrisons. The conference also features a panel discussion on mobile commerce, led by m-retailing editor Paul Skeldon and featuring contributors from companies including Marks & Spencer, eBay, Debenhams, Usablenet and Eagle Eye Solutions.

The Insights Conference will open on March 23 with a briefing by Julie Meyer, a member of the BBC’s online dragons team and chief executive of Ariadne Capital, and closes on March 24 with a presentation from Rowan Gormley, founder of Naked Wines, who will share some of the ups and downs of launching an online wine business – including those all-important things he wishes he’d known before he started. Speakers over the course of the two-day event include Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, who will be sharing his many years of retail experience, while Geoff van Sonsbeeck of Isabella Oliver and Mohammed Hussain of Mobile Fun will be concentrating on international trade, proving it’s not just the biggest retailers who are looking beyond the UK for opportunities.

On the supplier side, a series of interactive briefings will take the exhibition beyond the traditional stand. JumpStart 20-minute briefings from suppliers will focus on three key areas of ecommerce: international and cross-border sales, the need for speed, and multichannel, while a more in-depth approach will be taken in six workshops given by Hybris, Who’s On, Brightcove, 10CMS, Webtrends and Portaltech.

Highlights from the event, from keynote presentations to panel discussions and behind-the-scenes activity, will be broadcast through the Internet Retailing website, internetretailing.net.

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