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InternetRetailing Summit opens in Berlin

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The second annual InternetRetailing Summit opened in Berlin this morning.

Senior retailers from across Europe have travelled to be at the event, where delegates this morning were the first to see the new IREU Top 500 2017. The publication will be published more widely later in the summer.

The event, held under the Chatham House Rule, brings together leaders from across the Top500 retailers to discuss and share their experiences, challenges and solutions with others from across the continent.

The event opened with a leadership debate on the seamless customer experience. One speaker, from the French retail industry, said: “Seamlessness is hard to define – but we should be aiming to improve every day.” He defined seamlessness as being “very easy to use, predictable and delivering on expectations, with real time updates,” and said that in a retail environment dominated by Amazon it was important to be able to compete by offering better value through the customer experience.

A UK speaker said that checking stock via mobile before collecting almost instantly was important for his business’ customers. “If we’re convenient they’ll come back to us, but we always have to look at what is changing and what our customers are demanding,” he said.

Another speaker, from the gaming industry, said that presenting a consistent service to customers across devices was vital. “If we’re not professional enough they won’t even register with us,” he said.

A discussion on innovation considered the key game changers to have emerged from the industry in recent years: from the rise of the internet and e-commerce through to the growing importance of reviews and promotions as a factor in persuading shoppers to buy. Asked what innovations they’d like to see in coming years, delegates variously suggested improvements to make delivery even quicker and faster, personalised product discovery, made possible through machine learning, as well as making it simpler to pay.

Ian Jindal, editor-in-chief at InternetRetailing, said it was interesting to hear retailers using the freedom offered by the forum to discuss the issues that affected them the most, and benefiting from the experience of others at the event, both in the organised forums and through networking at the event.

The InternetRetailing Summit continues until tomorrow.

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