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IR 2012 PREVIEW Stream one: The Customer

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In our latest preview of one of our major events of the year, Internet Retailing 2012 (IR 2012), to be held in London on October 9, we take a look at our conference agenda. Stream one focuses on The Customer, and how retailers can most effectively put the individual at the centre of their operations.

Over the last decade and a half technology has changed shopping for good. Today consumers expect to shop through a variety of different channels, with devices that did not exist just a few years ago. It’s no longer the domain of science fiction to imagine shopping through a mobile phone, while making decisions based on what other shoppers think of the products under consideration.

But while the way people shop may have altered, the customer themselves remains an individual with their own wants, needs and preferences. Meeting those is essential to doing business in this fast-moving world. Internet Retailing Conference 2012 (IR 2012) recognises that fact with a conference stream devoted to the customer, and how retailers can best serve them.

The stream features retailers, suppliers and industry experts with a range of insights on how to improve the overall customer experience, and the audience has regular opportunities to ask their own questions.

Stream one opens at 11.20am with an introduction from the stream’s chairman, Mike Baxter of Saleslogiq. First to speak is Martin Gill, principal analyst, ebusiness and channel strategy, at Forrester Research. He’ll be sharing research to draw a picture of the digital consumer, from what devices they’re using to the kind of power such shoppers now have. His picture comes equipped with examples of how organisations are rebuilding their strategies around their customers and the experience that they offer them in his presentation, The Four Pillars of Agile Commerce: transforming your business to serve the digital consumer.

O2 UK’s head of multichannel experience Simon Smith follows at 11.50am, with a presentation, Designing satisfaction from brand value, that offers insights into how the mobile phone company uses customer design to build services around both customers and employees – and what happens to customer satisfaction as a result.

Then Simon Joseph, associate director, ecommerce at Jessops, takes to the floor at 12.20pm to present The evolution of a cross-touchpoint customer experience. He’ll be describing how the photographic specialist has joined up the customer experience across the web, call centre and stores through the process of cross-mapping the customer journey. He’ll also take a look at how changing consumer behaviour is likely to influence Jessop’s business in the coming year.

After lunch, at 2pm, our next speaker is Priya Prakash, head of mobile phone user experience at Nokia. Her focus in, Why a good interface can mean more than brand loyalty, will be on design and how it can improve the user experience. Taking a step further, Prakash considers why and how developing new interfaces can have effects that go far beyond brand loyalty.

Then, at 2.30pm the message from Sean Duffy, principal email marketing consultant at Emailcenter UK, is that The customer is always relevant. In his presentation, which considers Opportunities for eCRM in internet retail, Duffy aims to bring his audience up to date with the latest thinking in customer relationship management. He’ll bring examples of how retailers get it right while also suggesting some new approaches to customer email communications.

Will Cook, VP, multichannel marketing for EMEA at Autonomy, is the next speaker at 3.45pm, following a break. He’ll be taking customer data for his subject, in Data-driven customer experience optimisation. He argues that while raw customer data has never before been so easily available, the next challenge is how to deal with it. It’s a challenge worth tackling, he argues, since understanding the data can deliver real insights into a retailer’s customer base, that can help them both to sell more effectively while at the same time cutting costs.

Our final speaker in this channel is Andy Harding, director of ecommerce at House of Fraser. In Leading towards a cross-channel future, he’ll explain how his business has put the customer at the centre of the business. It uses analytics and metrics to measure results through its different touchpoints and to understand how best to meet the needs of its customers.

Alongside the conference stream, there are also eight free-to-enter workshops, featuring leading suppliers to the industry who take an in-depth look at subjects from mobile payments to personalised merchandising and the story of’s fast growth. A packed exhibition hall will feature the latest technology and ecommerce developments from some 45 leading suppliers in the field.

Internet Retailing 2012 will be held at the Novotel in Hammersmith on October 9. Registrations for the event open at 8am, and the day’s programme starts at 9am with the keynote speakers. Click here for more information and to register.

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