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IRC 2013 PREVIEW Why the online winners will be the businesses that connect channels: Google UK

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Ahead of the eighth annual Internet Retailing Conference 2013 (IRC 2013) we’re running a series of previews of the event, focusing on the highlights of the one-day conference. Today we hear from Peter Fitzgerald, country director at Google.

Retailers must be prepared to make the most of the customer experience at all possible touchpoints in order to succeed in a multichannel era where 72% of the UK population now owns a smartphone and 50% use it to buy, a keynote speaker at next week’s Internet Retailing Conference (IRC 2013) has warned.

Peter Fitzgerald, country retail director at Google UK, who is to give a closing keynote presentation at IRC 2013, believes that whilst mobile should be a key focus in retailers’ five-year plan, they must also ensure they are putting their customer first and working hard to get them the products and services they want at the right time, regardless of touchpoint.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Fitzgerald said: “We, as consumers, always have the internet at our fingertips for price checks, product reviews and additional product range choice, therefore businesses that have seamless touch points across channels and devices will win and win big.

“Companies that use data to customise to the needs of individuals make shopping more fun and relevant for them will lead the pack.”

With relevance and personalisation highlighted as a key factor in ecommerce success, Andrew Fowler of ApptusTechnologies, said: “To ensure online success, retailers need to make sure they are fully optimising their online opportunities and using the mass amount of data available to them to provide customers with a personal and relevant experience that not only gives them what they want and enhances their shopping experience, but converts sales.”

IRC 2013 will also feature an expert panel discussion exploring the reality of businesses going mobile and its role in the industry, with Shop Direct, Argos, Harry and David and LivingSocial represented in the debate.

The conference will be held on October 16 at the Novotel in Hammersmith, London. More than 500 delegates are set to attend the event, where some 45 exhibitors will show off the cutting edge of retail technology.

A host of expert retailers who are speaking at the event include Laura Wade-Gery of Marks & Spencer, and Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Ocado and Dressipi.

The conference takes as its overarching theme, The New Basics of Retail, a theme which will be explored through three conference streams: The Customer, The Business and The Industry and a further eight free workshops.

Peter Fitzgerald, country retail director at Google UK, will give the closing keynote in The Industry stream at Internet Retailing Conference 2013. His presentation will take place at 4.30pm.

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