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IRC 2014 Conference, which this year focuses on refoundationing, expected to attract hundreds

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Industry leaders from retailers including John Lewis, House of Fraser and Zalando will come together at this year’s Internet Retailing Conference (IRC) to debate the way ecommerce and multichannel retailers are now acting to ‘refoundation’ their businesses.

Hundreds of retailers, suppliers and industry experts are expected to take part in IRC 2014, to be held on October 14 at the Novotel, Hammersmith.

This year’s keynote speakers are Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis, Andy Harding, executive director, multichannel at House of Fraser, and Jérôme Cochet, senior vice president, sales at Zalando.

All are retailers who have led transformation within their business, against the background of an evolving retail landscape, chiming with the refoundationing theme of this year’s conference. Refoundationing is about how retailers are moving to level the ground and start over in building systems that will meet shoppers’ future needs, using the flexibility of 21st century systems.

It’s a concept perhaps best summed up in the words of Austrian philosopher Otto Neurath: “We are like sailors who on the open seas must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom.”

Ian Jindal, InternetRetailing editor-in-chief, said: “Commerce has gone from advantageous to necessary and now it’s painful. The level of radical, restructured integration, as shown by leading multichannel retailers, is not for the faint-hearted. If you are not fortunate enough to have a perfect operating model and platform from the beginning, then recreating and refoundationing is a daunting task. That’s why brave courageous commercial leaders will take their places at the Internet Retailing Conference, refoundationing for the multichallenger.”

Dozens of speakers, from retailers and service providers as varied as Thomas Cook, Game, Waitrose, and B&Q, will take part in the one-day event, which breaks the theme of refoundationing into three key themes: Tide, Time and Place.

As well as a packed conference schedule, there’s also a free-to-attend exhibition featuring the latest cutting-edge technology and nine hands-on workshops run by suppliers from Virtualstock and Sustainly to BT and Monetate with the aim of helping retailers get the most from their technology. Admission to workshops is free but places are limited. Find out more here.

Over coming newsletters we’ll be running a series of interviews with speakers and delving more deeply into the event.

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