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IRC 2017 Looking ahead to this year’s InternetRetailing Conference

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The InternetRetailing Conference is taking place in London on October 5. Emma Herrod shares a preview of the event.

The twelfth InternetRetailing Conference (IRC) is focusing on Energising Retail as it gives a platform providing inspiration for creative retailers to discuss how the industry can meet the needs of the modern consumer.

This year, IRC will shake the industry and question well established retail concepts; equipping digital leaders with a platform to learn, network and continue developing their digital retail and multichannel strategies. A steady stream of technological possibilities and strategic options present opportunities to fulfil customer expectations and requirements. The question is, who will meet modern consumer demand, and how?

In order to create a fully functional and successful retail machine there is no doubt that strategy between retail marketing professionals and fulfilment must be aligned. Both arms need to work in harmony and overcome their challenges together.

The industry is still hungry to improve and provide fulfilment strategies that satisfy the modern consumer. Performance is transparent, and competition is fierce, so what adjustments are retailers implementing in their strategies in order to keep pace? eDelivery aims to uncover the practical and operational steps in realising these ambitions and for this reason the eDelivery Conference is being brought together with IRC to allow both sectors to interact, debate and discuss the most pertinent issues their job roles demand. The formula is to reflect the board-level conversation in progressive multichannel retailers, and work across silos and role types to understand how to engage commercially with the connected customer.

The IRC and EDC conferences will bring together UK and European Top 500 multichannel retailers to share insight into how they are running their businesses to meet the needs of today’s consumers online, on mobile, in store and across all touchpoints. The interactive and networking-rich formats offer excellent opportunities to mix with and learn from peers. Presentations will be given by professionals who have led and delivered significant projects for globally-renowned retailers, brands and services with speakers focusing on what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and how they assess the results.

Opening plenaries

Reflecting the state of the industry, the opening debates aim to clarify exactly what the modern landscape is. How have consumers evolved in terms of their expectations and demands and how can retailers respond profitably? The plenary session also explores the possibilities in new talent and working methodology. What is the perfect blend of age and experience, and how can traditional labour be reconciled with new opportunities in technology?

Plenaries to look out for include:

• The modern consumer demands a modern approach to ecommerce. What defines the new modern? How are innovative retailers keeping pace?

• New talent brings new opportunities. How are the leading retailers attracting and retaining the next generation of thought leaders?

Four streams

The InternetRetailing Conference then focuses on four streams of activity. The consumer’s profile has never been more complex (partially due to the industry’s strengthened ability to analyse the modern consumer). Retailers are also aware that the consumer has more and more possibilities at their fingertips. They can behave instinctually; they may be impulsive, or react predictably to well placed online presentations. But always, the reaction is a direct consequence to the consumer’s personality profile and cultural exposure. To address this challenge, IRC is effectively looking at consumer analysis and profiling, internationalisation and the successful management and integration of new technologies and working methodologies.

The ‘Analyse and Conquer’ conference stream will focus on customer understanding and satisfaction. In this stream, speakers – including Giles Delafeld, Global CIO at Clarks who will speak on ‘Winning the next generation of buyers & understanding millennial trends’ – will not only explore current analytical processes but also expand on traditional customer analysis by discussing holistic approaches to consumer understanding.

Relevant advances in technology including AI, big data, and machine learning will be incorporated into discussions. How is big data being managed and converted into new marketing strategies? How can new technologies better serve both the retailer’s understanding of their market as well as the delivery of customers’ expectations?

Smart growth into international markets is the focus for the ‘Adapt and Expand’ conference stream. Internationalisation (and the coping mechanisms in order to deal with this challenge effectively) is a major concern for many retailers. To succeed over multiple markets, companies must prove themselves to be adaptive in the process; adaptive in terms of their resources, staffing strategy, contingency and preparedness for unexpected challenges.

The ‘Create and Innovate’ stream focuses on managing competition and new trends. Competition is vicious and the volume of opportunities for the consumer is huge, so how does a company cut through this and win the modern consumer over? This stream will explore some of the most exciting and innovative case studies of how the leading internet retailers are able to stand out from the crowd; proving themselves adaptive, and forward thinking.

Additionally, which retailers are leading, responding or following the technology opportunities? Most importantly how are these ‘pioneers’ incorporating technological advancements and with what results? What are the processes of decision-making leading up to such changes?

The fourth stream looks at defining operational efficiencies that match modern consumer demands. Never has operational performance been more scrutinised. Consumers expect seamless delivery on their terms. How can this be enacted in a profitable and efficient fashion? How are working techniques and strategies amended across international borders? Ultimately how is an adaptive and coherent model of operating developed that suits specifically your company profile?

Speakers in this ‘Stand Up & Deliver’ stream include Philip Green, chief financial officer at Deliveroo.

The InternetRetailing Conference and eDelivery Conference are running simultaneously on 5 October at the Novotel, Hammersmith, London. One pass gives entry to both events with speakers including Giles Delafeld, global CIO, Clarks; Bill Hopkins, executive director of operations and logistics, Trainline; Philip Driver, head of ecommerce EMEA, Canon Europe; and Regis Koenig, director of customer services, Darty.

For further information on the conferences, and to register for your delegate pass, visit

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