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IRX 2013 THE HIGHLIGHTS: The conferences

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In the run-up to this year’s Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2013), we’ll be taking a regular look at some of the highlights of the two-day event, to be held on March 20 and 21 at Birmingham’s NEC.

Today our focus is on the highlights of the conferences.

So far, 2013 has proved difficult for some well-known and well-loved retailers. HMV, Jessops, and Blockbuster have all gone into administration – and it’s still only January. But it’s also proving to be a year in which many retailers are doing very well indeed. John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser all unveiled a lift in their total sales over Christmas, boosted by a roaring online trade. What these retailers all have in common is a multichannel approach to retail, in which seamless links between store and online enable shoppers to buy where, when and how best suits them. They also have in common the fact that all are regulars at the Internet Retailing Expo, having featured in the line-up of speakers in our conference stream in past years, drawing packed houses of retailers keen to find out how it’s done from the best.

This year’s conference stream is also shaping up well. There will be six conferences in three theatres over the course of the two days of the event. Each will focus on a key theme in the current development of multichannel retailing.

Day one will see the Internet Retailing In-store (IRIS) Conference take place in the Enterprise Theatre, the SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) Conference in the Customer Theatre, and the Online Merchandising and Selling Conference in the eSeller Theatre. Speakers already confirmed for day one include Guy Chiswick of WebLoyalty, Neale Graham of 2ergo, in the IRIS Conference, Robert Moss of Secret Sales, Glen Richardson of and Steve Ash of Pizza Hut in the SoLoMo conference, and James Hardy of, Chris Poad of Amazon and Darren Cresswell of WAE+ in the Online Merchandising and Selling Conference.

On day two, there’ll be the International and Cross-border Conference in the Enterprise Theatre, the Customer Journey Conference in the Customer Theatre, and the Operations and Logistics Theatre in the eSeller Theatre. Confirmed speakers for day two include Jan Mehmet of Fitflop and Aurora Fashions in the International and Cross-border Conference, Sarah McVittie, chief executive of, Sarah Baillie of Debenhams, Julia Monro of Marks & Spencer, Joanna Robb of B&Q and Ali Holmes of Vodafone in The Customer Journey Conference, as well as Matthew Curry of Lovehoney, Tom Allason of Shutl and Stuart Miller of ByBox in the Operations and Logistics Conference.

The line-up of speakers runs alongside the central exhibition, with more than 150 suppliers, and 12 hands-on workshops that aim to help retailers to a practical understanding of the subject.

IRX 2013 is held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 20 and 21.

We’ll be returning to our conference streams in the weeks to come with an indepth look at each. Follow our series for regular updates on what’s to come at IRX 2013. Our next piece will focus on the series of workshops, which is running in parallel.

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