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IRX 2014 PREVIEW: Customer Experience and Journey conference

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Over coming weeks we’ll be previewing the highlights of IRX 2014. Today we focus on the Customer Experience and Journey Conference.

Successful retailers of all sizes are investing in getting to know their customers, and understanding how they most like to shop as they work towards a new model of retailing that puts those with the spending power firmly in the driving seat.

The Customer Experience and Journey conference will hear from ecommerce and multichannel retailers from across the industry on how, and what, they have learned from their customers. A broad range of merchants and other industry professionals will take part in this conference. The conference runs from 10.30am to 4pm on Wednesday March 26, the first day of IRX 2014.

Paul Loft, managing director of Homebase , is the keynote speaker in this conference, which opens at 10.30am. Following the chair’s introduction he’ll be giving a 10.35am presentation, Increasing sales through engaging the customer at every touchpoint on the omnichannel journey, considering how traders can best work with their staff to make sure customers enjoy a consistent retail experience, no matter which channel they choose to shop in at any given moment.

The second presentation of the day is in interview format and will look at how retailers can best use social media to improve the shopping experience. How can they effectively monitor customers’ social media use while respecting their privacy, and what are the pitfalls they must avoid? Using social media to enhance the customer experience takes place at 11.10am.

Jonathan Haywood, senior customer insight manager at Holland & Barratt owner NBTY Europe, is the next speaker, with a case study presentation. Understanding the cross-channel customer journey and applying this insight throughout your business takes place at 11.35am, when Haywood will assess and suggest different ways to understand how customers behave when shopping online, the tools that retailers can use to track customer journeys across channels, and approaches to understanding the value of omnichannel customers. The emphasis will be on gaining insights into customers while at the same time ensuring return on investment. The conference takes its lunch break at 12.05pm.

QVC director of customer services James Keegan is the first speaker after lunch and he takes to the stage at 12.50pm with a discussion of What does excellent customer experience look like at a multichannel retailer? Keegan will look at ways of extending customer service across channels, from staff training to ensuring that shopper journeys are consistent no matter which touchpoint they use to approach the brand. He’ll also consider the effect such work has on customer loyalty, as well as other ways of building relationships.

Using the power of online reviews to improve the customer experience is the subject for Peter Mühlmann, chief executive of stream sponsor Trustpilot, at 1.25pm. He’ll focus on how traders can use online reviews to build their brand while boosting return on investment, and the part that reviews play both in social commerce and in marketing.

Then, at 2.25pm, Amy Richardson, digital and CRM director at Land Securities, will report on the evolution of shopping centres in an omnichannel world in her presentation, Designing an all-day shopping mall experience around today’s omnichannel shopper. She’ll consider how online can help retailers improve their offline experience and how shopping centres and landlords can help in improving both sales and customer experiences across all channels.

The final session of the day brings together Zia Zareem-Slade, customer experience director at Fortnum & Mason, Paul Wright, head of ecommerce at FatFace and a speaker from dotMailer, with ideas on the way forward for customer experience in a panel discussion, What new innovations should retailers focus on to drive customer experience in the omnichannel marketplace? Mobile, social, store and payments will all come under the spotlight in a session that runs until the conference chair’s closing comments at 3.45pm, before the conference closes at 4pm

The Customer Experience and Journey conference takes place on Wednesday March 26. It is one of six conferences that form part of IRX 2014, which runs at the NEC in Birmingham on March 26 and 27. Find out about the other conferences and other highlights of the event at

In coming weeks we’ll be focusing in more depth on different aspects of IRX 2014, and interviewing key speakers from the conference for a taste of what they will be sharing with our visitors.

In the meantime, find out more about the event and register for free at

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