It’s not so long since accepted wisdom took it for granted that the internet would eventually kill the high street. The only question was ‘how long’. But things have turned out differently. The invention of click and collect, and the growing use of mobile to bridge the gap between physical locations and online have given stores a new reason to carry on. For me, chronicling this development on InternetRetailing.net, some of the most fascinating stories of late have been around the way that retailers are now bringing the range and the wealth of information that ecommerce offers into the store. Some retailers are shrinking their stores, and cutting the number of locations in order to make this equation work for them. Others are moving from the internet into the high street as a new generation of traders sees the advantages of taking a virtual presence to the bricks and mortar world.
At IRX 2015, I’ll be searching out the latest developments in this area. Below are three of the places I’ll be looking. Tweet me at @Chloe_Rigby with your suggestions for more.
The Digital High Street
I’ll be heading down the digital high street shortly before lunch on March 25, and I’ll be tweeting as I go. I’ve been planning this trip since I first found out this new section would be at IRX 2015, and I’m keen to find out all about what the next big technologies are going to be, from ways of displaying products and information in-store – mobile, tablet, screens, or something else altogether – to ways that sales staff will be able to use digital to add to the customer experience. If you’re exhibiting in this area, tweet me @Chloe_Rigby to let me know what to expect.
The Omnichannel Store of the Future Conference
There’s a whole conference dedicated to internet retailing in-store at IRX 2015, featuring speakers including Jon Rudoe of Sainsbury’s, Gail Lyon of The Cooperative Group, Ken Ardali of Alibaba Group, Michel Koch of Maplin Electronics, Will Lockie of Evans Cycles and Alison Lancaster of McArthur Glen. I’m particularly keen to hear from Claire Zuurbier, head of development, digital stores at IRUK 500 Elite retailer Marks & Spencer all about the future of the store. Her presentation is at 11.45am on March 26 in the Omnichannel Store of the Future Conference (Theatre 1).
Insight and Experience Conference
What I’m looking for isn’t only to be found in the omnichannel conference. I’ll also be dipping into the Insight and Experience Conference (March 25, Theatre 2), where speakers from Dan Rubel of Shop Direct and Ali Holmes of Vodafone to Neil Martin of comparethemarket.com, Michael Durbridge of B&Q, Tony Rivenell of Waitrose and Karin Berg of Lidl Sweden will be presenting. Here I’m hoping to catch Neil Sansom, ecommerce director of Moss Bros Group, a Leading retailer in the Customer dimension of the IRUK 500, on how the business uses data and insight to build the customer experience (11.10am), and Cristian van Tienhoven of Amazon Payments (1.45pm) on what seems likely to be the fascinating proposition that ‘time is the real digital currency’.
Find out more about the free to attend Internet Retailing Expo at www.internetretailingexpo.com. Follow us on Twitter @etailexpo.