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IRX 2015 PREVIEW What I’ll be looking for at IRX: Paul Skeldon gets overexcited about mobile

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What am I looking forward to most at Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2015) next week? Well, obviously the drone – which will deposit an Apple Smartwatch on one lucky delegate who has registered to attend Scurri’s workshop – is occupying way too much of my time (rumours that I have a t-shirt with a target on it, a giant net and a magnet are, as we go to press, unsubstantiated). My excitement isn’t, however, driven by my burning desire to own a drone, but more because I am intrigued by the wearable device in its payload.

Now, don’t go thinking that just because I am the mobile editor at Internet Retailing that I think wearables are cool. They are not. What intrigues me is whether consumers will buy into the idea and what exactly retailers are going to do if they do.

So, if I can drag my gaze from the air above IRX for a moment, one of the things I am particularly looking forward to is the case study by Mat Braddy, chief marketing officer at Just Eat, in the mobile theatre on day one. He’s speaking on Wearable tech, AR, and VR – what’s on the horizon for mobile retail?

The idea of wearables currently has been hijacked by watches – a distinct improvement on glasses (thank Odin that they have bitten the dust. For now) – largely because Apple said so. I personally wonder if it’s the ideal way to interact with your phone, but I can certainly see that a watch that can ‘talk’ to the retail environment or even pay for things could well be very cool indeed.

But this is driven more, I think, by the need to start to make the mobile retail experience in store much more background-y: the shop needs to recognise the user as they enter the store and engage with them through push messages. Mobile needs to start to be seamless. This would be the true way to cross channels, seamlessly linking the two experiences. I can see a watch working well for this.

I can also see a watch working well for payments: just waft it around the payment terminal to pay using Apple Pay could be good. But I want to be convinced. And I want to hear what retailers see as the opportunity for wearables and payments. No pressure Mat.

The other thing that I am looking forward to is how the Digital Payment Village at the show will be addressing mobile payments. There are so many payment solutions out there and I am intrigued to see which ones retailer delegates at the show gravitate towards.

Of course there are those that need to make payments on device easier and more mobile and then there are those that want to bring mobile into the store as a payment tool (and then onto wearables, as discussed), but how do they see that happening and who will drive it?

IRX is set to be the ideal place to find out. I am excited because not only is it the place to see what tech is in place and the place to hear from leading retailers and practitioners what their vision is, but also it is the place to gauge retailer thinking – especially around mobile and the shopping experience. Any trip to a shopping mall will demonstrate the disconnect between consumer expectation, mobile use and what they get in store. I am excited that IRX 2015 is the place to start putting that right. See you there – I will be the one chasing the drone across the carpark with a rudimental catapult fashioned from free pens.

Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2015) and eDelivery Expo (EDX 2015) will be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 25 and 26. Find out more and register for the free event at

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