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IRX2015 PREVIEW Mobile at the centre of e-commerce

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The importance of mobile to retailers continues to grow and the mobile conference track at Internet Retailing Expo on 25 March promises to be a highlight of the show. And so it should be: mobile is mission critical to retailers, both as an e-commerce channel and as an in-store tool that can build engagement, sales and even payments.

The panel of speakers looking at mobile has all bases covered and promise to cover off all the major mobile food groups that retailers need to digest. The day gets off to a strong commercial start with a look at the reality of trying to turn mobile traffic into money, first off with Lysa Hardy, CMO at NBTY Europe, who opens proceedings with her keynote, then backed up with a case study from Nish Kukadia, CEO, .

“Mobile is critically important to retailers as traffic is shifting to it rapidly now and this has key implications for e-commerce,” Hardy says ahead of her keynote. “Retailers have to optimise ASAP to give the most efficient experience possible across all channels,” she advises.

Debate then turns to how mobile is set to work in the real world of, well, the real world with an enlightening retailer case study on harmonising bricks and clicks from Annabel Kilner,UK Country Manager,

Chuck Cantrell, Head of eCommerce Solutions, Clarks, Joe Steele, Chief Executive Officer, Bookatable and Stuart McMillan Deputy Head of Ecommerce, Schuh pick up all the themes from the morning in a panel discussion on the Good, the Bad and Ugly of mobile retailing, which promises to throw things wide open.

According to McMillan: “Too many people are still thinking “How do I make my site smaller for mobile”, whereas for us, the question has become “how do I make my site bigger for desktop and tablet”. Yes, there are technical challenges, but realistically, mobiles are so much more capable than the early computers/connections of the internet age. Broadband, big screens and beefy processers have allowed a degree of complacency to creep in. We need to get geeky again, and think about the technicalities of providing a great mobile experience. Learn to optimise within the constraints, don’t just ignore the constraints!”

McMillian is well placed to comment. Currently 45% of traffic to Schuh’s website now comes from mobile and there is a continuing move from desktop to mobile. “Interestingly,” he adds, “tablet traffic has stalled – just like tablet purchases – and all growth is going to come from mobile.”

The sticky issue of fraud is tackled by session sponsor Kount Inc , with VP of marketing Don Bush talking on ‘Fraud in the Mobile Channel & How to Avoid It’.

We wrap things up with some great retailer case studies, firstly from Jo French, Head of Online, at Monsoon Accessorize and then a look to the future of with Mat Braddy, Chief Marketing Officer, Just Eat, who will be talking us through Wearable Tech, AR, and VR – what’s on the horizon for mobile retail.

With so much attention lavished on Apple’s SmartWatch – and the fact that one lucky delegate that attends Scurri’s workshop will win one, delivered by drone no less – the area of wearables has to be one for retaielrs to start to think about. Really, however, the real point is on how to embrace mobile for a better business today so that you are ready for wearables next year.

INTERNET RETAILING EXPO 2015 takes place at the Birmingham NEC on 25 and 26 March 2015. You can check out the schedule HERE and register to attend FREE HERE

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