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A peek at the upcoming InternetRetailing Expo (IRM56)

A peek at the upcoming InternetRetailing Expo (IRM56)

A peek at the upcoming InternetRetailing Expo (IRM56)

The InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) returns on 27 and 28 April for a sixth year at Birmingham’s NEC. The UK’s largest dedicated multichannel event attracted over 6,000 visitors last year and this year will be even bigger with more content and showcasing best in breed technology.

Four free-to-attend conferences will run on each day of the two-day event with connected stores, international and cross-border, customer insight & experience and multichannel fulfilment being the topics focused on during the first day. The latter topic being run as part of the linked eDelivery Expo (EDX). On the second day, the focus of the conference sessions shifts to encompass mobile in multichannel, digital sales & marketing and digital merchandising. EDX will swap to the topic of operations in multichannel.

As customers have increasingly been researching and shopping across channels so retailers have been bringing digital into the high street, enabling new services and enhancing the customer experience. IPad-wielding store staff are now becoming the norm as retailers get to grips with clientelling and Wi-fi in store. Virtual changing rooms, beacons and augmented reality are all technologies being trialled in the industry but how are the most innovative retailers using these and other technologies to create inspirational and mind blowing shopping experiences? How are retailers using beacon technology and digital signage to inspire and inform; rewards and push notifications to impact sales; and mobility and POS solutions to improve customer service?

The ‘Connected Store of the Future’ conference track is designed to illuminate the most ground-breaking technologies and strategies that are driving the digital store, so retailers can get smarter about the way to help shoppers feel connected in multiple retail spaces and online places. Leading retailers, including Kash Ghedia, Head of Technology, Dixons Carphone and Bridget Lea, General Manager Stores, O2 (Telefonica UK), will share how they are successfully delivering a seamless online to physical store shopping experience, boosting sales and enhancing customer experience.

Another retailer on a journey to omnichannel success through innovating in store is B&Q. Its B&Q Spaces service links consultation with store-based kitchen and bathroom design consultants with online design and visualization. The company’s Omni Channel Director, Michael Durbridge, will present at IRX on how retailers can put the customer at the centre of their digital transformation.

As retail comes out of another mobile Christmas it’s ever more evident that mobile pervades everything and is continuously on the rise. Retail is now at a stage where ecommerce is ‘mobile-first’. The focus is moving from the “newness” of the mobile device to understand the impact on staff, stores and services when the customer is holding a “remote control for retail” in their hand. Schuh, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are just three of the retailers that will present on how they are spinning mobile into gold for customers in every location.

Ecommerce is not constricted by borders and understanding the strategies, pitfalls and rewards of international growth and market entry can be the difference between success and failure. With options ranging from cross-border, localisation and the proliferation of online marketplaces the challenges are great. Retailers across Europe believe that the market share of marketplaces will continue to grow, reaching around 40% of the global online retail market in 2020, according to a study by the Ecommerce Foundation. Marc Vincente, COO, Rakuten will share insight into what traditional retailers can learn from global marketplaces about customer buying preferences and product demand. However, as David Williams, Director of Online, EMEA, Deckers points out “one size doesn’t fit all”. He’ll explain more in his presentation entitled ‘Adopting Local to go Global’.

Getin Schraa, Global Lead – eCommerce, Philips and James Peach, Head of SEO, House of Fraser will also be sharing their thoughts and insight with delegates. For those wanting a view of the operational side of Black Friday from a market leader, John Munnelly, Head of Operations – Magna Park Campus, John Lewis Partnership will share a Black Friday Post-Mortem in the EDX theatre on day two (28 April).

IRX is not just a world-class speaker line up; expert clinics, workshops, pavilions and 300 exhibitors round out the event giving in depth analysis, expertise and insight into all areas of ecommerce and omnichannel retailing systems. Four special theatres will showcase vendors in the areas of marketplaces, digital payments, digital stores and innovation while 30 minute pre-bookable clinics will enable visitors to speak to expert solution providers on a one-on-one basis.

From Agility Multichannel to Zendesk, via Fact-Finder and Royal Mail the suppliers are all there. As Ali Holmes, Head of Global eCommerce Development & Analytics at Vodafone, commented at last year’s IRX “I never claim to understand or know all the different companies that are out there, but it’s fascinating to go to the workshops, to go to the keynote talks and see how people are talking to things and how many of the exhibitors are then brought to life in terms of making a real difference to the customer experience.”

For more details of IRX and EDX 2016, and to register for the free event, visit We look forward to seeing you there.

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