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Internet Retailing 2012: The Mantle of Leadership

Internet Retailing 2012: The Mantle of Leadership

Internet Retailing 2012: The Mantle of Leadership

Internet Retailing’s annual conference takes place in London on 9 October. Emma Herrod picks through the agenda to see what delegates will be learning from key retailers and industry leaders including Best Buy , Morrisons /Kiddicare and Shop Direct Group .

The first Internet Retailing conferences focused on ecommerce as an innovation in retail. Together we’ve moved through the challenges of growth to a mature market that is now progressing towards a customer promise of omni-channel retailing: anytime, anywhere, any how. This change in retailing is being steered, or at least augmented, by ecommerce thus heralding the time for ecommerce professionals to take up the ‘Mantle of Leadership’ in the wider retail organisation.


Three senior retailers, each an innovator who has shaped the ecommerce and cross-channel retail industry, have been invited to open the 2012 conference: Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, Best Buy Europe; Alison Lancaster , CMO of Kiddicare and Marketing Director of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc non food .com business; Jonathan Wall , E-Commerce Director, Shop Direct Group.

Each will be picking up the ‘Mantle of Leadership’ theme; how following years of channel growth, of ecommerce starting to impinge on the store estate, of leading international expansion and finally the closest ever engagement with customers via social and mobile retailing there is a change required in ecommerce thinking. As retail sales levels are challenged during this recession and the ecommerce channel continues to grow, the nature of the business changes. Ecommerce is now at the heart of the commercial conversation with the customer.

This places a new responsibility upon ecommerce professionals – to provide leadership evermore broadly within their organisations. No longer simply channel experts, the ecommerce professional needs to provide cross-channel, integrated commercial leadership across the whole business at a time of significant and challenging transformation. Innovation, commercial focus, changemanagement, branding and positioning and team development and leadership are the skills sitting alongside the sales, marketing, technology and operational competencies already mastered.

The invited keynote presenters will explore the new responsibilities of leadership: the change, celebrating successes and considering new challenges.

First to present is Andrew Harrison, CEO for Best Buy Europe. From CEO of Carphone Warehouse in the UK to then head up the company’s European operations he now has overall responsibility for driving Best Buy Europe’s “Connected World” strategy and customer proposition across all Best Buy Europe brands.

Alison Lancaster is a pioneer in the ecommerce arena who has led many UK brands to multichannel leadership. Now CMO of Kiddicare and Marketing Director of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc non food .com business, she has previously held leading positions at White Stuff , Harrods Direct, Charles Tyrwhitt, Innovations Mail Order, Burton Home Shopping (Arcadia); and John

Jonathan Wall has been instrumental in the transformation of a number of retail sectors. First the evolution of IT catalogue mail order business Dabs into one of the UK’s first and most successful pure-play retailers and then as CEO of flowersdirect establishing it as a strong challenger to the established hierarchy in the floral sector. He now controls the commercial performance of Shop Direct Group’s websites including Very, Littlewoods and isme.

Following the keynotes, the conference will split into three separate tracks, with retailer presentations, panel discussions and expert deliberations all timed so that delegates can swap easily from room to room to hear the presentations most pertinent to their interests. The three conference streams will cover:

Track 1 – Customer: their experience across all channels and how businesses are restructuring around touchpoints.

Track 2 – Connection: how do we master the many connection routes and interconnections in a way that promotes brand coherence and profit?

Track 3 – Commercial: a stream to consider business, strategic, operational and technological aspects of the new challenges of leadership – catching up, sustaining and new opportunities all assessed.


Social, mobile and customer interactions are changing shopping behaviours but every customer is still an individual with different preferences, wants and needs with these altering depending on product, necessity, frame of mind and channel. But, how do retailers match this changing customer need and structure for agile commerce?

Forrester analyst Martin Gill will set the scene for Track 1 sharing data driven insights into the changing nature of digital consumers; the devices for engaging across touchpoints and how consumers are more empowered than ever before.

Simon Smith, Head of Multi Channel Experience, O2 UK , will then share how O2 is using customer design to translate brand value into tangible service, satisfaction and engagement across all channels and touchpoints. He will be followed by Simon Joseph, Associate Director – eCommerce, Jessops, who will expand on the evolution of a cross-touchpoint customer experience, the challenges already faced and the landscape over the next 12 months.

The importance of interfaces, data driven customer experience and eCRM are picked up on by Priya Prakash, Head of Mobile Phone User Experience at Nokia, Emailcenter’s Sean Duffy and Will Cook of Autonomy. Andy Harding, Director of E-Commerce, House of Fraser will close the track with a presentation on how ecommerce leadership is combining with cross-channel analytics and metrics to measure the business in touchpoints not just channels to transform House of Fraser into a customer-centric business evolving for a cross-channel future.


Data, however, is nothing without insight and this requires expert knowledge and action to mould and maximise its potential and profit, and this is the theme for the ‘Connection’ track which looks at how retailers are mastering the many connection routes and interconnections with customers in a way that promotes brand coherence and profit.

The track will start and finish on a mobile theme with Mark Cody, Senior Marketing Manager – Mobile, {IRDX RTSC] starting the day sharing insight into how Tesco is shaping the mobile channel into a tool for interaction, engagement and customer service. Insight from WorldPay into the shifting mobile payment landscape and how Domino’s Pizza is managing the connection routes and interconnections enabled by mobile to communicate with customers whenever and wherever they are will close the session.

Mobile, social, local and email (or mocial) is the topic of the first of the expert presentations which promises several strategies for collecting data onsite via tablets, SMS and local check-ins, using rewards and raffles as opt-in incentives, tapping social media to build their database and increase reach and creating transactional emails that help drive opt-ins.

Getting closer to customers is highlighted again in a second expert presentation as IBM Smarter Commerce shares its views on reducing cart abandonment and enhancing the customer experience through marketing management.

Retailers and industry experts from the UK and overseas consider ‘balancing local engagement with a global experience across borders’. The international topic will be picked up again in Track 3 by Demandware which will address some of the key strategic options that should be considered when expanding into new markets.


Whether catching up with industry changes, sustaining growth, innovating or opening up new opportunities, retail leadership requires an understanding of operations, technological advancements and new business models.

Along with the Demandware presentation, delegates will hear expert presentations from HookLogic and Kiddicare/’s Jody Goodall on ecommerce media, site monetisation and ROI.

Walter Blackwood, Director of Group Logistics, Mothercare (formerly CEO of Collect+) will share insight into the cross-channel logistics operations from the perspective of both the retail organisation and third party logistics provider.

The cross-channel store environment of the future and issues around how ecommerce, technology, operations, delivery and mobile are driving the store environment and showrooming behaviour will be discussed by pannelists from Schuh [RSCH], Marks and Spencer , Tesco and Casino. With plenty of opportunity for delegate interaction this should be an interesting and thought provoking session.

A final panel discussion will close Track 3 as operations, the fast changing fashion sector and the changes that will impact other sectors will be analysed by Swedish retailer, eBay’s Amanda Metcalfe, Gracia Amico, Head of Ecommerce at Topman and Geoff van Sonsbeeck, CEO of Isabella Oliver .

As if the senior retailer and independent thought leadership presentations, expert discussions and 3 keynote presentations didn’t offer enough to fill this one day event, then 8 workshops and an exhibition area will give plenty of opportunity for discussion and networking.

New innovations in the exhibition area include an in-store commerce platform that is able to use mobile commerce technologies and bring it to the in-store experience, a multichannel version of technology which enables a single view of the customer payment whether they buy their goods online, offline or through their mobile and a segmentation tool that, until recently, was only available to US retailers.

Exhibitors will be able to discuss other recent announcements including systems for Customer Experience Management, merchandising, augmented reality for mobile commerce and content management.

Internet Retailing 2012 aims to bring together the key strategic messages and peer insights into one packed day. Have you registered yet?


1. Hear how pioneers of ecommerce have taken up the ‘Mantle of Leadership’ in the wider retail industry;

2. Gain insight into user experience and why a good mobile/tablet/kiosk interface can mean more than brand loyalty;

3. Hear how agile retailers are measuring touchpoints not channels;

4. Learn how others are engaging and connecting in a mobile, social, local world;

5. Hear how digital is driving the store of the future and join in the discussion on the future of the mobile high street;

6. Discover how operations, technology and innovation can drive growth in your business;

7. Hear insight on logistics from the perspective of both the retail organisation and third party provider;

8. Ask questions of international retailers balancing local engagement with a global experience across borders;

9. Learn the latest patterns in the shifting mobile payments landscape;

10. Join in the discussion, network, and gain advantage – all in one day.

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