The InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) returns on 27 and 28 April for a sixth year at Birmingham’s NEC. The UK’s largest, and only, dedicated multichannel event attracted over 6,000 visitors in 2015 and this year will be even bigger with more content and showcasing best in breed technology.
The sixth InternetRetailing Expo looks set to be a great focus for customer facing and back end solutions for
pureplay and omnichannel retailers of all sizes as more than 300 companies will exhibit their latest innovations.
Amongst them are Shopware, which will be showcasing the new Advanced Promotion Suite which forms part of its open source ecommerce software. Supply chain visibility software specialist Segura will be showing visitors how to safeguard their businesses against unethical, non-compliant and unauthorised suppliers, while visitors to OrderWise’s stand can learn about the major upgrade and new additions to its commerce platform.
For SME visitors, the major launch of the InternetRetailing Expo is SAP Anywhere. The new front-office solution is designed specifically to help meet the needs of SMEs, providing everything a small business requires to run its customer interactions including tools that manage ecommerce, marketing, customer engagement, inventory management and business analytics from any mobile device or computer. It also offers integration with Google, PayPal and UPS.
Running alongside the two day exhibition are four free-to-attend conferences; connected stores, international and cross-border, customer insight & experience and multichannel fulfilment are 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; reward 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 they 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.
Staff too need to be onboard with the omnichannel journey and the explosion of ecommerce within traditional bricks and mortar has precipitated a massive rethink of internal structures and what it takes to accommodate new and evolving online customer demands. Eric Fuchs, Non Food Online & Multichannel Director at Carrefour will be presenting on the challenges that multichannel ecommerce teams face from above, within and outside their organisations and how the most progressive retailers are reskilling and adopting performance measures to compete on the high street.
As retail comes out of another mobile Christmas it’s ever more evident that mobile pervades everything and is continuously on the rise. Sales from mobile devices now account for over 50% of sales, up from 40% a year ago. Traffic from mobile is increasing too; two thirds (66%) of traffic to retail sites is from mobile, according to the IMRG. There is increased confidence in consumers in using smartphones and tablets to make purchases and retailers are increasingly announcing that they are deigning for ‘mobile-first’. The focus with mobile is moving from the “newness” of the mobile device to understanding the impact on staff, stores and services when the customer is holding a “remote control for retail” in their hand. So, why then is the average time for a mobile homepage to fully load more than 10 seconds and why do only 23% of the IRUK Top500 retailers have a transactional app?
House of Fraser is a pioneer in terms of mobile retailing, and leader in the Mobile and Crosschannel Dimension of InternetRetailing’s UK Top500. Its app effectively links online and the store and the inclusion of augmented reality gives it a cutting-edge advantage. “By any reckoning, House of Fraser’s app is impressive for the way it links channels and offers customers a single view of the products it sells,” says InternetRetailing Senior Researcher Martin Shaw.
In the opening keynote address in the Mobile in Multichannel Theatre, House of Fraser’s, Head of Digital Product, Sarah Baillie, will share valuable insight into ‘What retailers can’t afford not to know about how mobile is transforming customer behaviour’ and how retailers can harness mobile to come out on top.
Schuh, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are just three of the other retailers that will present on how they are spinning mobile into gold for customers in every location.
Big data, customer insight and personalisation are all major issues in 2016 as retailers try to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds in order to give customers a seamless and memorable shopping experience. Speaking to InternetRetailing.net ahead of his presentation in the Insight & Experience Theatre at IRX, Paul Kendrick, Multichannel Director of Bonmarché commented that the single biggest benefit of measuring customer behaviour across channels is to get a single view of the customer and understand their true value. “Only then can you decide how much and where to invest – provide true personalisation and relevance,” he said. If you measure your online channel you can easily undervalue the impact one channel has on another or, for example, end up making recommendations for product which customers have already purchased.
“Having the single view across channels will also provide surprises in how customers behave and challenge the way you optimise your business,” he commented. “If you have a loyalty programme to gain customer data you still miss out on browsing data as they walk around your store, what they look at but don’t buy. Getting customers to identify themselves, consistently, so you can link up their crosschannel behaviour and transactions is the key challenge”.
One company with a recently launched crosschannel loyalty programme is Marks & Spencer. Its Sparks members club rewards customers for purchases as well as for engaging with the brand through writing product reviews and ‘Shwopping’. Rosie Snow, Loyalty & Personalisation Product Owner, Marks and Spencer, will talk about treading the line between getting personal with customers versus being intrusive. Through real examples, she’ll show how the Nir Eyal ‘Hook’ model works – or in some cases doesn’t work – and how this model can help build habitual behaviours in product development and loyalty, frequency of visiting and retention.
Unlike bricks and mortar retailing, 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’.
“Hear from retailers including John Lewis, M&S, House of Fraser, Carrefour and Dixons Carphone”
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 big exhibition with a world-class speaker line up; expert clinics, workshops and pavilions 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.
Look across the site for more details of IRX and EDX 2016, and to register for the free event.We look forward to seeing you there.