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InternetRetailing Expo: exploring the future of digital innovation

The InternetRetailing team previews April’s InternetRetailing Expo which includes more than 100 speakers, 300 exhibitors and last year attracted more than 5,000 visitors.

InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) returns for the eighth time in 2019 with a renewed focus on online retail. The event, being held in association with headline sponsor CoinPayments on April 3 and 4 at Birmingham’s NEC, will this year shift from a broad overview of multichannel retailing towards a more in-depth focus on growth and innovation in online retail.

As a result, the new-look IRX 2019 will put a greater emphasis on the ecommerce value chain, on customer acquisition and on customer loyalty. It’s a change, say organisers, that reflects a natural convergence of ecommerce and marketing and the less siloed approach that fast-growing online retailers now take to their businesses.

“2018 proved that retailers that get their online strategy right are reaping the benefits in sales growth and international expansion. This year, IRX will focus on growth and innovation across the ecommerce value chain – from customer acquisition through to customer loyalty – showcasing success stories that will inspire and excite retailers to enhance and improve their online offering, which will in turn improve their bottom line,” says Stuart Barker, Portfolio Director, InternetRetailing Events.

At this year’s IRX, speakers from a range of retailers will take part in eight conference streams over the course of the two days. On Wednesday April 3, the focus will be on Marketing Excellence, International Growth, Customer Obsession and, in the co-located eDelivery Expo (EDX) theatre, The Final Mile. On Thursday April 4, speakers will take part in streams on New Technology, B2B Commerce, Omnichannel Innovation and, in the EDX stream, Operational Excellence.

Amongst the speakers announced are Sue Harries, Director of Ecommerce for Screwfix. She’ll open one of the conference streams on the Thursday with a keynote presentation on ‘Evolving your mobile proposition to drive a seamless omnichannel customer journey’. This will be an interesting presentation and give visitors more insight into how the building and DIY retailer puts its customers at the heart of the mobile design process. Screwfix is a Leading retailer in InternetRetailing’s UK Top500 research. It also performed strongly in the Mobile Dimension sharing product opinions through reviews and ratings and offering predictive search and a store finder on its mobile app.

Another speaker of note is Jason Perry, Senior Manager Ecommerce Strategy & Rollout, Food Digital, The Co-op. He’ll be presenting twice at the event. He’ll be discussing the hype and reality of drones and robots for delivery and how Co-op is trialling Starship robots for food delivery in Milton Keynes, and again in a panel discussion. The panel – again part of the eDelivery Expo – will be assessing what developments we’ll see in delivery tracking by 2021 to meet increasing customer expectations. Will drone deliveries be a reality by then?

Another keynote presenter is Bruce MacInnes, Chairman of BrandAlley UK. Opening the ‘Customer Obsession’ conference stream on Wednesday April 3, he’ll be highlighting the importance of the entire customer journey with a presentation on ‘Driving loyalty through delivering great ecommerce customer experiences before, during and after the sale’.

International growth will be examined too. This is an important topic, regardless of Brexit, as retailers look outside of the UK for new customers. International business development is an area in which Tony Preedy, Chief Commercial Officer, Fruugo, has spent the past decade so he’ll be sharing his expertise with visitors to the International Growth stream. He’s a retailer with over 25 years experience of direct and digital marketing at Shop Direct Group, Otto Group and multichannel kitchen retailer Lakeland.

He’s now at global marketplace where he is responsible for generating incremental sales for retailers that use Fruugo’s unique technology to reach consumers in over thirty countries worldwide. Preedy will be discussing how retailers can build a framework to assess which new international territories offer the best opportunities for growth and taking part in a panel discussion on future proofing international growth.

Also on the panel is entrepreneurial leader and CEO of Teespring Chris Lamontagne. Together, they’ll be working with delegates to investigate what an international ecommerce strategy will look like in 2021 and what retailers should be doing today to prepare.

Another growth area for online retailing is B2B. It’s also an area in which people expect an experience to match consumer sites. Elisabeth Thomazeau, EMEA Digital Eand E-Commerce Leader, 3M, will open a conference stream on B2B by presenting the keynote address ‘Exploring the success factors that will drive growth in the B2B ecommerce space’.

Jeremy Howard, Chief Executive Officer, Cru World Wine, will present in the conference stream as well to give a perspective on how B2B marketplaces can be built as a secondary market to offset the operational costs of business-to-consumer.

In all, the InternetRetailing Expo combines more than 100 speakers in conference sessions across the two days with 300 exhibitors and last year attracted more than 5,000 visitors.


Away from the conference sessions, visitors will be able to get in-depth, hands on briefings at event workshops. IRX workshops will cover a broad range of subjects, from the product experience and marketplace selling, to the role of big data in email marketing, ways of reaching European consumers, personalising the customer journey and creating a digital roadmap.

EDX workshops will cover topical issues from delivering customer service through fulfilment, managing cross-border sales and trade compliance in a post-Brexit world, through to sustainable packaging options.

Visitors will also be able to get one-to-one advice in expert clinics, while the VIP Lounge will be open to senior retailers at IRUK Top500 and Growth 2000 companies.

The Jiangsu Pavilion returns with its focus on the Chinese market. As one of the earliest opening-up provinces in China, Jiangsu has achieved the fastest economic development, making a 10% economic contribution to the national economy from its 1% share of China’s land area and 6% of the population. Jiangsu has long been in a leading position in China, in terms of inbound investment, and has been holding the second place in imports and exports. Jiangsu also leads the country in outbound investment, service outsourcing development zone construction and overseas economic cooperation.

New for 2019 is a Crypto Currency Pavilion, run by event sponsor CoinPayments in partnership with Lode.

To find out more and register for a free ticket visit

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