The Internet Retailing Expo is taking place at Birmingham’s NEC in March 2014. Emma Herrod looks ahead to the UK’s leading ecommerce event.
March 26 and 27, 2014 will see the retailing industry descend on Birmingham’s NEC exhibition centre for the fourth annual Internet Retailing Expo (IRX). With 6 freeto-attend conference streams, in depth workshops and over 200 exhibitors IRX promises discoveries and insight for retailers of all sizes and e-maturity. Six conferences are being held over the twoday event with topics ranging from technology innovation within the bricks and mortar environment to increasing sales through effective omnichannel stock management strategies.
Retailers sharing their knowledge include Paul Loft, Managing Director, Homebase , Bertrand Bodson, Digital Director, Argos , Anne Sinclair, Strategy Director, Aurora Fashions and Mike Durbridge, Director of Omni Channel, B&Q . Delegates will also hear from speakers from Clarks , Wiggle.co.uk , Asda and Marks & Spencer . The six conferences will look in depth at issues and challenges around:
Each conference track will close with a panel discussion and interactive Q&A session looking at the conference theme and how it will evolve to 2016.
INTERNET RETAILING IN STORE
The high street is changing fast under pressure from ecommerce, which offers shoppers a more convenient way to buy. One key way that multichannel retailers are responding is by bringing digital into stores in order to widen the range they can offer and to bring the convenience that the internet has to offer to their local branches.
The Internet Retailing In Store conference will explore the different ways in which retailers are going about that task through presentations from leading retailers including Argos, House of Fraser and TUI Travel . The event opens at 10.30am on Wednesday 26 March and following the chair’s introduction, keynote speaker Bertrand Bodson, Digital Director at Argos, will talk through the ways that the general merchandise retailer, which aims to be a digital leader, is using technology in its stores to improve the customer experience. Sarah Baillie, Head of Multichannel Business Development at House of Fraser, then follows with a case study: Driving proﬁt through refocusing your stores strategy around the multichannel customer. In it, she’ll be considering how retailers can gain clearer insights into their customers’ expectations of multichannel commerce and use that knowledge to reengineer their store networks.
She’ll also be sharing predictions on the store of the future. Tui’s digital store experiences, how Evans Cycles has built a click and collect strategy that maximises customer convenience and sales and Majestic Wine’s experience of upskilling its store staff to improve customer engagement and sales in the omnichannel world will also be covered in this conference. The IRIS conference closes with a panel of retailers discussing the question of what will retailing in the bricks and mortar store look like in 2016 as omnichannel develops?
Successful retailers of all sizes are investing in getting to know their customers, and understanding how they most like to shop as they work towards a new model of retailing that puts those with the spending power ﬁrmly in the driving seat.
The Customer Experience and Journey conference will hear from ecommerce and multichannel retailers from across the industry on how, and what, they have learned from their customers. The conference runs from 10.30am to 4p on Wednesday 26 March, the ﬁrst day of IRX 2014. Paul Loft, Managing Director of Homebase will be the keynote speaker in this conference and he’ll be presenting on increasing sales through engaging the customer at every touchpoint on the omnichannel journey, considering how traders can best work with their staff to make sure customers enjoy a consistent retail experience, no matter which channel they choose to shop in at any given moment.
Jonathan Haywood, Senior Customer Insight Manager at Holland & Barratt owner NBTY Europe, will speak about understanding the cross-channel customer journey and ways to understand how customers behave when shopping online, the tools that retailers can use to track customer journeys across channels and approaches to understanding the value of omnichannel customers. The emphasis will be on gaining insights into customers while at the same time ensuring return on investment.
Customer service across channels, the power of online reviews to improve the customer service and designing an all-day shopping mall experience around today’s omnichannel shopper are all topics for the afternoon of the conference. A panel discussion entitled - What new innovations should retailers focus on to drive customer experience in the omnichannel marketplace? - will close the conference.
The question of what a successful multichannel international expansion strategy looks like will be addressed by the keynote speaker in the International Retailing conference. Professor Dr Jonathan Reynolds, Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, will discuss the opportunities for UK retailers to expand both at home and abroad, and evaluate business models and approaches to new markets, going on to look at ways of scaling up existing international operations. Reynolds’ keynote presentation will be at 10.35am on Wednesday 26 March.
Dave Elston, Head of Ecommerce, Europe, Clarks International, then takes a practical approach to the theme of new markets in an interview, ‘Key questions for expanding your ecommerce business into new countries’, at 11.10am. The interviewer will be asking questions on subjects from how local and international ecommerce website should be, to handling logistics and the tax and legal aspects of trading overseas.
Implementing localisation strategies to increase the success of your international strategy, understanding how a premium brand can effectively plan for global expansion and overcoming the three main stumbling blocks when crossing borders: legal compliance; building brand awareness; localisation will also be covered in this conference.
OPERATIONS & LOGISTICS
Operations and logistics are the underpinnings of multichannel. Retailers’ very best promises are nothing if they cannot deliver on those promises. The Operations & Logistics conference taking place on the second day of IRX, Thursday 27 March, looks at how the best in the retail business manage, move and make the most money out of their products by delivering on the promises made to their customers.
Walter Blackwood, Director of Logistics, Mothercare will open the conference with a presentation on delivering bottom line beneﬁt through optimising your operations and logistics strategy within a multichannel marketplace. He’ll be followed by Louis Agabani, Co-Founder of MyHigh.St, who will be interviewed on how retail and online marketplaces collaborate efﬁciently from an operations and logistics perspective.
Mark Robinson, Director of Customer Delivery Operations, John Lewis Partnership will present on ensuring your delivery strategy ensures customer satisfaction whilst still offering you ROI, while the Heads of Retail Logistics and Returns at Shop Direct Group will share how the Group built an efﬁcient online returns strategy. They’ll also talk about how others can assess and evaluate what methods can be implemented to simplify the returns process whilst still offering a great customer experience.
DIGITAL SALES & MARKETING
Growing customer base, market share and brand awareness are all key skills for any marketer in the multichannel arena. The Digital Sales & Marketing conference aims to help delegates benchmark their strategy through assessing the digital marketing campaigns of some of the world’s leading retailers. Boosting conversions, personalisation, ensuring email strategies drive sales, social media and searchandising will all be covered along with a debate on which new innovations in digital marketing will offer retailers the best ROI by 2016.
Jon Rudoe, Director of Online, Digital & Cross-Channel, Sainsbury’s will keynote the conference which takes place on the second day of IRX, Thursday 27 March. Starting at 10.30am, he’ll present on building a successfull multichannel sales and marketing strategy.
Glyn Williams, Digital Marketing Director at Asda, Julia Monro, Social Media Manager, Marks & Spencer and Paul Knutton, E-Commerce Manager, Boden will share their insight and learnings on relationship building, engagement and ROI of email, social and international.
MOBILE & MOBILITY
The mobile conference is no longer a mobile theatre, but the stage to play out the real heart of modern omnichannel retailing. Just look at the job titles of heavy hitters making up the programme for the Mobile & Mobility Conference: Mark Cody, Senior Marketing Manager – Mobile at Tesco ; John Gillan, Industry Retail Leader, Google UK ; Mike Durbridge, Director of Omni Channel, B&Q; Ashley Payne, Head of Digital Operations, Debenhams ; David Devany, VP Europe – eCommerce and Digital, Claire’s Accessories ; Andy Towers, Head of Product Development, thetrainline.com; Phil Ward, Head Of Experience & Development, Carphone Warehouse and Lynn Ritson, Brand Communications Director, Karen Millen.
The list is not only one of key retailers in the UK, but it shows how mobile is no longer just a channel, but in many ways the cornerstone of digital retailing for the 21st Century.
The conference offers an excellent breakdown of all the different facets of how mobile drives ecommerce, as well as offering some great insights from those that know into actually how to make it happen. The Mobile & Mobility Conference runs from 10.30am to 3pm on Thursday 27 March, the second day of IRX 2014.
From insight shared and debated with retailers, IRX also offers the chance to get hands-on with different technologies and solutions for all aspects of the e-retail journey.
Over 200 companies are expected to exhibit including specialist areas such as the MetaPack and Magento Pavilions. Magento [VIRDX VMGN], owned by eBay, is supported by a global ecosystem of solution partners and third-party developers and the Magento Pavilion will showcase a number of these suppliers across a range of support and consulting services to help retailers get the most out of their business. The Magento partners that are currently taking part in the Pavilion include: Magento, 2J Design, Vaimo, Space 48, Summit Media , Screen Pages, Peer1 , FishEye Web Design and PureBlue.
Workshops – For visitors wanting to get indepth with a solution or supplier, the IRX 2014 workshops are a complete programme of hands-on, practical, training focused sessions delivered by leading companies in the industry. Companies running workshops include SLI Systems , Shutl , Kount , Intelligent Reach, Search Laboratory , adestra , Vivocha, SDL Fred Hopper , Amplience and Computop.
Innovation Studio – The Innovation Studio is an onsite TV studio where the latest innovations will be shared and discussed with the IR editorial team. Visitors will hear from many suppliers who will reveal new and exciting approaches to drive their multichannel business forward and remain at the forefront of industry developments. Now in its third year, retailers will be among the ﬁrst to ﬁnd out what’s coming over the horizon for 2014: presenters in last year’s Innovation TV Studio include Matt Hopkins, Founder and Managing Director of Vertical Leap and Red Rocket Media, speaking on the ‘Convergence of Search, Content and Social’; Julian Fisher Chief Executive of Bubbles Online Services , on ‘The Secret of Bubbles – how to evolve online shopping that beneﬁt consumers whilst keeping retailers in proﬁt’; Sean Duffy, Principal Email Marketing Consultant at Emailcenter UK on ‘Innovate or Die. Ensure your retail emails don’t fall by the wayside’.
‘Ask the Experts’ Doctors Clinic & IMRG Knowledge Lounge – IRX 2014 is pulling together top experts from six different disciplines in the realm of internet retailing and IRX visitors will be able to pre-booked 30 minute clinics on a one-on-one basis with these experts. These hands-on, practical meetings will allow visitors to explain the problems or challenges they face and allow the experts to give an independent view which could help then to overcome the hurdles in web design, mobile, international/cross border retailing, internet retailing in store,logistics or merchandising. IMRG’s Knowledge Lounge will be coming to IRX 2014 too. Drawing on 23 years of experience in online retail and the knowledge of its 1,200 members, visitors will be able to get answers to their questions about ecommerce in a free 15-minute consultation with an industry expert. Once registered, visitors will be invited to book their session:
Launching at IRX is Internet Retailing’s Top 500 Footprint report. This will cover the Top 500 retailers in the sector, based upon their footprint of turnover, multichannel participation, proﬁt and digital reach.
Top 500 retailers will have access to the Top 500 Lounge which is expected to become the meeting place for the retailing community at IRX 2014, enabling retailers to meet, network and conduct important business meetings in a professional but relaxed atmosphere. The Internet Retailing team looks forward to meeting many of you in Birmingham on 26 and 27 March. Further details of the event and how to register can be found at www. internetretailingexpo.com.