Emma Herrod shares details of two days of insight from retail speakers ahead of the Internet Retailing Expo.
More than 80 retail speakers, 90 exhibitors and 5,000 digital professionals will converge on Birmingham’s NEC on 21 and 22 March for the InternetRetailing Expo (IRX). The event includes 8 separate, free-to-attend conference tracks with speakers including Stephen Langford, Ecommerce Director, George at Asda , Richard Locke, Head of Merchandising Operations & Analytics, General Merchandise, Ocado and Alex Murray, Director E-Commerce, Lidl UK .
The conference opens on 21 March with a look at the state of ecommerce. The keynote address will highlight what the ecommerce landscape looks like in 2018, how it will develop and what key opportunities are emerging. Key challenges being faced by the industry as customer expectations rise and competition remains fierce will also be discussed, as will the tough questions that retailers need to be asking themselves to secure their future in an uncertain economy. It will close with an overview of the key leadership skills that ecommerce executives need to focus on in order to drive success going forward.
Four conference tracks on each day then look in depth at the key issues facing the retail industry. Marketing & Customer Obsession, International Growth, Mobile First, Final Mile are the key headline conference themes for day one on 21 March, while Beyond Channels, Innovation & The Future, Marketplaces & B2B and Operational Excellence will be covered on 22 March. Ken Daly, CEO, JML will open the Marketing and Customer Obsession Conference track. The Marketing & Customer Obsession track will help delegates to understand customer-centricity and its role in ecommerce as well as the steps that can be taken to ensure SEO remains effective in 2018. This conference track will also focus on how sales and customer engagement can be increased through personalisation, how to drive profitability from social media and how to achieve real insight and ROI from customer data.
With the uncertainty created for ecommerce by Brexit, many retailers are increasingly looking to international markets for growth opportunities. Although the opportunity is huge, trading internationally is a complex process. The International Growth track will help delegates improve their international efforts through effective localisation and enable them to drive customer convenience through efficient international logistics and delivery. This conference track will also look at the key international ecommerce challenges and how they can be overcome as well as highlighting which countries offer the best growth opportunities.
The explosive growth of m-commerce has meant retailers have had to accept that their customers are now mobile-first. How though can retailers ensure their business moves to a mobile-first strategy and fully engages the mobile shopper? The Mobile-First track will address this challenge and show how to boost sales through moving from a mobile-friendly focus to a truly mobile-first strategy. Speakers will also look at the role of social media through mobile devices and how it has become transactional, improving loyalty through apps and how retailers can deliver a great mobile shopping experience that keeps customers spending.
The Final Mile conference track will look at same-day delivery and how retailers can ensure it enhances customer experience, use tracking effectively to differentiate their offer and what an effective final mile strategy should look like to ensure Black Friday success. With the options for customer delivery rapidly growing, and with some retailers even providing an hourly delivery option, the final mile is fast becoming a key way for retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors. Presentations will also discuss the plethora of new delivery options, how customer convenience in delivery will change by 2020 and assess how drones and robots will be used to offer a world-class delivery experience.
TWO DAYS OF INSIGHT
The four conference tracks on day 2 continue the insightful presentations from speakers from leading retailers including Tesco , Made , SecretSales and Waitrose . The Beyond Channels track sees speakers from The Rug Company, Google , JML, George at Asda and Blackcircles.com discussing how customer expectations across retail are rising at a quicker rate than ever before. Customers want to shop whenever, wherever and however they desire and now expect an increasingly seamless experience across channels.
Presentations will help delegates face this challenge and drive customer engagement through a united and friction-free shopping experience. The conference track will bring in ideas on how to re-think stores to engage the seamless shopper, drive ROI from click & collect, capitalise on the single customer-view and create the right internal culture for staff to achieve a seamless customer mind-set.
Many retailers are embracing new innovations as a way to maximise engagement and drive market share. Others are partnering with start-ups or even starting their own innovation labs to ensure they stay ahead of the game. This Future & Innovation track will look at four of the key innovations that are having the most impact on retail: artificial intelligence; augmented/virtual reality; IoT and voice-activation. Delegates will learn what these innovations really mean for retail and how they can be best used to engage customers and increase sales. A panel of expert retailers will discuss what retail will look like in 2020 to help the audience form forward-thinking strategies to take back to the office.
Two growth areas for ecommerce are marketplaces and B2B. The marketplaces conference session in the morning of 22 March focuses on helping visitors to IRX understand how to drive and sustain real international growth through a successful marketplace strategy and how to expand through creating their own marketplace.
The afternoon sessions focus on the growing importance of B2B ecommerce. The Marketplace & B2B conference track will look at how a B2B company can successfully transform itself into a digital business, what B2B can learn from B2C ecommerce and how B2B organisations can drive sales through an effective customer-centricity strategy.
The eighth conference track is Operational Excellence. This track focuses on the supply chain, operations and logistics element of internet retailing and how retailers can use innovation in the warehouse to improve their operational efficiency and how to best manage 3PL relationships during peak trading to improve customer experiences. The track also looks at how retailers can work together operationally to drive sales, ensuring the returns policy avoids business disruption and what operational excellence will look like in 2020 and how to best prepare. Speakers from Asda , Waitrose, Lovehoney , Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Enclothed all share their experiences and expertise in the road to operational excellence.
For further details of the conference tracks, speakers, exhibitors, clinics, workshops, innovation hub, Top500 lounge or to register for your free pass for the Internet Retailing Expo 2018, visit www.internetretailingexpo.com