The InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) is taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 3 and 4 April. Emma Herrod looks ahead to what’s in store for visitors.
Some retailers were hard hit in 2018, but while there is no denying that it was a challenging year, there were also success stories. Much of the growth was online with pureplays and the ecommerce side of omnichannel retailers seeing more traffic and revenue rising to offset the drop in footfall in UK town centres.
Rather than looking at the challenges and where the industry needs to change, the InternetRetailing Expo will be ‘Celebrating Success’; looking at the positives that are happening in the industry, the direction of travel and where digital is opening up opportunities.
InternetRetailing Expo combines more than 100 speakers in conference sessions across two days with 300 exhibitors and last year attracted more than 5,000 visitors.
The IRX conference in April 2019 will include a number of thought-provoking expert speakers, mixed with fascinating case studies and real life examples of next generation technology. Retail speakers will share, examine and highlight their success stories and what worked well for them in 2018.
Conference tracks include International Growth, New Technology, Customer Obsession, B2B Commerce, Omnichannel Innovation and Marketing Excellence. The range of presentations highlight the whole customer journey from acquisition, through marketing and affiliates, to repeat purchasing, making the show as relevant to retail marketers as it is to ecommerce.
In the New Technology track, presentations include how one retailer is building a strategy to capitalise on AI, while another will examine what voice technology means for retail and how it can be embraced quickly.
Of course, being so close to the Brexit deadline (unless it changes between writing this and the magazine hitting your desk), how retailers deal with Europe and the effects and fall out will be discussed at length within the conference sessions, on the exhibition floor and amongst visiting retailers.
An area of the exhibition hall will become an innovation hub which will provide visitors with a first look at pre-market technology from start ups pushing the boundaries and showcasing what the retail of tomorrow could look like.
For visitors wanting to get more hands on with training, companies across four workshop rooms will delve in depth into different aspects of online and omnichannel retailing. They offer the chance for visitors to discover more about the latest technologies and how they can be used more effectively to drive sales. Topics include an exploration of the Direct-To-Consumer model, a workshop on how you can get more out of affiliate marketing, a masterclass in building recommendation strategies and an examination of marketplace selling.
Companies running workshops include online marketplace Fruugo and conversational marketing platform iAdvize. Descartes will examine customer experience and the path to sustainable growth while visitors will also be able to examine 5 ways to stay in control of your customers’ online experience with Vybe. The details of the workshops are being updated constantly so have a look at internetretailingexpo.com for more details.
Expert clinics will also provide an opportunity for one-to-one sessions with experts from a variety of retail functions. These are free to attend too.
The event is co-located with eDelivery Expo which will look at Brexit from the operational and logistics side of retail. It will also showcase innovation in operational excellence from order management and the final mile to warehousing and distribution. Conference sessions will include a panel discussing how retailers can collaborate effectively with other retailers, 3PLs and carriers in order to maximise operational efficiencies and whether drones and robots are delivering hype or reality.
As with IRX, the eDelivery Expo will include conference sessions, workshops and expert clinics highlighting the importance of ‘the back end’ of retail to the success of the overall business and the customer experience.
As Paz Khorana, Senior Operations Manager, Holland and Barrett said at last year’s event, “Everybody’s in one place for two days. A really good way to network, meet people and gather all the information you need.”
In all, the InternetRetailing Expo will provide more than 100 hours of content, visitors just have to choose what fits their business best. Registration is now open at internetretailingexpo.com.