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New Horizons for multichannel retail revealed to 1,000 visitors at IRC 2016

irc2016 logoOnce again the InternetRetailing Conference (IRC), now in its11th year, was nsold out. This industry cornerstone conference started its second decade at the forefront of multichannel with shy of 1,000 multichannel retail professionals present at the show. Gathered at London’s Hammersmith Novotel, attendees foresaw the best strategies to Grow, Engage and Transform the internet retailing industry.

Key decision makers from  brands including Airbnb, B&Q, eBay, Google, Alibaba, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, John Lewis, Boots, Lego, M&S, IBM, Urban Outfitters and feelunique.com joined the board-level conversation, shared real life case studies and exclusive research, and discussed the new pressures and trends challenging the growth of the multichannel retail industry.

The plenary session kicked off the event with James McClure, General Manager of UK & Ireland for Airbnb, Tony Rivenell, Chief Digital Officer at Halfords, and Andrew McLean, COO and Head of International for Urban Outfitters, analysing the New Horizons for marketplaces, mobile and international strategy; on how to bridge last decade’s experience with the next stage of digitally-led transformation.

All three speakers explored the growth of digital technology and the challenges faced when meeting new consumer demands. James McClure focused on the opportunities and core values in the ‘sharing economy’, while Tony Rivenell gave insight into how he has helped some of the UK’s leading businesses implement digital change. Andrew McLean concentrated on the global retail playground and stressed the importance of being customer-focused, to target the right demographic. All three agreed on the power of community, existing beyond the customer, and the importance of connecting with it.

The Conference later split into three, intense parallel streams, Engage, Grow and Transform, where speakers, delegates, strategists and decision makers shared their learnings, experiences, challenges and advice. The tracks drew together professionals from leading companies such as: Leif Bode Nielsen, Head of Omni-Channel EMEA for LEGO; Prasanth Subramanian, Head of EU Merchant Solutions, and Sanja Kon, Head of Partner Management and Seller Growth, for eBay; Neil Dulake, Industry Head of Retail at Google; Anne-Marie Blaire, Chief Digital Officer, Grupo Cortefiel; and, Richard Hewitt, Head of Digital Stores at M&S and Mona Basra, Head of Web Operations at Monsoon, among others.

The impact of current affairs and emerging markets were also at the forefront of the discussion during the show. Professor John Ryan of the London School of Economics explored the repercussions of Brexit for retailers and how to maintain business with Europe in the future.

Furthermore, a delegation of experts from Latin America, one of the fastest-growing markets for ecommerce, led a discussion panel on ecommerce in the region and how to cash in on new opportunities post-Brexit. Melanie Frutig, eCommerce Manager at Electrolux, Luciano Xavier de Miranda, Director of E-commerce at Grupo Boticário, Juan Romero, Marketing VP at Frávega Argentina and Cláudia Elisa, CEO at FNAC Brasil, advised on country specific strategy, including local shopping habits, content, logistics, payments, fraud and customer engagement.

45 exhibitors and 12 workshops completed the equation delivering cutting edge technology and practical sessions to IRC visitors. Bazaarvoice, eCommera, Electio, Pitney Bowes and Trustpilot all shared exclusive research and reports at the show on different aspects affecting multichannel retail, such as new consumer habits, effective innovation in the fashion industry, cart abandonment, customer experience, localisation strategy and how to engage with the global consumer.

Sam North, Portfolio Director at InternetRetailing Events, said: “IRC 2016 once again reflected the board-level conversation in multichannel retail and recognised new horizons and change drivers for the industry’s development.

This year speakers’ insight was top-notch and extremely well received by a very interactive audience, willing to learn from their peers and improve the way they do business and engage with the always on and connected savvy customers. Retailers, delegates and visitors buzzed on the conference’s Twitter with excitement and were pleased to see how the conference continues to provide edgy angles, showcase innovations and identify new trends”.

The InternetRetailing Conference has become a must-attend event in my calendar. The show presents a great opportunity to share industry concerns and good ideas, talk about the challenges the industry is facing, and get on top of new developments and innovation that could help improve business.

More insights and developments for the multichannel retail industry will be presented next year at the InternetRetailing Expo, co-located with the eDelivery Expo, on the 5th and 6th April at the NEC in Birmingham.

All the videos from the presentations as well as the slides used by the speakers will be shared soon at www.internetretailingconference.com where visitors can also register their interest for the 12th InternetRetailing Conference on 11th October 2017.

With ecommerce and logistics channels becoming more and more interconnected and the need for trade professionals to maintain a strategic holistic view, for the first time, next year’s IRC will be co-located to its sister event, the eDelivery Conference, the UK’s only dedicated retail fulfilment and operations conference.

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