"The conference keeps getting bigger and better each year and its great to see the positive impact the conference has on retailers of all sizes."
Sam North, Portfolio Director at InternetRetailing
Over 1,000 C-level industry leaders flooded to Hammersmith to attend the first joint InternetRetailing Conference (IRC) and eDelivery Conference (EDC) at London’s Novotel West.
The conference was a meeting of industry experts and senior eCommerce leaders who came together to discuss best practice in retail and gain strategic insight from digital retail giants such as: Alastair Sterling, Industry Head, Retail at Google, Karen Gibson, Senior Manager of toyou Client Relationships at Asda, James McDougall, IT Director at PrettyLittleThing, and Anna Bance, Founder at Girl Meets Dress.
The conference focused on educating top-level leaders, with debates between attendees on best practice, strategy and how to build their business to truly meet the needs of the modern consumer.
Over 50 exhibitors from eCommerce, logistics, payments, and marketing took to stands in the Novotel to highlight their latest innovations, reports and solutions. Delegates discussed the latest reports from Sorted who highlighted how 70 per cent of shoppers want retailers to provide more delivery options. Further, conference goers visited Uberall and learnt how mobile searches are becoming important to local businesses with ‘near me’ searches increasing 146% in the last year.
Attendees gained hands-on experience of how they could achieve business growth in the retail sphere by taking part in unique panels and workshops with expert speakers to discuss the latest industry insights. Topics included: social commerce, customer profiling and emotional eCommerce.
One keynote which grabbed attendees’ attention was that held by Girl Meets Dress founder Anna Bance, who explained to the audience how her innovative approach to being adaptive saw the business grow in a sector which had previously never existed. Bance detailed how retailers must be responsive to change happening within their industry and how future hurdles may be overcome by remaining adaptive.
Within the Create and Innovate stream, Alastair Sterling, Industry Head, Retail, at Google, took to the stage to discuss the technologies that are shaping the retail landscape and those expected to make waves within the industry. There was a focus on machine learning with Sterling stating that Google have already started to apply machine learning to data sets resulting in a 40 per cent efficiency increase.
Sterling outlined Google’s projected plans within retail and the impact their Google Home technology will have on retailers. He explained that customers want technology to mould into the world they live in and retailers must adapt to this or get left behind using real life best practice examples from the likes of Uber and Ocado.
Delegates also experienced an interview session between Attraqt and PrettyLittleThing, in which the businesses explored key innovations, such as Attraqt’s Fredhopper’s online search and merchandising technology that has aided in PrettyLittleThings’ 8% uplift in order value and 7% increase in conversion rates. Those in the audience were privy to PrettyLittleThing’s challenge to constantly provide an exciting and relevant experience to its young, demanding and technologically fluent audience and how the business overcomes this to ensure brand loyalty.
Roundtable sessions brought together c-level retailers to debate some of the leading issues in their sphere. On these roundtables retailers conducted peer-to-peer learning and discussed strategies under the Chatham House Rule. Topics included: meeting customer delivery expectations with Andy Hill, Sales Director at Sorted Group; engaging customers with Alex Shepherd, EMEA Commercial Director at Corra; order management optimisation with Imran Choudhary, Retail Commerce Lead at IBM; and online personalisation with Kay Roberts, Senior eCommerce Trader at Matalan.
Workshops were heavily attended and gave delegates the chance to learn new strategies and note best practice from sector leaders. A key workshop lead by Mark Edwards, Development Manager Payments Integration at Barclaycard, examined how to build trustworthy websites and how to understand the psychology of trust, choice and personalisation - a key discussion point for those wanting to build their businesses online.
Sam North, Portfolio Director at InternetRetailing Events, said:
“The conference keeps getting bigger and better each year and it’s great to see the positive impact the conference has on retailers of all sizes. This year we’ve seen retailers, suppliers, journalists and analysts all coming together to discuss the latest innovations, research and strategy in online retail.”
With the growing success of the conference, those wanting to attend next year have been recommended to prepare well in advance to ensure they secure tickets. The conference will take place on 11th October 2018 and will bring the conference to the next stage of innovation, enabling a new look and interactive experience for attendees.
For more information on the conference, visit www.internetretailingconference.com. The site will feature all of the post-event videos meaning those in attendance can re-live the experience and those unable to attend can catch up with the latest news and developments.
For more on the future of retail and the latest technology making waves, pre-register for the InternetRetailing and eDelivery Expo taking place at the NEC Birmingham 21st-22nd March 2018. Visit http://internetretailingexpo.com/ to register your attendance now.