IRCE 2013: Scalable Technology for the Retail Industry

Posted 6.6.13 by

Wednesday was a big day for the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE), featuring such speakers as Hiroshi Mikitani, the Chairman & CEO of Rakuten, Craig Oldham, the VP of Digital Engagement for the American Red Cross, and Director of Apple Inc. as well as Senior Advisor for Google, Al Gore.

And that was just the featured events.

Here in Chicago there are five tracks of sessions to choose from. Today, the options are:

  • Strategies for Top Executives: E-commerce Chiefs Share Success Tactics
  • Retail Chains: Putting the Web in the Center of the Enterprise
  • Global E-Retailing: The World Wide Web Lives Up to Its Name
  • Small Retailers: Bootstrapping Your Way to the Next Level
  • E-Marketing: Finding and Connecting with Today’s Everywhere Shopper

I’ve been following the “Retail Chains” track, and there have been lots of insights into how using a brand’s online presence can be incredibly helpful for businesses with many brick-and-mortar stores.

Greg Petro, President and CEO of First Insight explained that while the impression by the masses might be that the internet is cold and isolating, the application of tech can effectively enable customer intimacy. Namely, it gives the business owner the ability to interact and understand the customer while they’re researching and shopping online. This can allow the owner the ability to more specifically target their message to a consumer based on the consumer’s specific wants/needs/interests.

He also noted that while potential buyers are always looking for a deal, they are willing to pay more to get products they care about.

During a different session, Peter Isermann and Andy Lloyd spoke about making the web a centerpiece for retail organizations. By converging the many transactional channels available to a retail chain (SEM, organic, social media) into a single system, it’s easier to customize shopping for the consumer, and gives more accurate data. For instance, if a customer uses search engine marketing and clicks on an ad, and two weeks later shops in a store and buys something else, it can be hard with separate databases to know that this is the same person, so the data used to make important company decisions is skewed.

Isermann explained that putting the web at the center of his company (Patriot Outfitters), they were also able to reach more customers. He also included a few tips for other retailers that he’s learned in hindsight:

  • Buy the best, most scalable technology you can afford as soon as possible
  • Access to all data is critical
  • Performance, Integration, and scalability is key to success
  • The cloud can help diminish the cost of overheads
  • Change while your business is small is going to be easier and less expensive

Online Tech is exhibiting PCI hosting solutions at booth #108 at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibit (IRCE) 2013 in Chicago, IL. Hosted at the McCormick Place West, the event runs from June 4-7, and is the world’s largest e-commerce event. The event draws 9,500 e-retailing executives from more than 40 countries.

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We’ll have more from the show as it continues, so keep watching for more info!

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