There was a palpable positive energy circulating throughout the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago last week. Attendance was up by more than 1,000, according to show producers, reaching 9,500, with close to 600 exhibitors.
Additionally, a number of solution providers exhibiting at the event mentioned that they felt retailers came to the event “ready to make decisions.”
During 4 days of educational sessions, dozens of retail executives shared insights and tips with their peers, covering a variety of topics including mobile commerce, social media, the omnichannel shopper, digital technology and more. Also, one of the big draws of the event was a keynote from former Vice President Al Gore, who spoke about the global economy and urged retailers to participate in “making the world a better place.”
Some session highlights included:
- A keynote session featured Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, who reported that digital sales are now more than 35% of total revenue for the shopping network. She stated that the four key elements of the new world of retail, that every retailer should implement, include: insights, engagement, generosity and trust. Grossman also recommended that “every retailer should be thinking about gamification.”
- Katherine Bahamonde, EVP of E-commerce at C. Wonder, reported that the specialty retailer sent an email including a special promotion to 60% of mobile shoppers who visited a store. She also mentioned that 67% of customer start in one channel and purchase in another. Also, during a recent store opening in New York City, the retailer invited local social fans to attend and drove them through the city on a bus to drive excitement around the opening.
- Michael Hines, VP of E-commerce Technology, Jones Group, shared tips around delivering the most productive mobile site, including devoting time to assessing performance on a regular basis.
- Kerry Bennett, VP Marketing and Communications for HauteLook talked about how to find success using Facebook and Pinterest. She also addressed five social strategies:
- Social does not exist in a silo;
- Use social tools to encourage what customers already do;
- Customers expect a dialogue;
- Rigorously measure what matters to you; and
- Embrace social testing.
During day-long mobile and social commerce workshops, executives from Dell, Lowe’s, RetailMeNot, Vitamine Shoppe and others talked about different aspects of improving the business of social.
- Brad Walters, Director of Social Media and Emerging Platforms at Lowe’s, shared insights from a recent study that set benchmarks against social media and Facebook advertising. He recommended that merchants limit the number of times consumers are exposed to one ad to no more than six views.
- Karen Hansen, Digital Product Manager for Vitamin Shoppe said the 577+ store retailer found recent success in building a new mobile site and evolving the company’s mobile strategy. Previously, she noted: “Store associates didn’t have confidence in the mobile site… and consumers had usability issues.”
- John Faith, SVP, External Affairs at RetailMeNot asserted that: “Now everything is negotiable because consumers are armed with comparative information from the Internet.” Using location-based alerts, the retailer has driven consumer footfall and incremental transactions.
- Brandon McGee, Director of Global Mobile Operations for Dell said 2013 is all about “globalization” for mobile revenue. The retail division of the technology company has driven high response rates for mobile marketing. Dedicated mobile email campaigns have resulted in downloads, site visits and revenue spikes.
IRCE 2013 Solution Provider Announcements
A number of solution providers released news regarding new products and customers, during IRCE 2013. A selection of those announcements appears below:
- Anametrix Introduces Social Analytics Tool
- AT&T And IBM Partner To Release New E-Commerce Solution
- Disruptor Beam Selects BlueSnap To Power E-Commerce Site
- La Redoute Implements Merchantry E-Commerce Platform
- Monetate Releases LivePredict Tool
- Hanover Direct Moves To Multichannel With NetSuite
- ShopVisible Launches Partner Connect Program
- Thanx Media
Anametrix, a real-time marketing analytics company, has released a new social analytics tool. Anametrix Social Analytics is designed to aggregate data from Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and other social media channels into a unified dashboard. As a result, retail marketers can seamlessly access social data, understand trends and quantify the ROI of specific campaigns and initiatives.
AT&T has announced a new partnership with IBM to offer retailers an e-Commerce solution designed to provide consumers with a consistent shopping experience. The new tool will combine the AT&T cloud, application management and network services with the IBM Smarter Commerce e-Commerce software into a single, subscription-based packaged for retailers, according to an AT&T press release. The collaboration extends the IBM Commerce on Cloud capabilities for online and omnichannel sales to the AT&T Cloud.
Disruptor Beam, an online gaming company, has adopted the BlueSnap e-Commerce and payment processing platform. The solution enables free-to-play and micro transaction-based game developers to release games in new markets through a secure checkout process, while allowing these game developers to monetize their games in emerging markets that do not accept credit cards. In addition, BlueSnap provides in-depth payment reporting which offers developers the capability to track what players are purchasing and when.
La Redoute, a fashion and home eTailer based in France, has launched a new version of its marketplace using the Merchantry e-Commerce platform. With the software-as-a-service offering, La Redoute can increase overall assortment by allowing suppliers to upload and sell products more easily. In addition, Merchantry will enable La Redoute to improve scalability by streamlining the onboarding process for marketplace suppliers and SKUs.
Monetate, a provider of online personalization tools, has released LivePredict, an automated segment discovery solution. The new offering is designed to help retailers identify valuable customer segments. Marketers then can publish tailored and personalized content based on specific data points and attributes.
Hanover Direct, a multichannel retailer with four brands offering a range of bedding, home décor and apparel, has improved multichannel retail experiences since implementing the OneWorld offering from NetSuite, a provider of cloud-based ERP and CRM solutions. Using OneWorld, Hanover Direct has condensed operations into a single, integrated platform. As a result, the retailer has gained real-time visibility into sales orders across channels, as well as inventory management and order fulfillment processes.
Additionally, NetSuite has announced the availability of NetSuite Order Management for Demandware. The OMS solution can tie a Demandware web site to in-store POS capabilities, providing shoppers with a unified buying experience. Additional functionality also help retailers provide a more flexible buying experience, such as buy online-pick up in store, ship to store based on customer’s location, and ship from store.
ShopVisible, an end-to-end, Software-as-a-Service e-Commerce platform business, has launched a new partner program. The Partner Connect Program was developed to enable digital agencies and system integrators to deploy the e-Commerce platform and in turn, generate more revenue. All ShopVisible partners will receive a variety incentives and expanded business opportunities based on how many clients they sign. In addition, ShopVisible now is offering the Order Management System as a stand-alone option to support any e-Commerce web site implementation for retailers and manufacturers.