Who and Why
Now into its second decade at the forefront of multichannel, our 11th Annual Conference explores ‘New Horizons’ to look at how multichannel retail must strive for both excellence in today’s priorities, and also embrace the ‘new’.
There’s an irony in the fact that ecommerce professionals – for over a decade at the vanguard of innovation and radical change – are themselves now having to adapt and change. This is of course a function of the success of ecommerce at the heart of multichannel retail. As digital sales increased, then mobile, we reached a point at which ecommerce was no longer a channel, but an equal partner with stores. Enter, therefore, a new learning phase of integrated multichannel that we’ve covered in previous conferences. For 2016 however we’re looking to new horizons that the modern digitally-enabled retailer can scan as we seek to satisfy the demands of the connected, savvy customer.
As usual, the approach at IRC is to reflect the board-level conversation in multichannel retail, and work across silos and role-types to understand how we connect commercially with the connected customer. Our appreciation of ‘RetailCraft’ – the way business is conducted pragmatically, at scale, at profit – underpins the selection of speakers and topics. Our unashamed focus on the UK and European Top500 multichannel retailers (as researched by InternetRetailing) draws both speakers and delegates from the leading companies and the interactive and networking-rich formats offering the usual excellent opportunities to mix with and learn from peers.
We open our conference with some ‘horizon scanning’ to look at the new pressures that provide an existential challenge to traditional retail. Marketplaces are traffic-magnets, drawing our customers’ attention and spending; brands selling direct mean that our prized stock-in-trade suppliers become our new competitors for the customer’s attention and trust; the ongoing pressue on margins mean that we need to plan for a zero-margin space between production costs and selling space… taken together, the landscape has changed and we need to review our direction of travel and goals.
Recognising that retailers are always ready to take the fight to the enemy, our three parallel conference streams anticipate the response to the new pressures: engage, grow and transform! Our speakers this year are drawn from our previous speaker Faculty, as well as leaders who’ve been in commercial leadership roles for the whole of our existence, and whose insights and experiences can speak with that “New horizons” perspective.
In the Engage track we will consider the techniques to increase you customer contact, influence and impact. From mobile to social, online and in store we will examine customer preferences and behaviours and craft approaches that bind us closely to our best customers – depriving our competitors of the oxygen to compete.
Our Grow track will look at retailers who are on the front foot in international commerce, as well as those actively appropriating marketplaces to generate new sales. This track focuses upon inventive collaborations, partnership and techniques to increase our presence in our customers’ minds and spending habits.
The Transform track will look at those retailers who’ve taken adaptation and flexibility to an extreme and have fundamentally changed the way they conceive of themselves as retailers, as well as how they operate. We will hear from leading retailers how they’ve harnessed available tools or created new ones to fit their organisation and capabilities ready to win over the hearts and minds of customers who are spoiled for choice.
In exploring our theme, our sessions will be:
- Practitioner-led: we hear from those professionals who have led and delivered significant projects for globally-renowned retailers, brands and services
- Case-study based: our speakers will focus upon what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and assess the results
- Research-led: the agenda, case studies, comparators and evaluations will be referenced to the researched performance and capabilities of the Top500.