It’s less than a month until one of the biggest marketing and retail conferences kicks off in Chicago. This year, the conference will take on a new form as it combines with GlobalShop and RFID Journal LIVE! Retail to form the colocation event Retail X.
Once again, we’ll be back to deliver the facts on eCommerce hosting and performance, with two booths in the exhibit hall and one of the most exclusive after parties to take place during IRCE 2019.
Whether it’s your first time or you’ve attended IRCE for years, we’ve put together this article to help you know what to expect. Keep reading to see what IRCE is, when it takes place, what you can expect, and eight sessions we think you should attend.
What and When Is IRCE?
IRCE is short for the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. This year, the event will take place on June 25th – 28th at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Whereas in past years IRCE was a standalone event, this year it will be colocating with GlobalShop and RFID Journal LIVE! Retail under the combined banner of RetailX.
This will open the conference up to more than just eCommerce and marketing talks. Expect conversations this year to revolve around omnichannel business, integrating eCommerce and marketing technologies, and understanding the finer points of ROI reporting in an age where attribution continues to elude many.
— Hostdedi (@nexcess) May 31, 2019
With over 1,200 exhibitors and countless sessions dedicated to commerce, the over 20,000 attendees predicted to show are going to need to make some tough choices when it comes to deciding what they do at the conference. Keep reading for a handful of suggestions.
Why Attend IRCE?
IRCE is an annual meeting of the biggest and best in eCommerce. This year, the conference expects to see over 20,000 attendees from all around the world walk through the McCormick convention center during the four day event.
Besides the great networking opportunities available, the four days also provide a chance to learn. A huge number of sessions have been scheduled, with a full list available here.
In addition, some big names in eCommerce will be delivering insights into their retail experiences, and advice on how you can improve yours. Some of the major keynote speakers this year include retail prophet Doug Stephens, Chip Conley of AirBNB, and Susan Tynan of Framebridge.
IRCE 2019 Rooftop After Party
We’ll be running one of the most exclusive after parties during IRCE: The NexcessLive Rooftop Party.
Midwest culinary legend chef Nolan Narut will join world-renowned DJ Madrid to help IRCE attendees party through the night in style. All while 22 stories up and overlooking Chicago’s famous skyline.
Join us during #IRCE19 for the exclusive #NexcessLive Rooftop Party and network with other #eCommerce professionals.
Sign up: https://t.co/DEQbRm24a6
Don’t forget: Visit booth #534 or #173 for your VIP Access Wristband. pic.twitter.com/Xea6RNzAO0
— Hostdedi (@nexcess) June 1, 2019
Join other eCommerce professionals for free drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and some of the best networking opportunities of the week.
Get your tickets now before they all run out! Visit nexc.es/irce19 to register.
What to Know Before You Go
As with any conference, there is always a list of best practices for getting the most out of the four day event.
The first of these is that it’s vital to plan what sessions you want to prioritize.
Take a look at the agenda before you go to see if there are any speakers or talks that really stand out. Try to identify any areas you want to improve in and place those at the top of your list. IRCE is one of the best events for learning about changes in the online retail space. By prioritizing, you’ll guarantee walking away with a list of actionable points to integrate into your store.
The Exhibit Hall
The second area you need to pay attention to is the exhibit hall. With over 700 vendors this year, there will be no shortage of interesting proposals. Try to break up your time in the exhibit hall as much as possible. While it’s a great chance to talk to vendors and understand new technologies, it’s important to balance vendor discussions with the other opportunities at IRCE.
Don’t forget, Hostdedi will be on the show floor at two booth locations. If you’re interested in understanding how the right eCommerce technology foundation can lead to net growth in performance, scalability, and more, speak to a member of our team at either booth #534 or #173.
Finally, the party doesn’t stop once the exhibition hall is closed down. Many of the sponsors will run parties and events during the evening. Take the chance to go and have some fun in Chicago, while also meeting and networking with other professionals from your industry.
Keep an eye on social media or your inbox for invites from multiple vendors. We’ve already issued our first email invite and will continue to offer invites through our social media channels.
8 Sessions You Should Definitely Attend at IRCE 2019
The choice of sessions is incredible this year. To help you out, we’ve chosen 8 sessions we think you should try to attend.
Usability: Keeping Shoppers on the Road to Checkout, Step by Step
Tuesday 10:00am, Room S102A-D
Conversations surrounding eCommerce for the past several years have often touched on the customer journey and keeping it going. In this session, Salesforce UX researcher, Scott Kincaid, will team up with Jason McClintlock, the President of Desert Steel, to talk about how to find and fix roadblocks in that journey.
Before attending, read up on how important the customer journey currently is, and see how much you’re already doing to maximize the distance your customers will travel.
The Marketing Stack: Demystify the Array of Solutions to Build and Optimize
Tuesday 10:00am Room S100BC
What marketing technology do you use? Are you sure that you’ve picked the right solutions? That’s what Marta Dalton, the Global Director of eCommerce at Unilever, will ask in this session.
Not only will she ask these questions, she’ll also be providing marketers with the tools and metrics they need to evaluate the marketing stack they’re already running. With over 7,000 marketing solutions available, this session should help everyone in attendance to optimize their stack at least a little.
Before attending, we recommend you review you own marketing solutions. What do you use for email, landing pages, form building, content management, etc? Come with a good idea of why you’ve chosen those solutions and see if Marta can’t change your mind.
Selling B2B or B2C: What B2B and Brands Must Get Right on Technology
Tuesday 11:50am Room S100BC
In this session, Mike Earl, the senior director of Timbuk2, and Lucas Robinson, the CEO of Weblife Stores, will come together to present the pros and cons of technology considerations. With a special focus on B2B and B2C, this talk should provide a number of actionable insights for merchants and developers alike.
Before listening to Mike and Lucas talk, read up on Timbuk2’s history and how they overcame some of the struggles of eCommerce success. This goes into more than just technology considerations and answers questions on building brand loyalty and virality. A good pre-IRCE listen.
Making Sense of Email Marketing Today
Tuesday 3:00pm Room S102A-D
If there is one thing that marketers still struggle with, it’s email marketing. We were recently at a show in which a speaker told the audience that he had sent email blasts with click through rates upward of 90%. They gasped.
In this session, Cindy white, the Senior E-Commerce Marketing Manager at Plow & Hearth, will talk about how to close gaps and cut through the noise to find the right tools and strategies to improve your email marketing.
Before attending, check out this article for some background insight into the Plow & Hearth email marketing strategy.
What You Need to Know About Behavioral Metrics
Tuesday 3:30pm Room S102A-D
Behavioral metrics refer to data that allow for merchants and businesses to track the user experience of their customers. This data indicates where customers visit, how the interact, and the best ways to improve conversion rate, traffic, and ROI.
In this session, Ashlee Colliver from Classy Llama, and Brittany Graham from Tombow will discuss how you can leverage this data for your own store, to match the latest in Google and Facebook algorithm shifts. The actionable strategies and information you’ll find here should be enough to help you identify and improve on almost all areas of your marketing that involve engagement.
Before attending, we recommend you read up on some of the main metrics you could (or should) be following. Semrush offer a good summary.
The Future of Retail is More Than Retail
Wednesday 10:30am Room S103A-D
Yes, another future talk, predicting where eCommerce is going. A pretty ingenious way to kick off the second day is to have a good understanding of some of the key research and results that have been published already this year.
And that’s exactly what this session from Erin Jordan, VP & Partner at Walker Sands Communications, is all about. Get yourself ready for the day ahead with a look at Walker Sands Future of Retail report and see what direction they are recommending eCommerce retailers go in.
Before this session, play catch up by seeing what Walker Sands predicted last year, and see how much you think your experience has lined up.
Rules of the Road for Working with Influencers
Wednesday 1:00pm Room S100A
Influencers have become a mainstay of retail marketing. They offer brands the chance to connect and build trust with their customers through multiple channels. However, over the last few years, regulations have been tightening, with the list of things influencers can and can’t do shrinking quickly.
In this session, Joe Gagliese of Viral Nation and Taylor Offer of Feat Socks will walk through best practices for finding, negotiating with, and managing influencers for your brand. Also learn how to measure ROI from influencer efforts, and see if it’s something that’s really helping your brand to grow.
The Supply Chain Tactics That Push Retailers to the Top
Wednesday 4:15pm Room S102A-D
It’s not all about marketing. It’s important to also focus on the user experience with regards to logistics.
In this session, George Lawrie from Forrester Research will explore some of the top retailers and how they have used unrivalled supply chain tactics to push their business to the top. Whether you’re a brand selling in B2C or B2B, this session should give you some valuable insights into how to get the most out of your supply chain.