It’s almost time for the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, AKA IRCE — the massive ecommerce conference with the largest expo hall in the industry. IRCE 2018 takes place from June 5 to 8 at McCormick Place West in Chicago and, with an agenda put together by the experts at Internet Retailer magazine, it’s a can’t-miss event for everyone in ecommerce.
But, with more than 130 sessions and more than 600 technology vendors, it can be difficult to pick out what you should see, what topics and trends will be most valuable to your ecommerce brand, and where you should focus.
That’s why we’ve picked out the IRCE sessions that are must-sees for any B2C marketer, whether you’re focused on merchandising, marketplaces, omnichannel, design, or search. Here are the sessions you absolutely have to attend at IRCE 2018.
Tuesday: June 05
1. What’s Next: Social
3:30 PM – 3:50 PM
Elizabeth Schmidt, Director, Digital Marketing, Bucketfeet/Threadless
In this session, you can learn about the latest developments in social commerce, the technologies that underpin these advancements, and how you best take advantage of this to help improve your customer retention strategies, and expand your business.
Wednesday: June 06
2. Break Point: The Reality of US Ecommerce Today
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Don Davis, Editor at Large, Internet Retailer
In 2017, the Top 1000 online retailers in North America collectively increased online sales by 18.5%, and ecommerce accounted for 49% of retail industry growth. This data seems to suggest that ecommerce retailers are prospering, but the future for brick and mortar stores is bleak. However, this session will explore how online retailers are often top heavy, and the challenges they face as they try to operate as a sustainable, profitable retail enterprise.
3. Is it More than Buzz? What Can AI Really Do for My Business?
1:15 PM – 1:45 PM
Guido Campello, Chief Executive Officer, Cosabella
Vish Ganapathy, Managing Director and Global Retail Technology Lead, Accenture
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been the buzzwords for many marketers for a few years now, but the deployment of these exciting technologies at online retailers has been limited so far. This session will look at whether AI can solve real, everyday business issues, as well as provide an insight into the future of AI, with examples of current artificial intelligence business and customer-facing apps.
4. How to Stay on Top of Operations when Selling Everywhere
1:45 PM – 2:15 PM
Derek O’Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, Brightpearl
Scott Palmer, Chief Operating Officer, Spikeball Inc.
As you sell on multiple channels, you have to keep a close eye on inventory and fulfillment along. Learn how to use the right systems to scale up shipping, get real-time visibility into your inventory, and do more with less effort. Learn how sports manufacturer Spikeball fulfills orders in just 24 hours with a specific and powerful tech stack.
5. Connecting with the Z Generation
4:15 PM – 4:45 PM
Rachel Tipograph, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, MikMak.tv
Tiffany Zhong, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, ZebraIQ
To succeed as an ecommerce business, you need to understand the spending habits of Gen Z — the generation after the Millennials — and how they respond to marketing messages. This may include visual, image-based messaging and mobile video that take advantage of always-on shoppers’ short attention spans and get to the point quickly. This session will discuss how to best market to Gen Z, as well as examples of ecommerce companies that have got it right.
Thursday: June 07
6. Hit Your Target with Smart Social Ad Campaigns
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Kate Keenan, Director of Digital Marketing and Analytics, Erin Condren
Michael Mothner, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Wpromote
Advertising on social media is a must, but which channel should you choose and how should you format these posts? This session will dive into understanding how to develop highly targeted Facebook and Instagram campaigns using different ad formats, including Snapchat filters and lens ads. Attendees will also learn how getting this messaging right can attract new customers and recapture the attention of existing customers.
7. Marketplaces in 2018 and What’s Coming in 2019
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Fareeha Ali, Director, Research Strategy, Internet Retailer
Your customers are on Amazon. Google has partnered with Walmart. 97% of U.S. consumers are using online marketplaces. You can’t afford to ignore the power of marketplaces and need to stay on top of the latest developments to beat the competition. This session will preview Internet Retailer’s “Online Marketplaces” report on emerging opportunities in marketplaces that go beyond sales to include customer acquisition.
8. Go Native: Maximize the Potential of a Consumer-Generated Content Landslide
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Dan Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder, Sharethrough
Michael Fields, Digital & Social Strategy Lead, Columbia Sportswear
This session will talk about the origins, reach, and success of the high-profile native content initiatives, including a consumer-generated content initiative run by Columbia. It will also explain how native content can gain new customers, guide consumers through the shopping journey, and engage consumers even when they are not actively shopping.
9. Building Brand Credibility
3:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Lory Day, Owner, Waitstuff.com
Raphi Mahgerefteh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Allurez.com
As a new ecommerce brand that is not very well known, it can be difficult to convince consumers to make their first purchase with you. In this session, you can learn how to build credibility with customers through marketing and branding initiatives, as well as on-site merchandising and customer service techniques.
10. Personalization 2.0: Making the Move to Individualization
4:15 PM – 4:45 PM
Brendan Witcher, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
The emphasis in the last couple of years has been on providing a personalized and tailored customer experience, harnessing the power of customer data, and improving analytics and business intelligence capabilities. Now personalization is giving way to individualization, which involves structuring interaction, functionality, and content around the real-time needs of individual customers. This session will provide insights into how ecommerce brands can move to individualization, as well as provide examples of customers that are already doing it well.
This list is only a snapshot of the many valuable sessions at IRCE 2018, but we hope it’ll help to provide a useful first step in helping you create an agenda. Hopefully, you won’t have to panic on the plane on the way to the event because you already know exactly what session to attend.