If you know the history of Chicago, you already know that the city proudly holds the title of the first skyscraper in the U.S. Similar to the innovation that took place to bring about one of the most transformative structures of our times, the annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) at the beginning of June, united the best and boldest technology vendors and retailers in the industry, all at the center of one of the founding cities for merchant activity —Chicago.
Whether attendees were looking for the next big technology invention on the show floor or sharing their best practices on the main stage, the conference was a clear indicator that technology continues to permeate into all aspects of the retail industry and that it will continue to evolve.
Here are four interesting takeaways from this year’s show:
- The availability of technology – if you happened to find yourself wandering the show floor during the conference, one thing is for sure, if there was a specific technology you were in search of for your retail business, you were sure to find it as well as an additional buffet of technology offerings to serve your needs. Looking at the retail industry within the past decade, it’s amazing to see how retail technology has continued to advance. This is both a transformative and exciting time to be a retailer, and the caliber of technology solutions on the show floor demonstrated that there is a proper tech solution for all retailers’ needs.
- B2C expectations in the B2B space – One thing our regular consumer lives has taught us is to expect a great customer experience no matter what. To achieve this, many retailers have implemented personalization technologies and techniques and these expectations have inevitably transferred into our business lives. Several workshops during IRCE, such as Zoro.com’s presentation with Kibo, offered key insights into how to overcome B2C challenges in the B2B space. A key lesson from this session was to analyze your B2B customer set across the board and implement key personalization techniques for three main groups; new online prospects, the ready buyer and return customers.
- The Importance of Security – Today’s consumers expect their shopping journey to be one seamless experience, yet secure. We were impressed this year to see an increased and wide variety of security and fraud prevention technologies readily available on the show floor.
- Grocery – The grocery space has undergone one of the biggest transformations of all within the past few years with the rise of grocery delivery services such as Instacart and AmazonFresh. Throughout the show we attended several discussions and outside events focusing on the future of grocery and were pleased to find the grocery space is currently one of the biggest verticals pioneering a mobile-first and omnichannel environment. One of the reoccurring themes throughout our discussions was the continuous blend of the brick-and-mortar store with the digital channel, and the push to continue making the grocery environment an experience-driven process for consumers.
Aside from the rich and delectable deep-dish pizza and the historic architecture found in every corner and crevice of Chicago, IRCE 2017 proved to be the focal point for retailers and vendors to share insights on the latest and greatest technology trends happening in the world of eCommerce. We are excited to see what the future holds for eComm and can’t wait to see what IRCE 2018 brings!