A meeting of the biggest players in online retail is happening in Chicago this week at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition. With Internet Retailer anticipating attendance of nearly 10,000 people, IRCE Chicago represents a great opportunity to learn, network with others, discuss upcoming trends and promote your brand.
The IRCE conference has exhibited significant growth over the past few years, in large part due to the quality of the experience and the value it brings to attendees, so people going to the event may want to plan out their time at the event to make the most of the experience. Given the sheer size of conference and the number of panels and booths, it is impossible to see everything, so here are a few tips for maximizing the experience over the three days of the show:
Know which panels are happening and when
On the days before and after the conference there are a number of workshops people can attend, covering a wide breadth of topics from selling on Amazon to utilizing mobile channels to engage prospective shoppers. During the actual conference, there are a variety of more general sessions for attendees to check out, broaching topics from brand building to order fulfillment. While we’d all love to go to every single event, the fact of the matter is we can’t be everywhere at once – how great would it be if we could!
This means attendees will have to hit the workshops and sessions with the most relevance to their business. You may want to consider attending sessions that will help you expand the knowledge you already have, or maybe you want to attend workshops that will teach you something new. Retailers are known for their ability to adapt and make decisions on the fly, but this is definitely one time you’re going to want to plan things in advance.
One pre-show workshop session that may be worth checking out is the “Amazon & Me: Seize the Perks; Sidestep the Pitfalls” track on Tuesday, June 2. A growing number of online merchants are capitalizing on the sales happening on marketplaces such as Amazon, and this is the perfect workshop for learning how to take advantage of Amazon. Everything from order fulfillment to merchandising to managing reputation and branding on the channel will be discussed. The workshop should be a great primer for those just getting started on Amazon, while also providing a lot of insight to existing sellers as well.
Conferences bring together some of the most influential minds in that respective industry, and IRCE Chicago is no different. Some of the major figures in attendance include Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez, Target.com and mobile president Jason Goldberger and Unilever Canada digital eCommerce head Jessica Armstrong. Of course, those are just the high-profile speakers – there will be plenty of other industry influencers attending and manning the booths as well.
If retailers want to get the most out of their IRCE Chicago experience, it starts by taking the first step and getting social. This could mean attending lunch meetings or after-hour events. Ask questions at panels. Talk with people at booths. Send emails to associates and partners to see if they are attending or simply pass on informative nuggets picked up at the event. Get on twitter and start connecting with people using the official #IRCE2015 hashtag.
Check out the booths
While the panels and guest speakers are the primary draw for many attendees, you should devote at least a little time to wandering the exhibit hall and checking out some booths. You may wind up seeing a demo for a product or service you had never heard of before, or make some connections that will benefit your business in the future. There are some great booths at the event, so be sure to leave some open slots in your schedule for checking out the exhibit hall. Of course, chances are you’ll also walk away with some promotional knick-knacks and gifts as well, and who doesn’t like free schwag?
Be sure to check out some of SalesWarp’s partners’ booths like Eyemagine in booth 761 and SearchSpring in booth 1921 And if you’re looking to beat the heat and cool down from a long day of attending panels and mingling with other people in the retail industry, swing by the SalesWarp booth. We’ll be located at Booth No. 319 and we’ll be handing out free smoothies to people dropping by. Hope to see you there, and more importantly, hope you make the most out of your trip to IRCE Chicago 2015!