Focus on Customer, Innovation & Growth (IRCE 2015)

| By: Sasha Butkovich

The annual IRCE conference, held this year at the McCormick Place in Chicago, is always a great event for networking and thought leadership. IRCE 2015 didn’t disappoint. More than 10,000 industry insiders took to the buzzing Exhibit Hall filled with vendors (and giveaways!) as well as the informative sessions and keynote presentations. Conference attendees took home plenty of insights on strategy, solutions, and innovation for their businesses.

The Exhibit Hall was packed with excitement, featuring drawings, giveaways, food, games, and more! In the sessions and keynotes however, it was the thought leadership that had everyone talking. Many speakers focused their attention on the customer, which was the topic of the keynote address from Alexis Ohanian, founder and co-chair of Reddit. He pointed out that brands that aren’t consumer-centric will have trouble succeeding.

“Conversations on the Internet can spread really quickly, and brands that are prepared to be authentic can see a real difference from that,” Ohanian said. “And brands really have no choice because authenticity is the only thing that will work in the future.”

The keynote from Target.com President Jason Goldberger also emphasized the importance of being “customer obessed.” This was a lesson his company learned the hard way, after Target’s Lilly Pulitzer launch turned out disastrous when they failed to anticipate the huge impact of mobile shoppers during the release. Goldberger has turned this lesson into a “Say Yes” mentality, giving the customers what they want—even if it may hurt the bottom line.

Giving the customer what they want often means being willing to innovate and change. Innovation proved to be another key theme at IRCE, which was very evident in the keynote from James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. McQuivey said now that everyone jumps on board with new things, the days of early adopters are over. In this era of “hyperadoption,” as he calls it, consumers are beginning to embrace technologies that will provide retailers with an enormous amount of data—and they’re going to need a way to manage and use it. It’s imperative that retailers start to better utilize the data they already have, and prepare for a new level of connectedness with customers.

This emphasis on the customer, the importance of mobile and emerging technologies, and the push to innovate, were all echoed throughout many of the other sessions and speakers. For some additional impressions and takeaways directly from attendees, check out our social media overview below.

Were you at IRCE 2015? Share your thoughts in the comments and let us know what stood out to you from this year’s event.

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Overheard at #IRCE15:

“Change is not a choice. It’s about survival.”                     —Christopher McCann, President, 1-800-Flowers (Heard at his Keynote Address “Always Innovating: How an Ecommerce Industry Leader Stays on Top)

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Instagrams from #IRCE15:

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“Spending the day at #mccormickplace in Chicago for #IRCE15 learning all about internet retailer trends!” -@carisadeegan

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“Here’s @ustrendy founder Sam Sisakhti addressing the crowd during a session at the Small Retailers track at #IRCE15” -@internetretailer

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“Brilliant keynote. #IRCE15 #reddit” -@melissafleck

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“#ETTNPDP #IRCE15 Stop being channel obsessed, become Guest centric. Digital sales create more sales for in-store purchases. #Target.com President” -@bryancharrison

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Top Tweets from #IRCE15:

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Sasha Butkovich is Marketing Copywriter at Corra, a New York and Los Angeles based digital agency creating unified commerce experiences for fashion, lifestyle and beauty. With a team of 100+ ecommerce strategy, design and technology professionals, Corra delivers rich shopping and buying experiences across all channels and devices. Corra is trusted by retailers of all sizes to implement and support Magento Enterprise, Demandware and hybris platforms.

Corra is a digital agency creating transformative commerce experiences for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. With headquarters in New York, Los Angeles and London, Corra provides strategically led creative and technology solutions to a growing global market.