I attended my 6th IRCE in 2016 and I’m constantly reminded that not much has changed in terms of building a booth in the expo hall. Luckily over the past few years, I’ve gotten to stretch my legs and do a bit of walking to learn more about who’s exhibiting and speaking at the world’s largest eCommerce conference. Getting the opportunity to be both the feet on the street and a butt in a conference session seat, I see a lot of different perspectives when it comes to general themes overheard during the week. Here are a few that stuck out to me.
Is Omnichannel Hot or Not?
Kicking off the eCommerce Technology Workshops was a boldly titled session led by John Minardi of CVS Health and Daniel Moure of PureFormulas.com, Out with Omnichannel, In with Personalization and Customer Centricity. While they weren’t discounting the importance of hitting your customers on many different channels, their big question was: what do you do with them once you get them to your site? Their suggestion? Maximize your customer engagement by building strong, trusted relationships with real-time personalization. Start to shift your focus from acquisition to retention. Use those ideas to keep your customers on your site no matter what channel they’ve come to you from.
While the first session was highly questioning omnichannel, there were two more sessions later in the conference that were still focusing on it. This goes to prove that while that shift of focus is important, you must find an equal balance of the two.
B2B eCommerce is Happening
It’s true! The B2B track was happening this year, as was the number of B2B marketing professionals we saw come by the Windsor Circle booth. They’re out there ready to learn more about selling their B2B products online and they’re getting up to speed with their B2C counterparts.
Ed Stevens of Kibo and Jeff Michaels of Group Publishing shared that 74% of B2B buyers find it more convenient to buy from a website vs. a sales rep, and 93% prefer to buy online when they have decided what to buy. It makes complete sense that B2B retailers are shifting their business to sell online. However, they’ve got to keep up with their buyers’ expectations and that’s delivering an experience similar to what they’d expect when buying consumer goods.
Check out Windsor Circle’s case study, Business in the Front, to learn how three consumable industry B2B online retailers are using predictive data to increase their customer retention.
Personal Experience & Clear Tactics Are King
Conference attendees can listen to speakers until they are blue in the face, but if they don’t hear some real-life wins and losses or can jot down some clear takeaways, they’re just left with a bunch of ideas without a clear place to start.
I was pleased to see a number of sessions that provided real-life examples that catered to retailers of all sizes, plus some tactics that could be easily taken back to the office.
Mark Ginsberg of Beyond Stores and Andrew Scarbrough of PriceWaiter.com shared 33 tactics to engage and retain more customers during their presentation. Among those were:
- Turning mentions into links
- Using seller ratings
- Reviewing your on-site search terms
- Using your social presence for proof you make shoppers happy
- Using advanced segments
Between manning our IRCE Castle, walking the show floor, and checking out as many sessions as I could, I realized this IRCE was one for the books. Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!