More than ten thousand people will attend the IRCE conference in Chicago next month and will discuss myriad topics. We expect there to be a lot of buzz around retail’s digital transformation at the show, so we asked our team internally what digital topics they thought would be popular at this year’s IRCE. Here are the four that our team felt would be most prominent in the IRCE 2015 discussions on the changing digital retail landscape:
“Mobile will be the belle of the IRCE ball.”
Mobile as an experience and a revenue channel is a medium that is evolving at a record pace. More time is spent by consumers searching, viewing and shopping from mobile devices every day. In fact, TechCrunch reported that “mobile apps, including the number 1 most popular app Facebook, eat up more of our time than desktop usage or mobile web surfing, accounting for 52% of the time spent using digital media.”
Questions we expect to hear at IRCE on this topic include: What does your mobile experience look like? What are you doing to ensure a positive mobile customer experience? How quickly and easily can you update and monetize it? Are you able to keep pace with market expectations and mobile volume?
The show already has an entire workshop dedicated to mobile topics — like apps, advertising, and responsive design — and we expect it to be prominent in many keynote discussions as well.
Zmags Creator client New York & Company (NY&C), manufacturer and retailer of women’s fashion apparel and accessories, currently pegs its mobile traffic at 67 percent of its weekly site visits with 54 percent of this coming from smartphones rather than larger-screened tablets. Publishing new content and campaigns across channels and speeding time-to-market are vital to reaching a growing mobile audience.
Enticing Shoppers with Merchandising
“Show me the money! Monetizing and merchandizing techniques will be a top focus at IRCE this year.”
A recent study from Microsoft found that people’s attention spans have dwindled down to just eight seconds, from 12 seconds in 2000. To put this in perspective, the average goldfish holds attention for nine seconds. People are clearly more distracted than ever before, and with a wealth of product and content options to choose from, merchandising is a critical factor influencing retailer success today. There is no doubt merchandising will be an important topic in IRCE’s Amazon workshop which examines ways that companies stand out from the pack despite Amazon’s strict merchandising guidelines. But we also expect a close examination of promotion and merchandising techniques across a variety of digital and in-store channels to happen in many of the top retailer presentations at IRCE as well.
SEO: The Shape Shifter
“It may not be ‘cool’ but SEO will be a hot topic at IRCE. If people can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.”
Savvy retailers know that it is not just about the look, feel and functionality of your digital experiences but also about the ability for consumers to FIND those experiences. Search algorithms can be modified, competition can alter results, and current events as well as popular trends cause valuable terms to change.
Retailers constantly struggle to keep up with this shape shifting but vital component of e-commerce which is why IRCE is dedicating an entire day to it as a pre-show workshop this year. In our Creator platform, we enable all the experiences that are published through it to be SEO enabled because of the importance that discovery has in our world of abundant consumer options. SEO may not be sexy but it is a ‘must have’ foundational element in any marketer toolkit.
The Need for Speed
“IRCE will be all about marketing agility. Fast updates, responsive service, speeding the path to purchase.”
The digital commerce market is fiercely competitive, and a marketer’s response time, ability to make website updates and quickly connect along the consumer journey will determine their success and greatly impact their revenue stream.
At Zmags, we explored this ‘need for speed’ in our recent infographic on instant digital gratification. For example, 55 percent of Web pages get less than 15 seconds of attention, and 41 percent of consumers feel overwhelmed by the wealth of choice on the Web, which makes it hard for them to make purchase decisions. Bringing beautiful, engaging and transactional Web experiences to consumers has never been more important.
You can expect this same speed theme to permeate all discussions at IRCE. Marketers have never had more to do and more technology requirements to execute on their strategies. They are desperately searching for products and services to make their jobs easier and help them meet their customers’ needs faster. Let’s hope IRCE offers retailers and marketers the insights they need to achieve these goals and pave a path for omni-channel success.
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