2018 IRCE Roundup

This year’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE 2018) in Chicago did not disappoint! We enjoyed awesome speakers, informative sessions, fun networking opportunities, and ate a ton of fresh popcorn at our booth.

2018 IRCE Roundup

The four-day conference featured two days of workshops and two days of general sessions, with an all-star cast of keynote speakers: Warby-Parker, Seth Godin, Houzz.com, and Eloquii. We had a great session in the B2B workshop on Friday speaking with our client Mud Pie, A Wholesaler’s Winning Formula for Year-After-Year E-commerce Growth. (Did you miss our B2B workshop session? Get our slides and the persona worksheet here.)

The exhibit halls and session hallways were a beehive of buzzwords: Amazon, augmented reality, personalization, merchandising, and more were on the tips of everyone’s tongues. As a full-service digital agency with a growing SAAS product suite, we were in our element. (Pictured in our booth, recreating a “stock photo”.)

"stock image"

Though we’d love to shout out to all the awesome speakers, there were too many memorable moments to name. Instead, we’ve selected a few of our favorite stand-out sessions.

The Future of Retail

It’s no surprise that the release of Walker Sands Communications’ Future of Retail 2018 Report made our greatest hits list. Big idea sessions are always fun, but nothing beats cold, hard metrics, and the Future of Retail report dove deep into evolving consumer preferences, channel changes, and other retail insights.

A few highlights:

Often thought of as auxiliary, shipping speed and costs are a growing motivator for consumers, with 79% of consumers report free shipping is important and 40% say next-day shipping would make them more likely to shop online. See what else they found here:

Likely to Shop Online

Amazon’s popularity continues (no surprise there). Walker Sands found that 42% of consumers receive 1-2 packages from Amazon per week, with younger consumers (ages 26-35) skewing even higher at 57% receiving 1-2 packages from Amazon per week.

The threat and opportunity of Amazon was a huge theme of IRCE this year, with multiple sessions focused on the e-commerce giant.

Speaker: Erin Jordan, Lead, Retail Technology Practice, Walker Sands Communications


On a similar theme, Internet Retailers’ Research arm delivered a data-driven session in: Marketplaces in 2018 and What’s Coming in 2019. This session covered the growth and evolution of established third-party marketplaces, like Amazon and Ebay, and emerging marketplaces like Walmart, Houzz, and WISH.

Marketplace sales account for 50% of global online retail sales. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s happening on U.S. marketplaces:

US Marketplaces

Established retailers are taking a can’t beat ‘em, join em’ mentality when it comes to marketplaces. Instead of viewing marketplaces as competitors to avoid, they deserve a prominent place in every e-commerce brand’s marketing strategy. Below, see where the Top 1000 Online Retailers are selling. The high-profile brands that joined Amazon may surprise you.

Where Top Online Retailers Sell

Merchants that joined Amazon

Speaker: Fareeha Ali, Director, Research Strategy, Internet Retailer.

Omni Channel Team Building

We also joined Ready Set Rocket and Nuts.com to talk about team collaboration in: Building Omnichannel Teams, Technology and Goals. Their session covered how omni channel customers require individualized messaging and marketing tactics based on their funnel stage. To effectively reach them, marketing teams need to be responsive and build flexible cross-functional teams. This slide offers a framework to think through your customers’ funnel stages, tactics, formats, KPIs, and more.

Integrated World

Alex Lirtsman, Co-Founder, Chief Strategist, Ready Set Rocket;
Matt Butlein, Chief Vision Officer, Nuts.com

Shoppable Content

One guilty pleasure session was Rue La La’s: See Now Buy Now — Shoppable Content. I say guilty pleasure solely because of the iconic fashion and accessories brands highlighted throughout, but I’d be hard pressed to find a brand marrying custom content and unforgettable brand stories better than Rue La La.

It’s not all fun and games either – 23% of the 27 million messages sent over social media each day is branded content. By partnering with big brands, TV networks, and more, Rue La La demonstrated how to seamlessly weave content and commerce, without losing your brand voice.

Speaker: Craig Kapilow, Senior Director, Integrated Marketing, Rue La La

Rose All Day

That’s a Wrap

We’re already looking forward to next year’s RetailX conference. You’ll find us in the exhibit hall!

In the meantime, if you’re looking to optimize your digital strategy or need help with execution, please reach out to hear from one of our marketing and development experts or get a free demo of our timesaving SAAS products.