IRCE 2017 – I’m Back
In a couple of weeks I’m heading off to Chicago to attend the Internet Retail Conference and Expo, or IRCE. I’ve attended this conference twice in 2014 and 2015. It is the only one of two conferences that I think are worth attending. I feel like you get a lot of bang for your buck at this event. It’s a great conference for retailers to attend for several reasons.
A big part of this conference are sessions where they have speakers or a panel of speakers talk about a wide variety of subjects. Generally they have “tracks” broken out that follow a theme throughout the conference. It could be about online marketing, social media marketing, logistics, and just about anything else you could think of when it comes to retail. There are some important people who come to this conference to talk about their experiences. Head of departments in Amazon, Google, and other premier high end brands are commonly found speaking at sessions
While it may seem impossible to keep track of sessions, the IRCE folk have this very handy app that all conference attendees should definitely download. It allows everyone to see the schedule and what the speakers will be talking about. If there are any changes to the schedule, the app immediately gets updated. You can also create your own personal itinerary so you don’t miss important sessions.
The other big part of this conference is the Expo and let me tell you it is something else. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of vendors out there offering a range of services. Marketing. Affiliate marketing. Email marketing. Shipping. Website design. Warehouse management. I even chatted up the Canadian Post Office there once. There is also some incredible SWAG there also. Any good vendor has a good sweepstake going and those are the booths I tend to hit up first. You can get a good yearly supply of notebooks, pens, and gadgets if you know who to hit up and how to hit them up. I love sweepstakes, so I’m easily drawn in.
Some booths also have magicians, which is where I met my good friend Sebastian Hunt in 2014. The chance encounter has developed into a very fun transatlantic twitter friend. I’ve crossed paths with him again at various eTail conferences also.
Side note: Are you a vendor and want INCREASED foot traffic? You should hire this guy immediately.
The app, as I’ve mentioned above, is a key part to this conference. It is one of the most powerful apps I’ve seen at a conference. In fact, last year when I was unable to go and was unemployed, I was going to still download the app and “break in” and post for fun. I’m surprisingly good at figuring out passwords. However, I figured that would be frowned upon so I just made some twitter videos for vendors who were my pals.
This app is great for not only learning about sessions, but it is fantastic for networking. You can communicate with others, message people, comment on other people’s posts, post pictures, & learn about after parties. I have to say, if you don’t download this app you are missing out on A LOT.
If you attend this conference, you’ll see me on there and on other people’s feeds. I like to take pictures with people and people like to do selfie’s with me. What can I say, I am a people person.
In closing, I am looking forward to this conference and hope to make some new contacts. I am now assisting with marketing in the Urgent Care Industry, so it will be a bit tougher to find vendors and sessions that apply. However, I feel like Urgent Care could benefit greatly from the tactics and services that retail businesses use. I hope to bring some back and apply them here.