Highlights from IRCE 2012 Keynotes

Patti RennerThis week saw thousands of online retailers converge at McCormick Place West in Chicago. The massive vendor section held over 500 companies offering technology and services to support online commerce. And the dozens of sessions provided advice and insights that covered the broad range of interests of those attending the show.
Even as the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 continues through the end of the day today, here are just a few highlights and tips from some of my favorite presenters earlier in the week (condensed and paraphrased).

From William Lynch, Jr., CEO of Barnes & Noble

– In order to transform into a “digital brand,” you first must understand who you are and why you exist. Communicate why and where you fit. Recruit new talent. Ignore the pundits and those who doubt your ability and offerings. Focus on your unique strengths. And connect with like-minded businesses for strategic alliances, partnerships and coalitions to expand your success faster.

From Joel Anderson, CEO and President of Walmart.com

– It’s time to blur the line between online and offline retail. Your digital approach must be channel agnostic, with “anytime, anywhere” access to your offerings. Use online tools and social media sites to see what the “chatter” is, using it to add specific trend products to your inventory can better reflect what people are talking about (ex., cake pop molds). Let the customer drive the experience. Make it easy for them to have constant access to you. Be who you are and use your unique assets to your best advantage. If people love something about you, expand on that.

From Dr. Fareed Zakaria, CNN personality, best-selling author, and overall brilliant guy

– The United States should be very optimistic about its future. Within ecommerce and technology here in the US, we have the ability to quickly recover from any instability. This is a new age of technological connectivity and we are only at its very beginning. The Internet, social media and technology are all collapsing the cost of engagement, giving all people broader access to tools for success. Those in more remote countries are now able to engage globally with the ability to contribute to actually share in economic growth (such as parts of Africa and Asia). And America dominates the technology used for this world-wide trend. Innovation is part of our DNA as Americans, and it will help us be the light that shines brightest in a global economy.

From Lauren Freedman of The Etailing Group

– The Internet is like the Grand Bazaar in Istabul, Turkey. The path to purchase online involves greater research. People do not shop online to get the best deal – they shop online because of the convenience of it, so make your site convenient to use. Keep your brand consistent across channels. Include category and product-based information to help people make an educated decision (including reviews). Consider a more comprehensive product page – one that includes information your customer wants to know (or might find interesting) as they come to a decision to buy. Serve them.

Stay tuned! We’ll have more highlights from the show in the weeks ahead.

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  1. […] and attending sessions. (If you’re looking for a brief session recap, check out Patti’s post that highlights this year’s keynotes. And stay tuned for more content from the […]

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