Preview of IRX & eDX 2023 – Day 1 Highlights

Retailers are facing myriad challenges including the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, sustainability, and handling the increased complexity that comes with operating across multiple channels, which requires difficult decision-making around the adoption of technology solutions and managing the supply chain.

Against this backdrop the forthcoming IRX & eDX exhibition and conference at the NEC in Birmingham on May 24 & 25 should provide some help, inspiration, and thought leadership to retailers looking to navigate their way through the challenges ahead and develop roadmaps for the future.

The agenda across the two days is rich with high-level speakers covering a variety of topics that address issues of concern for retailers running across four theatres that focus on Digital Marketing, Omni-channel Innovation, Delivery & Returns and Customer Experience.

Among the speakers and topics of interest to Retail Insider are those centred on the customer. A keynote from GymShark under the theme ‘Understand the customer, understand the world’ clearly reflects the importance of the shopper to this business and will be delivered by Carly O’Brien, chief marketing officer of GymShark.

If ever there was a business built on knowing the customer it is this fitness clothing brand that has to date delivered a Masterclass in how to use social media and build a community of advocates that have contributed to building a business that intensely satisfies the desires of its young audience.

Complementing this will be a presentation titled ‘How to make customers happy’ from Mario Tarantino, head of e-commerce at Huel. This is an incredible growth story that is underpinned by delivering the objectives of creating nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food with minimal impact on animals and the environment.

These companies have successfully built communities around their brands and this will be the focus of the presentation by Moses Rashid, founder & CEO of The Edit LDN, who is building a successful marketplace for sneakers and streetwear. This includes new and pre-worn items, which very much fits with the growing themes of resale and circularity.

Rashid’s colleague Millie Pearson, COO of The Edit LDN, will talk about the re-cycle revolution and breaking into the circular economy. Matt Hanrahan, founder & CEO of Reskinned, also joins the debate on this important topic as he considers ‘What does sustainability mean to your customer?’

There is no doubt that recognition of sustainability and the early adoption of the resale marketplaces is very much the domain of the younger demographic. But it would be a mistake to think this is purely the land of Gen X, Y and Z. With her focus on the older customer it will be interesting to hear from Janis Thomas, e-commerce marketing director at Look Fabulous Forever, who will be presenting on the theme of ‘The value of retaining customers & building loyalty’.

Whatever part of the retail market you are in there is no escaping the need to develop digital capabilities and this invariably involves undertaking a digital transformation. These have an impact on the fundamentals of the existing infrastructures of businesses and giving their thoughts and insights on the transformation journey across two different streams will be Giles Smith, head of digital, customer & Data technology at Selfridges, and JJ Van Oosten, former CTO of Kingfisher.

One of the key elements involved with the digitalisation of retailers is the management of inventory, which has become increasingly complicated as channels and customer touch-points proliferate. One of the most challenging areas retailers are grappling with is returns and it will therefore be fascinating to hear from two different players on how they are dealing with balancing returns with customer experience, sustainability, cost and brand ethos. On the stage will be Michelle Kearns, IT director at Boots, and Lewe Goldmann, supply chain & operations director at Cloud Nine Hair.

Alongside the speaker sessions will sit an Exhibition – featuring over 100 solutions providers – and three Practical Workshop theatres for visitors to get applicable, important advice on their e-commerce operations. To view the programme.

Look out for the Preview of Day 2 Highlights…coming soon

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Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider