During the 10 years of this conference, I've been pleased to welcome to our stage many outstanding industry leaders who have provided guidance and insight to e-retail executives and managers in our audience.
Reviewing the lineup of speakers and sessions we have hosted over the years has impressed upon me the speed with which our industry has evolved. The first IRCE offered little in the way of social media marketing (in fact, only one session: "Way-New Marketing: Harnessing Blogs and Social Networking"). We had no content dealing with mobile commerce or marketing—the iPhone and iPad didn't even exist then. And one session that first year only touched on video as part of the rich media mix: 3-D, zoom, pan and video.
This year's show features both a social track and full-day social workshop and a full-day mobile workshop, with mobile content unavoidably present in many other sessions. And new for this year is a full-day workshop on video for retailers.
The major change in online retailing that our conference addresses this year is the interconnectedness of consumers and retailers. Shopping is no longer a one-way street—from the retailer to the consumer. That change began with the rise of online retailing nearly 20 years ago but has intensified beyond any expectations as consumers have gotten smarter about using the power that the Internet and the new access devices have given them.
Our featured speakers at IRCE 2014 will address that development. Keynote speaker John Donahoe, CEO of eBay Inc., will describe how eBay's experience with tens of millions of shoppers has led to programs that engage shoppers on all levels while allowing shoppers to connect using the methods they want.
Following John Donahoe will be Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and poster boy for how the Internet creates consumer engagement—and how it puts control into consumers' hands. He will talk about the power of community in the online era, how the Internet enables individuals to do what they might not have been able to do in the past, and the importance, especially to e-commerce, of being nimble, seeing what change is coming, and then embracing that change.
Other important sessions reflect the challenges in finding experienced e-commerce executives to fill top management spots, the growing importance to investors of successful social strategies, coordinating marketing across the new plethora of platforms, how to bootstrap a small e-retail operation, logistics for cross-border order fulfillment, how to make sure you don't fall victim to delivery failures as we experienced in Q4 last year, how to think through a B2B strategy, making the right technology platform decisions, and a whole lot more.
There's something for everyone at IRCE. We hope this guide will help you make the most of your attendance at IRCE. Welcome!
Kurt Peters, Executive Editor