IRWD 2013 Logo - Web design, Order Management and Ecommerce tradeshow
Friday, February 15, 2013

IRWD 2013 – with OrderDynamics

As an ecommerce solution vendor, it doesn’t feel like the New Year has officially begun until you attend your first conference of the year.  Now that the OrderDynamics team has returned from the 2013 edition of Internet Retailer’s rapidly growing Web & Design conference (IRWD 2013), it really feels like retail-2013 is in full swing!

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Where to start?  IRWD had a bit of everything throughout the three-day conference.  While the event is typically geared towards user experience and website design, there was no denying the emphasis and urgency that surrounded backend solutions this year, particularly with regards to Order Management.  As important as Order Management has become in the scalability and operations of high growth online retailers, it perhaps plays an even bigger role in overall customer service and experience.

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The number of retailers (all of which varied in sizes – emerging retailers and enterprise retailers – , verticals, and style of operations) we spoke to who cited the need for automated order processing and fulfillment (including pick-pack-and ship), strong call center and customer management modules, and omni-channel capabilities, like in-store pickup and distributed order management, was incredible.  It certainly speaks to the evolution we’ve seen in just a few short years in ecommerce.

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IRWD 2013 shows eCommerce’s Second Wave

We’ve suggested before that the first ‘wave’ of ecommerce was about becoming operational and profitable in web retailing.  If we required additional confirmation, IRWD 2013 provided it over and over again. Ecommerce’s second ‘wave’ (which we believe is about creating best-in-class, unified experiences across all online and offline touch points) has not only started, but is well under way already.  Jason LaRose, SVP of Ecommerce at Express Inc., clearly depicted this in his Keynote presentation which touched on the amount of channels and touch points the apparel retailer uses in order to interact with its fast-moving, “always on the go” audience.  The amount of effort, strategy, and commitment they’ve made to talking with, engaging, and giving their customers the experience they demand is absolutely remarkable.  We thought one of Jason’s better quotes (and there were several) was his accurate and telling description of today’s consumer: “hyper social, always mobile”.

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Another presentation that spoke to the sophistication we’re seeing in ecommerce and the challenge that lies in creating a best-in-class consumer experience was that of Sam Barnes, Director of Ecommerce at Laura Canada (full transparency: Laura Canada is an OrderDynamics client).  Sam outlined the careful considerations that go into designing (or redesigning) a multi-channel ecommerce website, and the complexity involved in extending in-store experiences to the web.  The two things that stuck with the audience during this presentation was Sam’s simple yet complex take on site design: “Less really is more, but it’s harder to do, and even harder to get [an entire team to] agree on”, as well as his philosophy on online marketing (once a site is launched): “Online marketing is like gardening: a lot of work goes into carefully planning what you want to do and creating a foundation to watch your efforts grow shortly after”.

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Although Sam’s presentation directly followed Jason’s, the stark contrast between the two presentation styles and organizations (age demographics of their respective customers could range by as much as 30 years!) perfectly summed up the thought process that impacts all online retailers. There are times to be bold and slightly aggressive when executing strategy, and there are times where calculated consideration and planning are required.  Whether this was intentional or not, it served as a fantastic commentary of this dynamic industry in terms of where we’ve come from, but more importantly, where it’s going.

In saying this, we look forward to following up with the new contacts and connections we made this week at IRWD 2013.  We will be doing this in the coming few weeks.  In addition, OrderDynamics would like to sincerely thank everyone who dropped by our booth to say hi, catch up, or learn about our end-to-end commerce platform.  We also wanted to recognize several of our clients who we were fortunate enough to spend time and strategize with.  Lastly, we’d like to extend a big thanks to the entire Internet Retailer team who continue to create quality events that are valuable for retailers and vendors.

One final thing to note: next year’s IRWD looks to be bigger and better with the amalgamation of Internet Retailer’s Mobile conference (MMCF) and Web & Design conference (IRWD).  We already can’t wait for February 2014!  But until then you can catch us at our upcoming 2013 events including Dx3 Canada and eTail Canada – both of which feature speaking presentations by OrderDynamics.

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