October’s conference season’s highlight (for me, anyway) was the fourth Internet Retailing conference – IR2009.
While I’m of course biased (!) the conference saw our highest attendance (just under 1,000 in total, with 450 full delegates), an expanded roster of exhibitors and, crucially, the introduction of our plenary keynote session to open the day.
We were privileged and inspired to hear from Peter Fitzgerald (Retail Industry Head at Google UK), Jane Judd who heads customer service at Zappos and Robin Terrell, MD of John Lewis Direct. Any of these speakers alone would have made a wonderful conference opener, but to have all three was a luxury (one that we intend to repeat in future years – I think we now realise that one can’t have too much of a good thing!).
Peter, above, gave us Google’s view on the ever-increasing pace of change, and the need for retailers continually to ‘up their game’ to remain competitive. A chilling message, delivered with Peter’s usual charm and clarity.
Robin wowed the audience with his combination of shared insights and facts (his openness was astounding and very highly praised) along with a down-to-earth pragmatism about the tasks and challenges ahead. I won’t précis his speech (you can see the full video on the conference since) but I’ve never seen before 1,000 people, as one, dive to write notes at a speaker’s every utterance.
Robin’s speech was one of the best keynotes I’ve seen and one of the most highly-rated ever at our conference.
Jane, below, took a few moments to introduce us to the Zappos way and then peeled layer after layer away to reveal a characterful and savvy underpinning to “The Zappos Way”.
For the rest of the day it was intense networking as well as note-taking and idea-exchanging in the three parallel streams. Here are some photos from the day…
Morten Kamper, CEO of the Danish eCommerce and Distance Selling Federation (FDIH) asking a question of the keynote speakers
Mark “Many Phones” Pigou, my business partner in InternetRetailing and the conference promoter. Odd to see him smiling until the very last stand is down and the feedback is in…
Mike “Dr Mike” Baxter, redoutable Stream Chair, engaged on a panel…
Rob “I’m Listening” Prevett, IR’s Account Director, personing the stand at the show…
… and humour (plus marketing budget!) from Jacob Salamon at Bazaarvoice. They’ve enlivened our conference for the last couple of years with “Badge Flares” – adhesive messages for the bottom of delegate badges – but this year pulled an “homage”. Great fun, and I’ve used this image in lieu of a business card for a while since. Thanks Jacob
The 2010 conference information is already available at http://screenevents.co.uk/IR2010/index.html and I’m looking forward already to building on the success of 2009 to make our fifth annual event even better!