Succeeding in the world of omnichannel: Top Trends from IRCE 2017

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The Internet Retailers Conference + Exhibition (IRCE) took place this week in Chicago. With our team and partners exhibiting at the conference, Western Computer was able to interview our Business Development Manager, Karen Beaton, while on-site to get her take on the biggest trends.

Barbara Corcoran, of NBC’s “Shark Tank” fame, challenged retailers at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE 2017) in Chicago this week to keep moving forward. She told a packed keynote hall that she had “failed 22 times” before becoming successful. Her message was clear: whenever you are embarking on anything new, you must capitalize on your mistakes and keep going.

There was an incredible amount of enthusiasm and camaraderie at this year’s conference and I learned that while most retailers are taking Barbara’s advice and moving forward in internet retail, many are still in the early phases of identifying how to drive their future business growth online.

Most of the people I spoke with at IRCE were asking a lot of questions. ‘What is the right e-commerce solution for my business? How do I get to know my customers better and understand their behavior online? With so many solutions available today for retail, how do I know where to start?’

Specifically, companies are facing these challenges when they enter new markets. They want to know if existing business processes can be transferred to the new market. Or, if new technology investments should be made to inventory management first or better spent on gaining customer analytics or modernizing another business process.

With these questions in mind, two trends stood out as the hottest topics at IRCE this year: personalization and omnichannel.

It’s clear that retail executives know that they need to provide a consistent brand and buying experience from the store to the website to catalog and beyond, but they’re not sure what retail technology will get them there.

Many wondered, what does creating a consistent omnichannel experience even mean for my business? I talked with attendees about the idea that a customer must be able to see the same product information in all places. A customer must also be able to place an order through one channel and track that order or obtain services through another channel seamlessly. As more interactions with customers are happening online, retailers will also need to leverage the incoming data to gain insights about preferences. This is where personalization kicks in. With these insights, your technology platform should personalize content and make targeted product recommendations. Speakers at IRCE could show a direct connection between personalization and increased sales growth and customer loyalty.

IRCE 2017
Exhibitor of IRCE 2017 demonstrating a full omnichannel solution for Internet Retailers and Distributors.

For Western Computer, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a natural fit in these conversations. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the backbone that can enable an end-to-end solution from sales order to fulfillment and operations. Adding CRM for sales and service management and embedded Power BI so business users can view the critical KPIs they need to run the business, delivers even more value.

At IRCE, we partnered with Sana Commerce, for e-commerce, and Perfion, for Product Information Management, to demonstrate what is possible when Dynamics 365 drives integration from the supply chain to the online store. In addition, we had a special friend in our booth that created a lot of attention from attendees! Our ‘friend’ was a robot from inVia Robotics. This robot does warehouse picking and sends data directly to Dynamics 365. One of our customers today uses inVia robots in their warehouse to ensure that products are picked correctly and ready when packers arrive in the morning. They are achieving huge productivity gains.

Seeing the robot in our booth was a light bulb moment for many people who walked by. More than anything, they realized when they saw it that the future is happening now.

As we head home from another great year at IRCE, we will be helping our customers understand what trends are coming, how to prepare for them with Microsoft Dynamics, and, most importantly where to get started.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

 

by Western Computer

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