Thousands of retail-industry professionals will gather at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on 24th and 25th May – here’s what attendees can experience
The countdown to IRX (InternetRetailing Expo) and eDX (eDelivery Expo) is almost over. Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre will open its vast doors to welcome thousands of industry professionals for the return of the UK’s premier digital retail show on 24th and 25th May. And, as you would expect, there is plenty to look forward to – check out the conference programme now.
To help attendees make the most of their visit to the NEC, below are some speakers and sessions to look out for – plus reasons to sign up for the free event. IRX and eDX is a unique conference where people can catch up with old friends, make new contacts, and hear about nascent trends and innovations – plus find out how to make the most of them. With “networking” and “interaction” as the watchwords, attendees are encouraged to listen, learn, and share.
Although IRX has been running for 17 years, it has never been more relevant, arguably. According to the latest Office for National Statistics data, online sales in January 2023 accounted for precisely one-quarter of all retailing in Great Britain compared to February 2020, when it was less than 20%.
The lockdowns implemented to reduce the spread of coronavirus forced retailers to shutter physical stores and triggered an eCommerce explosion. But now, post-pandemic, consumer trends are evolving, and those operating in this space must elevate their digital retail offering or miss out.
This transformation is reflected in the range of content at IRX and eDX. The 2023 conference features an abundance of household brands, exhibitors and sponsors. Attendees will be informed by the latest trends and innovations shaping the industry, influenced by talks from over 100 thought leaders, and inspired by pioneering vendors.
Subjects in this year’s programme include personalisation, digital marketing strategies, customer experience, streamlining backend operations, supply-chain optimisation, and much more.
Household names in abundance
Sessions across four conference theatres include keynotes, panels, and fireside chats. Meanwhile, three workshop theatres – where networking and interaction are the watchwords – will provide practical and applicable advice on a range of subjects. Additionally, and new for 2023, there is a diversity and inclusion track on 25th May.
Track sponsors include Amazon Shipping and Amazon Freight, Klaviyo, GFS, Worldline, deployteq, and Diversity in Retail. On stage, attendees can hear from representatives of the likes of Shopify, Huel, River Island, Vinted, adidas, Gymshark, Selfridges, Boden, The Co-Operative Group, The Body Shop, and Autotrader. Also discussing the state of retail will be leaders from Boots, The Very Group, Dyson, M&C Saatchi Group, PepsiCo, Reed, Lyst, Jigsaw, Kurt Geiger, Wickes, and many more.
Away from the stage, if you’re seeking new solutions to implement in your eCommerce platform, look no further. Over 100 suppliers will be showcasing their products and services at IRX and eDX, including Shiptheory, Wunderkind, Bidnamic, Anicca Digital, Pitney Bowes, eComOne, Amazon Pay, Metapack, and Price Trakker, to name just a few.
Study the programme for sessions relevant to you and your oranisation. For example, Selfridges’ Head of Customer Data, Giles Smith, will nestle in for a fireside chat with Daniel Evans, CEO of Birmingham Enterprise Community, focused on selecting, sequencing, and succeeding with a digital tech transformation.
Elsewhere, Michelle Kearns, Head of IT for Boots, appears on stage – first on a three-person panel that explores how to master returns, balancing customer experience, sustainability, cost and brand ethos. Next, Michelle will appear on her own to discuss how to integrate and customise your platform to create the perfect customer experience.
And Chief Marketing Officer of Gymshark, Carly O’Brien’s fireside chat, titled Understand the customer, understand the world, is another session not to miss. She will discuss the critical importance of understanding the customer above everything else.
Top speakers and fresh ideas
James Peach, Global Brand Director at Vinted, the second-hand clothes online marketplace, is speaking about brand-building in 2023. It will be his first time at the event, and he is excited about learning from others. “At IRX, I’m hoping to meet many new people, gain plenty of insights, inspiration and ideas,” he says.
Also making an IRX and eDX debut this year is Ben Dreyer, Boden’s Strategy, Sustainability and Operations Director. He has been with the clothing retailer – which sells primarily online, through mail order and catalogue – for over 25 years, and will feature in a fireside chat titled Growing from a small to medium-sized business while staying true to your values. And he will also appear on a panel session, The conscious consumer: encouraging consumers to make informed choices.
Ben urges fellow industry professionals to sign up. “It will be the first time I have attended this great event,” he says. “Businesses are feeling under pressure now, and becoming insular is tempting. Because of that, it’s essential to get out and see what other people are doing to gain access to fresh ideas.”
Adam Warne, Chief Information Officer at River Island, echoes this point. “I’ve been to IRX a few times, and it’s always great,” he says. “Unfortunately, many people became ‘head down’ during the pandemic. In other words, they were primarily focused on keeping the business running.
“As a result, many of us lost the ‘head up’ approach that is influential, inspiring, and important for innovation. Every time I go to IRX, I have at least half a dozen ‘head up’ moments, whether hearing from some of the speakers or chatting with the software vendors.”
Adam, who will be talking about championing the pace of change to thrive in unpredictable environments, neatly sums up what to expect from the conference. “More than ever, you don’t know what you don’t know, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, former United States Secretary of Defense,” he says. “Ultimately, IRX is a unique opportunity to think more broadly about the art of the possible in retail.”
Adam adds: “Often I will meet someone I have a good connection with, and we will share a problem over coffee. I always leave IRX thinking the world is not as bad as I thought.”
IRX & eDX takes place on May 24th and 25th at the NEC, Birmingham.
Register for free here now. #IRX23 #eDX23