IRCE Day 4 – The Closing Day

IRCE Day 4 – The Closing Day

On the fourth and last day of IRCE in Chicago, there were a lot of short presentations. Chad Rubin began the morning, going systematically through the need for search engine optimization (SEO) now and in the future.

Rubin presented his own store’s optimization in detail and pointed out that before you focus on content production and more detailed SEO, you should start with quick development of your store.

For a Shopify or Shopify Plus merchant, the best way would be to begin various speed tests and validating their own apps. Do I really need all of them or could I get by with fewer? And have I optimized images and other content? Only after taking these steps should you start investigating what you do in more detail and comparing it to your competitors.

To finish, Rubin reminded us of the importance of content and summed up that SEO was a marathon which many quickly growing, disruptive direct-to-consumer brands do not really invest in.

AR and VR opportunities

The next session went through, in particular, AR and VR opportunities for online merchants. Carson Finkle and Vince Cacace spoke energetically about what augmented reality (AR) means right now.

Finkle’s hat store, Tenth Street Hats, which runs on Shopify, has benefited from a separate AR app that opens from the product page, and already achieved impressive results. The most sold headgear can be “tried on” and compared to other options. Conversion has grown hugely and customer feedback about the feature has been positive.

Design, mobile optimization and developing the buying process

The last presentations of the morning discussed such topics as leading large online store design projects, mobile optimization, and better data exploitation for even better functioning stores.

To finish, the optimization of the final steps of the buying process was discussed. There is often a surprising number of improvements at the end of the purchase funnel that are not made. From “add to basket” to starting to check out sounds like an easy process, but in customers’ experience many things can go wrong.

The same goes for payment, said Amitai Sasson, who spoke about developing the buying process. In his opinion, payment is at present far too complex and it should change in future to become an even more seamless element of buying. He challenged the audience to think about what could be done differently. Does the whole buying process look like a logical continuum, is something missing, or are there superfluous elements?

Picking the highlights. What stood out for us?

As a whole, the event was a positive experience. The absolute star moments were the keynotes. Networking with colleagues from around the world was also eye-opening. The event ended on Friday with a joint lunch, which was a great way to finish our shared journey.

The best experiences that will stay in our minds were the concrete merchant stories and direct tips which could be applied instantly. In the upper storey of the fair venue there was a large area which brought together all the RetailX exhibitors. So in addition to e-commerce, there was also logistics, RFID solutions and retail process competence on offer.

To summarize, the best direct-to-consumer brands will provoke the most emotion, both in their own teams and above all among their customers. Personalization is now run of the mill and it will be seen in e-commerce and all brand communications from email to WhatsApp, Messenger and text messages. The world of brick-and-mortar stores is being disrupted and their functions will differ from each other as various new concepts come to market.

Experience and indirectly commercial content will become even bigger trends. Distinct brands will speak to their customers boldly and dare to push the boundaries. It is better to take a stance and stand out than do nothing.

Customers have become more influential and this means allocating resources to customer service and various automated tools to ease the buying process. Customer reviews and customer-generated content are still the bedrock for many growing online stores. However, they have to be able to manage and exploit them better than before.

Chicago says thanks and over and out!

Text: Mikko Rekola, Growth Hacker / Woolman

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