The inaugural “eCommerce Futures Conference” was an exclusive one-day event, held at the British Library on 16th May 2012, providing knowledge sharing and networking opportunities for senior executives and leaders in the online retail industry. The underlying theme for the conference was “the future of e-commerce”. Industry leaders came together to explore crucial industry issues like the emergence and potential of new eCommerce platforms like Magento (recently acquired by eBay), and whether these platforms can deliver on their promise of lower cost, greater flexibility and ability to perform at scale.
eCommerce Futures Conference 2012
The 2012 conference was designed to address multiple issues around managing growth, whilst reducing costs and improving customer experience in online retail. It brought together retail thought leaders from around Europe who shared their experiences of using the latest technologies to plan and implement agile, flexible and cost-effective e-commerce strategies.
The various topics discussed centred around 3 major categories – “technology”, “expansion of your e-commerce business to various European geographies” and “innovation”, with questions like “what customers expect from retailers today?”, “how killer innovations in online retail are shaping the future?”, “how to become agile and flexible when using technology?”, “reducing technology costs – how much retailers should expect to pay?”, “the architecture of effective retail systems?”, “the use of mobile in retail?”, “the internationalisation of business online”, “how new markets are transforming retail?”, “selecting and hosting technologies that are worth investing in?” and “the current issue of staying legal whilst still using cookies” – a detailed explanation of the European Cookie Directive; legislation and implications.
Speakers at the Conference included Andy McWilliams – Head of Multi Channel at Homebase, Chris Bale – COO at Boohoo.com and Maxime Taieb - Director of e-commerce programs at KESA Europe, Dominic Monkhouse - MD of PEER 1. Chris talked about the commercial issues that Boohoo has been facing in sustaining their current level of growth, outlining the exploration of strategies and tactics for their planned expansion into Europe, upgrading eCommerce platforms and investing in the new multichannel world. Maxime shared his perspective on Kesa’s European rollout.
Hedley Aylott, the CEO of Summit, hosted the platform debate on “whether Magento has delivered on its early promise of a more flexible, affordable enterprise e-commerce platform to allow online retailers to grow with it” and further discussed how a platform such as Magento can be used to deal interactively with multiple channels, tools and audiences.
The conference also included four exciting workshops on issues such as – the new legal stipulations coming into effect on 26 May 2012, making it illegal to collect and harvest browser data without the express permission of a site’s visitor; the dilemma of choice between the infrastructure cost of having fast page loads on your site and the Google tax on your PPC if your site performs slowly; retail competitive advantage & embedding innovation into your online retail operation using new disruptive technologies; and the acquisition & retention of customers via email marketing initiatives.