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IRCE takeaway: Buckle up for a bumpy ride

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As IRCE wraps up its final day, those leaving Chicago after four days of workshops, presentations and chaotic careening through an exhibit hall filled with more than 600 vendors promising to make merchants ecommerce lives better, the fire hose syndrome is in full effect.

The human brain, even when aided by laptop notes, voice memos and even the occasionally scribbled memo to self on a napkin, can only process and store so much information. Not to mention the scientific fact that the typical human can only be in one place at one time, even when faced with a conference that boasted 200 speakers and 130 sessions and presentations.

So, we’re here to help. First, for those looking to refresh, or augment their memories, show host Internet Retailer produced daily stories summarizing the show highlights. You’ll find those stories on the Digital Commerce 360 site. Enter IRCE in the search bar.  (You’ll want to act fast on finding those stories.)

We also produced daily posts, though they are admittedly about narrow subjects and not sweeping overviews. (See only one place at one time above.) We interviewed the Camuto Group’s Dara Meath, who talked to us about retailers’ struggle to balance a frictionless customer experience with the need to protect the retail business from those who would take advantage through fraud and return abuse.

IRCE lessons can be found in fine wine

We looked for lessons in fine wine, summarizing Zachys Wine & Liquors move to expand beyond the United States’ borders. While the business that Zachys expanded, conducting online wine auctions, is unusual, the lessons and surprises the executives there encountered are instructive for all retailers contemplating going global.

And we summarized  Signifyd Director of Merchant Advocacy Sourabh Kothari’s dive into Signifyd’s Ecommerce Fraud Index and his explanation of why account takeover fraud is becoming a fraudster favorite.

No doubt the 10,000 or so retail professionals who attended IRCE left with wheelbarrows full of takeaways to try out. But if you’re looking for an overarching one, it’s this: Retail and ecommerce in particular is not slowing down. It will continue to require the nimbleness of an Olympic athlete and the smarts of a Rhodes Scholar.

That reality was hammered home in a presentation by Internet Retailer Editor at Large Don Davis.

“Ecommerce is not yet really a mature industry,” he reminded those in the ballroom at Chicago’s McCormick Place. “In a mature industry, sales get dominated.”

A few legacy behemoths, the big three or four, dominate any contenders when it comes to sales.

“We’re constantly seeing innovative companies entering the market and doing very well,” Davis explained. Davis talked about companies that do what is not in Amazon’s DNA. About companies like Glossier, Supernova and REVOLVE that appeal to digital natives. He rattled of the mature of immature retailers, like Bonobos, Casper, Warby Parker, Everlane, that are moving into new phases of their lives.

IRCE wisdom: Be the only one selling it

These are companies that are designing their own products, so they’re not competing,” Davis said. And then in a nod to marketing guru Seth Godin, who spoke earlier, he added: If you’re the only one selling it, then you’ve got a much better chance.

And so much more change and growth and grabbing of market share is yet to come. For now, the winners appear to be these digitally native brands that tell stories, exude authenticity and often come with a healthy does of doing social good.

It’s a lot to think about — and honestly it’s not even the half of it when it comes to the IRCE fire hose. To that end, in the coming weeks we will be rolling out a series of brief video interviews with retail thought leaders who attended IRCE. We hope that will help you stand up to the torrent and pick out what helps.

Photo by Mike Cassidy

Contact Mike Cassidy at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.

Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].