IRCE 2014: Show coverage

Internet retailers attending IRCE this week in Chicago will be treated to dozens of presentations and solutions to help manage and grow e-commerce or implement omnichannel strategies. FierceRetail is on the ground to bring readers the latest news.

Day 2 -- Wayfair is a 12 year old brand that is brand new, having spent the past two years integrating nearly 250 different brands into single platform.

Day 1 – "We will see more change in the next three years than we have in the last five to 10 years," declared eBay CEO John Donahoe. "Welcome to the commerce revolution."

Donahoe broke this commerce revolution into four themes: consumer in, consumer choice, consumer service and personalization.

Consumers are driving this and they don't think in channel terms, they just want to shop, said Donahoe. They buy in different places and don't distinguish by location — online, in-store or mobile. EBay research shows that they are the same consumers.

Service is just as important online as it is in-store, and it's no longer acceptable to think of one channel as being able to better offer customer service.

"Consumers are saying 'no,' they want help in deciding what they should buy, they need help buying it and they want to get problems resolved, often with the help of a person," said Donahoe. "Doing this is becoming essential if you want to be one of the winners. These four things will be the difference between the winners and losers in this commerce revolution."

Update: Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia puts to rest any notion that crowdsourcing is a positive. The term stems from outsourcing. "The idea is to find the cheapest work, in this case the general public, and then trick them into doing the work (for me)," he said. "That's completely upside down thinking and offends the communities involved."

Don't crowdsource, advised Wales, inspire people to get involved.

Update: Staples omnichannel efforts have tailored solutions for multiple channels — stores, desktop, smartphone and tablet — and then links them all together.

It's about keeping the customer loyal to Staples, according to Faisal Masud, executive VP of global commerce. "This notion of online vs. offline doesn't exist. The P&L requires all business to success."
Staples has optimized mobile and tablet in different ways and to great success. Both conversions and revenue per visitor are up significantly. A new tablet app, launched yesterday, increased sales in that channel by 98 percent during the test period.

In-store kiosks are helping Staples to grow online sales and the retailer is rapidly moving toward implementation of a click and collect program. "The ability to buy online and ship to the store is not only a better experience it's a better cost structure," said Masud. "You can utilize the existing labor structure in the store to pick and pack. (Really) it's a very small number of transactions."

Update: "The kind of data we got from loyalty has changed the way we thought of multi-channel retail," said Mike Hogan executive VP, strategic, business and brand development at Game Stop.

In recent years, Game Stop has gone from being a purveyor of video games to a retailer with three growing business segments. The core business and group of gaming brands, technology brands including Cricket wireless and partner programs with relevant brands including Sony, Microsoft and Apple.

And it's using the Power Up loyalty program to gain insights and tie them all together.