Our Experiences at IRCE 2015

It’s been a week since we got back from IRCE in Chicago and most of us are still digesting all the impressions and insights we gleaned from the sessions and in the exhibition hall. This year’s conference didn’t disappoint. IRCE had record attendance, and, for FitForCommerce, that meant that we were busier than ever hosting the Technology Workshop, managing the Retailer Help Desk and providing guidance at our booth.

The Technology Workshop

For the sixth year in a row, we were honored to host the popular Technology Workshop. For those of you who attended, or have attended in the past, you’ll know that the Technology Workshop is not your typical workshop, but rather a full day of sessions and panel discussions that draws hundreds of attendees.

This year, the agenda focused on topics such as assessing your omnichannel tech stack, evaluating whether ecommerce replatforming is right for you, achieving the customer single view holy grail and new technology innovations.

FitForCommerce was joined by a great lineup of speakers from Steve Madden, Walgreen, Chefs’ Warehouse, J.Jill, Plushbeds, HSN, Lowe’s, Abe’s Market, Bosch, Target, Dell, Wayfair and W.W. Grainger.

From the high-energy and entertaining presentation by Michael Hughes from Plushbeds who drew the parallel of evaluating and selecting an integration partner to the art of dating to the insightful panel on new innovations that closed out the day, attendees walked away with real-life insights, inspiration and actionable advice on the main topics that many encounter on a daily basis.

Here are some of our favorite sound bites

“Selecting and implementing new platforms requires hard work and lots of cocktails” – Karen Etzkorn, Chief Information Officer, HSN

“60% of ecommerce marriages end in a costly divorce” – Bernardine Wu, CEO FitForCommerce

“Know your story, know your strategy and share it” – Michele Parzianello, VP ecommerce, J.Jill

“When thinking about replatforming, prepare them, don’t scare them” –  Steve Jones, VP and Senior Consultant, FitForCommerce

“Keeping up with technology may not be as fun as keeping up with the Kardashians, but is it necessary” – Steve Jones

“Mobile is the front door to Target” – Alan Wizeman, VP Product, Target.com Mobile

“What will set you apart in global expansion is personalization” – John Molamphy, Executive Director, Buyer Experience, Dell

“You don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why the right partner is so important. What do the exes say? Get references and ask the right questions” – Michael Hughes, CEO, Plushbeds

“Capturing insights from every click drives relevancy and conversions” – Kimberley Grayson, Chief Revenue Officer, Abe’s Market

“Our mantra is: test, listen, analyze, iterate” – John Kinsella, VP, Experience Architecture, Lowe’s

“Organizational change is the foundation of success” – Sonesh Shah, Director Ecommerce, Bosch


At the Help Desk and the Exhibit Hall

From sessions to the exhibit floor, we’re always excited to chat with attendees as well as the many technology providers that grace the exhibit hall. Navigating the exhibit floor can be daunting – so many insights, so many technologies, so little time.  And by the end of the day your head is buzzing and your feet are numb.  At the Help Desk, our job is to help make the conference experience a little bit easier by learning what attendees are struggling with and what technologies they are looking for. This year we provided 1000s of category maps, best practices and key questions to ask providers. We also had many 1:1 consultations where we were able to learn more about specific pain points and share our expertise.

As in previous years, retailers and brands were at IRCE for many different reasons, however, there were a few hot topics that stood out:

  • Personalization: Making the shopping experience more relevant to the individual shopper across all channels
  • Global: US retailers and brands expanding to new international markets and non-US retailers and brands entering the US market
  • Marketplaces: Leveraging marketplaces to reach new customers – specifically when entering new international markets
  • Brands going direct: Dealing with the organizational challenges, channel conflicts, marketing and supporting technologies of launching direct-to-consumer channels


We hope you walked away from IRCE re-energized, inspired and ready to tackle the next phase of your business. If you still have burning questions or didn’t find what you were looking for, be sure to check out the FitForCommerce resource library to download best practices, whitepapers, and our annual report on Personalization.

 To learn more about how we can help you, contact us!

Written by: Yanna Sigenlaub, VP Marketing