The UK eCommerce community is blooming. And although I couldn’t be there, I am told you needed no more evidence of this than at Internet Retailing 2008 (IR2008) where networking, buzz & innovation met with ideas, insight and research. Salmon had three clients presenting in the conference.
The first stream was devoted to discussing the hot topic of providing rich customer experiences – and you can read a session review here. It studied the technical, marketing and operational issues related to rich media.
In this stream, Salmon customer Oliver Bishop, the e-Business Technical Architect from AkzoNobel Decorative Coatings, presented on “Making product choices simpler using RIA technology.” The latest relaunch of dulux.co.uk has taken advantage of Rich Internet Application (RIA) technology to help customers to choose the colours they love and products that are right for the job. This is achieved using functionality like Ajax, drag and drop and DHTML extensively within the site to create an interactive scrapbook, moodboard and the ability to upload and decorate photos of their own rooms. Oliver’s presentation covered how Web 2.0 technologies can enhance the experience for your customers.
Stream two looked at second mover advantage on the web – and focused on the approach taken by retailers who have launched transactional websites only recently; and how they have taken advantage of their second mover position to succeed.
In this 2nd stream, Wendy Derbyshire from Scotts & Stow told delegates how the company had been running nine sites on four different platforms and faced a huge range of legacy issues and a major challenge to consolidate everything into one technical base that could underpin the whole business. Scotts decided to bite the bullet and embark on a major project (with Salmon and SAFE™ – read the case study) to put in place one infrastructure for the whole business.
And then there was Stream three, which examined the latest trends in multiple channel retailing, i.e. Moving beyond multichannel to true, integrated “cross channel” solutions (is it me or does this makes our 2005 seminar series “eCommere Junkies: Cross Channel Retail” look impressively visionary?).
In this final stream Argos’ presentation looked at “Customer centric multi-channel development“. There is no doubt Argos is recognised as pioneering new approaches in multi-channel high street retailing, introducing concepts (and delivering them with Salmon’s help) such as in-store reservations via web, phone and text, in-store stock-check and quick-pay kiosks, all tied into the overarching online experience and offline catalogue.
It’s funny. You can have the biggest booth in the exhibition hall and learn to talk a good game. But nothing compares to the experience you get from actually living, breathing and delivering state-of-the-art eCommerce.