The last week of June found etailers from across the globe meeting in Chicago for the 2019 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE). This annual event grows each year and attracts the first-time store owner, the seasoned vet, and every etailer in between.
IRCE is more than just a trade show where you jump from booth-to-booth, it’s also an educational event. Attendees have the opportunity to attend seminars on various topics from customer service and logistics, to latest design trends and marketing.
This year Your Store Wizards and a handful of other Yahoo! Store developers were invited to join the Yahoo! Small Business team in their booth on the show floor. Each developer had their own “pod” where they could meet store owners, showcase their latest products, and of course… trade war stories!
Don Cole, our founder and Chief Wizard, left sunny LA and headed to the windy city for the week and fills us in on the time he had at the show:
IRCE this year was a completely different animal as it was merged with Globalshop and RFID Journal Live into RetailX.
For me, this was the first time it was held in McCormick Place South (instead of West). The event was definitely large but the three conferences together made for some extra mixes of vendors that you wouldn’t see at simply one of the events.
This year Yahoo! opened up their booth to developers so we each had a display station and dedicated space compared to prior years where we just were allotted time to spend in the booth. Overall the layout was really great and it was fun reconnecting with the Yahoo! peeps, as well as a number of store owners and potential ones. Of course it’s always fun to see Dan, Shirley, Maria, Phil, Vince, and many more of the Yahoo! team at events like this.
I enjoyed meeting, talking, and helping many store owners such as Chelsea from Pillows.com, Averill from Sharper Uniforms, Jesse from Healthy Pets to name a few. Many I’ve met before, but it’s always nice to reconnect with those I know and meet in person those who I’ve never met face to face.
It also served as a great opportunity to both hear from Yahoo! and give them our input on ways they could improve. Yahoo! was listening and one area we all voiced was their need for communication.
They are constantly working on improving the platform and adding features, but often store owners don’t know about them because they aren’t announced. So that’s one area they are resolved to improving.
They have a lot of plans and areas they want to work on and it’s going to be exciting to see what will come with the Verizon resources and investments.
Yahoo! also had an event on Wednesday evening that was a lot of fun. It was great getting time to hang out and chat but also play Bocci and Cornhole, all indoors.
On the humorous side, the wifi was free. But because it was, and because of the number of people, it was slow. So many took to using their phones or devices as hot spots. It was crazy to see how many wifi access points there were when you tried to connect.
Other “fun” highlights of the show were everything from the fresh baked chocolate cookies, the stuffed toys, and the best was the virtual caricature artist. Ok, the artist was real, but she did it all via video conference but then printed out your caricature and/or download the picture. I didn’t get to it, but there was also a cardboard backdrop from Game of Thrones that you could take your picture at which would have been cool for the geek in me.
Overall it was a great event and very glad I attended.
Check out these photos from the show, and if you attended feel free to share what you thought of this year’s conference in the comments section.
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at email@example.com.