IRCE 2010 wrapped up a couple of weeks ago after drawing nearly 6,500 e-commerce professionals to Chicago for the four-day event. The show’s official theme was “Time to Reboot”, and retailers and vendors alike left with shared optimism as e-commerce climbs out of a recession and into its next stage of development. Businesses large and small are now readying themselves for the industry’s next growth spurt, many of them focusing their energies on social media and mobile commerce.
Hundreds of companies were represented in these and countless other areas of interest, so we put our heads together and came up with the following suggestions for how you can reboot your e-commerce company based on what was seen and heard at this year’s IRCE.
Ratings and Reviews
Proponents of user ratings and reviews continue to bombard us with testimonials, calling the practice one of the simplest and most effective uses of social media available to online retailers. GoGreenSolar.com CEO Deep Patel shared his success story in a session co-hosted with Neal Creighton of RatePoint, the customer feedback and reputation management company that helped GoGreenSolar raise sales by 20 percent each month through product reviews. Bazaarvoice, PowerReviews and RateVoice are some of the other leading providers of ratings and reviews solutions in attendance at IRCE.
This is another up-and-coming aspect of e-commerce that is attracting a lot of attention thanks to innovations in social media. There were more than 15 exhibitors at IRCE offering creative products and services in the area of personalization, ranging from personalized recommendations to geographical targeting. ChoiceStream, Strands Recommender, Criteo and Nextopia are just some of the companies that can help you bring your e-commerce site up to speed with the latest personalization tools.
Video and Imaging
With each technological advance in imaging, the bar is raised a little bit higher as far as how consumers expect to view products online. Staying on the front end of the curve is essential for an e-commerce business to remain competitive, and there are numerous affordable options for merchants. Shotfarm is a startup that provides a free product-image sharing service, and Beyond 360 is a company on the cutting edge of product photography and image processing. Webmasters looking to take the leap into product video should look no further than e-commerce pro Invodo.
Payment Management and Processing
As consumers try to climb out of debt and retailers work to protect against fraud, e-commerce businesses are finding new and creative methods for shoppers to pay for items online. BSG Clearing Solutions is one company that offers an array of payment options, including the Bill2Phone service that enables customers to bill their digital purchases to their telephones. GlobalCollect, eBillme, JetPay and Kwedit are just some of the players that offer solutions for merchants looking to enhance their customers’ experience while also protecting their own interests.
From subscription-based incentive programs to brand-awareness marketing campaigns, channels that lead to customer loyalty and retention are always going to be vital to a successful e-commerce operation. Software-maker Teleformix presented an intriguing loyalty platform called a Customer Loyalty Center at IRCE, a customized set of services designed to build and expand your brand online. FreeShipping.com helps retailers reach out to their customers with its free-shipping and cash-back programs, and Webloyalty.com and OrderGroove have similar solutions designed around increasing customer retention.