What's Happening at IRCE This Year?

From June 25th through 28th, all roads lead to Chicago's McCormick Place South for the 14th Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (aka IRCE @ RetailX 2019), the world's biggest and most prominent annual forum in the ecommerce space.

It's anticipated that approximately 10,000 attendees from across the globe will flock to the world-class city of Chicago for the trade show + conference. Participants include a mix of marketers, IT specialists, sales reps, developers, journalists and other members of the ecommerce community.

They all converge here with a common goal: to network, learn, shop, and discuss what's happening in the industry, both from a commercial standpoint and an experiential standpoint.

There will be a ton of things happening at the IRCE 2019, from boot camps and talks from who's who of the industry to workshops and more cool stuff in between.

Here at Website Magazine, we are thrilled to be part of this monumental event at our backyard. Of course, we'll be there in full swing, but for now here's the scoop on the key events, workshops, speakers, moments, tidbits, and keynotes that you don't want to miss.

IRCE At a Glance

What: A trade show, conference, and expo for the ecommerce industry held in Chicago every year in June.

When: Expo, June 25-27, 2019; Conference, June 25-28, 2019

Where: At the McCormick Place South near the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL

Who: Obviously targeted at any professional in ecommerce, IRCE will feature over 16 tracks, 130 speaking sessions, and close to 600 vendor exhibitions.

Why Should You Attend?

IRCE is feasibly the most trafficked and talked-about annual conference in the ecommerce industry, and with good reason. It's graced by some of the biggest thinkers, brands, vendors, and thought leaders.

It's a must-attend conference + exhibition if you want to keep abreast of industry trends, network, gain knowledge, and find business solutions that'll help you put your best foot forward in the ecommerce stage. That's everything you need to stay ahead of the curve under one roof!

Side Tip: As you might expect, IRCE will be a beehive of activity as soon as it's officially opened, and the last thing you want is to get caught up in all the motions. You need a clear plan right from the outset to get the most out of your attendance.

As a rule of thumb, you can attend boot camps, pre-IRCE events and happy hours if your intention is to mingle with potential mentors, recruiters, collaborators, and partners -- if you want to network properly.

Obviously, you don't want to miss tracks and conferences if you want to learn new tricks, garner education and insights from thought leaders.

You can take an incisive look at the full IRCE agenda here if you've got the time.

Otherwise, if you are like most of us looking for the highlights, here's the breakdown of what attendees should pay attention to, events/ workshops they shouldn't miss and speakers they should definitely check out.

Must-Attend Events/Workshops

(1) Ecommerce Boot Camp: Muscle Up to Grow

This ecommerce boot camp will certainly be the highlight of the debut date (25th), and one of the three workshops that will be held concurrently on the day.

It will be an informal, friendly yet interactive workshop designed for businesses and people want to create or recreate a winning ecommerce site. Some of the topics to watch out for on this full-day boot camp include:

(a) Site Design: Taking Your 101-Level Site to 201 and Beyond

Delivered by Kevin Richards, CEO, Ventura Web Design

Why attend: Kelvin's Ventura Web Design has helped ecommerce clients rake in over $1billion in revenue since inception in 1997. In short, he knows what he is talking about. With 24+ years of expertise, he will give you the secrets on how to revamp your online store into a moneymaker.

(b) What You Need to Know About Behavioral Metrics

Why attend: Facebook, Twitter, and Google now value behavioral metrics than ever before. It's time you align your digital marketing strategy to UX so don't lose organic traffic and your competitive edge. Lead Marketing Strategist, Ashlee Colliver, Classy Llama, and Brittany Graham, Director, ecommerce, Tombow are there to tell you all you need.

(c) Selling on Marketplaces: Why and How

Why attend: if you are wondering if it's high time you bring selling at marketplaces like eBay and Amazon into your growth strategy, then this is a topic you need to attend. Peter Marlenga, the Director, Operations @ Tech Armor will share what he's learned in his 5-year experience.

(2) Hitching a Rocket to an Engine, Bonobos, and Walmart Take Off

Delivered by day 2 keynote speaker Andy Dunn, Senior Vice President, Walmart

If you aren't aware, Andy Dunn co-founded Bonobos, the men's leading clothing brand in 2007 right after graduating from Stanford graduate school. And later founded golf apparel brand Maide. He grew Bonobos from scratch to a household brand that he sold to Walmart for $310 million in 2017.

Why attend: Andy Dunn, currently the Senior VP at Walmart is the godfather of direct-to-consumer brand building. He knows DTC brand transformation like the back of his hands. If you want to learn his trade secrets, be sure to attend.

(3) Attention-Getting Strategies to Build Brand Value

This a Wednesday-long track event dedicated to all things DTC brands. If you want to pick the brains of the thought leaders, the movers, the dreamers, and the innovators of the DTC concept, here's your chance.

At least, don't miss these topics:

(a) Go Offline to Build Online: Plan and Track Brand Awareness

Why attend: Do you feel that the online marketing scene is oversaturated with ads? Follow 2 well-known e-retailers - Chase Fisher, Founder, Blenders Eyewear and Luke Droulez, CMO, Parachute Home - as they share their offline ad and marketing methods they use to capture Genz and millennial shoppers.

(b) How I went from an idea to $100 million

Why attend: The title says it all. Moiz Ali, CEO, founder, Native Cos walks you through how he established his web-only deodorant biz to a multi-million brand he sold to P&G.

(4) The New Retail Imperative: Be A Leader in Ecommerce Technology

It's part of the June 26th's Strategic Guidance for the Retail C-Suite track dedicated to new tech entering the ecommerce fray.

Why attend: If you're wondering which ecommerce tech will help you achieve measurable results, Brendan Witcher, Vice President, Forrester Research, has got you covered.

(5) Breakout Tactics for B2B Selling

This is perhaps the best track of IRCE, and is scheduled to cover half of the last day (June 28). It touches on the ever-changing B2B marketing landscape, anticipated to be worth over $6.7 trillion by 2020.

Here are two must-not-miss topics to keep an eye out for on this half-day track:

(a) Marketplaces: Amazon Business, or Amazon.com - Or Other?

Every business that's growing will have to wrestle with the question of whether to expand to marketplaces, most notably Amazon. For a B2B brand, the question is even more complex: opt for Amazon Business, Amazon.com or ditch Amazon altogether? That's exactly the premise of the dual-panel.

Why attend: Jeff McRitchie, VP, ecommerce & Marketing, Mybinding.com, and Joe Caldwell, ecommerce Manager, SIM Supply are two titans marketing titans when it comes to selling through online marketplace Amazon. They'll give you a holistic picture of how to do it, including several different nuances related to B2B selling through Amazon.

(b) B2B Ecommerce: What's Cutting-Edge Now

Keeping abreast of trends and viable insights in the world of B2B ecommerce is something every marketer should do. Penny Gillespie, Research Vice President, Gartner, is an industry veteran, and she knows where B2B selling is heading to and what technologies will help you get there faster.

Why attend: Penny will hinge her talk on what trends, techniques and technologies B2B sellers should stay on top of to drive growth and boost their omnichannel strategies.

Must-Attend Keynote Speakers Sessions

There are only 4 keynote speakers who will give their talks in the morning sessions. There's really no reason to skip any of these sessions.

(1) Andy Dunn, Senior Vice President, Walmart

Andy Dunn the founder of Bonobos will give his account of how he took it from the ground to a niche-defining brand that Walmart snatched off the market. Be sure to start your Wednesday right with his Hitching a Rocket to an Engine, Bonobos and Walmart Takeoff.

(2) Chip Conley, Strategic Advisor, Airbnb

After Dunn has warmed up the stage, Chip Conley will follow with his much-anticipated Inter-Generational: Leveraging the Power of a New Workplace Diversity.

(3) Susan Tynan, CEO & Founder, Framebridge

Arrive early at the Arie Crown Theater (by 8 am) in time for Susan Tynan's session about her focus on customer experience and her 5-year experience crafting one of the most impressive retailer brands (Framebridge - the leading e-retailer in custom framing).

(4) Dan Alarik, CEO & Founder, Grunt Style

Dan Alarik's story is one for the books and not one to miss at IRCE. A veteran, Daniel built Alpha Outpost from $0 to more than $8 million in revenue in just a year. In his keynote True Grit: A Warriors' Mettle Builds an E-Commerce Brand, he will share his inspiration of how “how grit, determination and the willingness” helped him do it all.


IRCE is the ultimate event for folks in ecommerce. These are just but few of the speakers, events, workshops, happy hours, talks, and so much more. As the exhibition halls become turn into networking hubs, be sure to one-up your knowledge, network and competitive advantage.