Anyone who’s anyone in omni-channel retail knows about IRCE
Self-described as The Retail Industry’s Leading Ecommerce Conference and Trade Show, IRCE is one of the preeminent trade shows for etailers and omni-channel retailers. A host of industry experts, a gigantic exhibit hall filled to the brim with top-notch solution providers to the industry, and a who’s-who of attendees, IRCE is not to be missed.
Held at McCormick Place West from June 7-10,
IRCE combines the best of hands-on workshops, education sessions, and an exciting exhibition floor with over 250,000 square feet of space.
So put on your walking shoes, book your flight to Chicago, and keep reading to find out why IRCE is a ‘must’ on your trade show attendance list.
There are only a handful of retail events in North America that can truly be considered world-class.
IRCE is definitely among them.
But the sheer expanse of the venue and 600+ exhibitors means if you’re planning on attending and want to get the most out of the show, you’d best have a game plan.
In spirit of what we’ve found valuable in previous years VL has exhibited at IRCE, here’s a short list to help you get started in your planning process:
1. Use the Exhibitor List to Your Advantage
One of the many great things about IRCE is how well they organize their exhibitors. Every exhibitor is listed on their website, and each exhibitor has their own mini-webpage detailing who they are and where you can find them at IRCE, what they do, products/services they offer, and if there are any special promotions occurring at their booth. But this still requires knowing who’s who. We suggest taking a quick look at the event floor map for ideas before using this tool – but fair warning, you might need a magnifying glass.
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Your best bet for planning your time at IRCE is their great Jump on your IRCE 2016 planning tool, which is like a matchmaker for planning who you might want to stop and talk to. This tool asks a few short questions, and then provides you with a customized guide for IRCE 2016. Very useful!
2. Work the IRCE Agenda
You might be tempted to just skim the IRCE 2016 agenda, or maybe you plan on figuring things out when you arrive at the show on June 8th. But there’s over 200 expert speakers scheduled to give presentations at IRCE this year – that’s a lot of reading (or skimming).
But IRCE has anticipated the problem of helping you figure out what sessions are worthwhile for you to attend, and which ones you should probably skip based on a number of factors.
Of course, you can sort by date and title, and search the entire database of sessions by keyword – a standard for most exhibitions and conferences. But you can also sort by track or workshop, which allows you to narrow your focus to themes that are most relevant to you.
But ultimately, our best advice here is to plan ahead. IRCE is equally massive in scale and events – don’t wait until the last minute to plan out your time!
3. The Oasis in the Desert: Featured Areas
You know what the most popular section of every trade show – regardless of size is? Whichever space has chairs and/or free food (or water)!
IRCE of course has a plan for your sore feet and parched throat: Featured Areas. I count 10 official featured areas on IRCE’s list for 2016, including the ever-popular coffee bar and phone recharging stations.
But there’s a secret about these areas – they’re one of the best spots to network. Some of the best conversations we have at trade shows are when we’re having lunch. Because space (and seating) is always at a demand at these shows, you’re almost always forced to share a table with a stranger. Why not make some small talk over lunch or your coffee? You never know where it might lead!
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See you at IRCE!