Five thousand trailblazers from the world of digital, retail and delivery descended on Birmingham’s NEC from 21st – 22nd March for the eighth annual InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) and eDelivery Expo (EDX).

From the IRUK Top500 to SMEs, attendees were treated to thought-provoking discussions on the future of the retail space from ecommerce titans such as and Google, alongside high-street retailers like John Lewis and Sainsbury’s Argos. Mobile, payments, innovation and the final mile, no retail and delivery stone was left unturned, and it was all wrapped in the most pressing topic of the time: realising the omnichannel customer experience.

Highlights included Rob Pearson, Next’s first Head of Personalisation explaining why personalisation can drive differentiation in the short term.  “Giving customers more of what they want, less of what they don’t, but may soon become the norm. The larger product ranges become, the more important personalisation will become,” he said during his keynote on the Marketing & Customer Obsession channel – one of eight packed Conference tracks.

Elsewhere, Tom Martin, retail intelligence and GDPR expert for e-commerce platform OmniCX, confronted the looming spectre of GDPR and its potential impact on the retail sector. How can the omnichannel customer experience, which relies on customer data, change to accommodate the new regulatory landscape? The transition period will be difficult for many, he suggested, and offered businesses of all sizes tips on navigating the new rules in his practical workshop.

Plus, on the EDX side, Raanan Cohen, co-founder and CEO of technology delivery platform Bringg, outlined how smaller players can compete with the likes of Amazon. Technology, he argued, can bring the variety of options needed to provide the optimal customer experience whatever the customer’s needs. His seven stage plan for the perfect final mile was delivered on time and to an enthused crowd on the Final Mile channel.

Away from the theatres and workshops, the show floor showcased the technologies altering the future of retail and delivery. Virtual reality, robots and cutting-edge software were on display from the likes of Neopost, Storiqa, Quiqup and Magento.

As well as providing food for thought on the most avant garde industry issues, both IRX and EDX presented an ideal venue for hearing the latest industry announcements. Cloud retail management specialist Brightpearl revealed the results of extensive research into the “try before you buy” model, whilst FACT-Finder revealed its AI-driven Predictive Basket technology.

Michael Hocking, Reporter at payments sector website, PaymentEye, said:

“IRX displayed an exciting variety of players in the payments ecosystem, both big and small, and provided me with some valuable insight into the future of eCommerce. It was refreshing to see that forward-thinking, consumer-focused technologies were at the forefront of what IRX had to offer. I particularly enjoyed speaking to Adyen, Storiqa, Klarna and Ingenico about how they’re changing the world of eCommerce worldwide. Looking forward to next year!”

Joe Payne, Head of Audit, Selfridges, said:

“There are a lot of other big and small retailers, people with experience on all different levels, so it’s a fun way to engage with people who are in the same boat as you.”

Tony Heyworth, EMEA Marketing Director, Magento, said:

“Both Magento and our partners had great quality conversations with merchants across the board. The common theme was that many retailers and brands had outgrown their current ecommerce platform and were looking for solutions that could support strategies for growth and differentiation from their competition.

“Post event meetings have already taken place and there is definitely a sense of urgency to remove the stranglehold current systems are placing on their businesses. Companies want to reverse out of the cul-de-sac they find themselves in, especially as many need to extend support for B2B sales, add new brands to their portfolio and expand to new markets outside of the UK.”

Neil Cotty, CEO, GFS, commented on his experiences at EDX:

“EDX is a great coming together of minds within the delivery space, particularly those thinking with a next-generation mindset. The aim of our keynote talk was to show what practical steps businesses can take to accelerate international growth through their delivery approach. This 4-point action plan is particularly relevant for fast-growing SMEs that see the opportunity for global growth but may lack the tools and expertise to work out the ‘how’.

It’s clear from the response we had on the GFS stand that this really resonates. We’re quite unique, being the only brand to combine innovative technology, carrier management expertise, and pro-active customer care to optimise shipping from checkout to doorstep, so EDX is the ideal platform for SMEs to consult with a modern Enterprise Carrier Management company like us.”

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Commerce, SCHUH, said:

“Time outside of the office is precious and I want to get maximum value. There are a lot of people here that I can speak to, fellow retailers to catch up with and lots of great presentations. An efficient event which to me is a great compliment”

Andrian Galkin, co-founder and COO of Storiqa, a blockchain marketplace in the retail space, said:

“This year’s IRX was Storiqa’s first ever e-commerce exhibition. The event was impeccably organised, and the amount of traffic and interest we received from fellow exhibitors, attendees and press was great. We had back to back visitors to our stand!

“We had a lot of interest, advice and encouragement from experts from all parts of the e-commerce sector that our platform showed great potential for helping SMEs find new market prospects. We made some great new contacts and we’re very happy we exhibited.”

Stuart Barker, Portfolio Director, InternetRetailing Events, said:

“We’re really pleased with how both shows went this year, and we’ve seen record-levels of demand across the full breadth of the retail and delivery space. It’s so rewarding to see SMEs rubbing shoulders with Top500 retailers for a couple of days each year at the NEC.

“Feedback from visitors, exhibitors, speakers and attending press has been very positive – once again showing that IRX and EDX are the meeting space for the digital retail industry. Any event of this size and scope is a huge amount of work, but when the dust settles and you receive such kind words it makes it all worthwhile.

“Particularly, this year we have concentrated on creating the perfect balance of education, innovation, interactivity and networking. We have also showcased an upgraded Top500 Lounge for the UK and Europe’s best retailers to call home, because we know networking amongst peers is a huge part of this fast-paced market.

“A huge thanks to all of our speakers and exhibitors and, of course, the InternetRetailing Events team for working so hard to make it another successful year for us. Roll on 2019!”

Next year’s event will be taking place from 3rd – 4th April 2019.

Coming up, the InternetRetailing Conference (IRC) will take place on 11th October 2018 at its new home within the Business Design Centre, London. To book your place visit,


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