The Internet Retailer Conference is by far the largest eCommerce show in the world. The 2013 version had over 9,500 attendees and 600 exhibitors!

Check out the video recap below to get our take on the show:

Video Cliffs:

1. Inbound Marketing is REAL!

The life of a marketer can be a lonely one and sometimes it feels like your content is falling on deaf ears. We have been plugging away on the CPC Strategy blog for 6 years and this year’s IRCE was awesome validation for our marketing team.

There were a ton of attendees who came up to the CPC Strategy booth and told us how much they love our blog. Our Product Listing Ads Guide also received a ton of praise from both merchants and other agenices and it’s a pretty awesome to be acknowledged as the voice of an entire industry.

2. All The Exhibitors Are Working Together.

I used a different term in the video but I’ll keep it PC on the blog. There is a lot of partnering going on with the IRCE exhibitors. Everyone tries to form ally networks where they can exchange clients and recommend their favorite vendors.

This is increasing the value of the relationship. The exhibitors who have the best relationships and trust with their clients will win in the long run.

3. Dinners > Huge Parties.

This was the first year where we hosted a dinner with our clients and partners and it was definitely more valuable than attending the mega parties that get a lot of buzz. While we enjoyed the eBay/Magento event at Public House on Tuesday night, it confirmed just how difficult it is to network at a crowded event with an open bar.

The parties are great for bonding with your team but a dinner and/or private happy hour is a much better opportunity to build trust with your clients.

All in all it was a great show and we look forward to seeing you at IRCE 2014!

Video Transcript:

Hello, everyone. I’m Rick Backus, from CPC Strategy. I’m making this video
because it’s our Internet Retailer Conference recap. We just got back from
Chicago, it was a great week. We were honored to speak at IRCE. I actually
spoke about Google Shopping, which is our bread and butter as an agency. It
was really cool to get a platform to talk about Google Shopping; there’s a
lot of misinformation about it. To share our expertise with a room of over
500 retailers was a great experience. Thank you to IRCE for letting us
speak, we appreciate it.

I just want to give 3 key takeaways that we saw from the show this year.
The first one was just that all the hard work that we’re doing in content
marketing with our blog and with our videos, it’s starting to payoff. There
was a lot of people who would come up to our booth and say, “Oh, my God.
Are you Andrew Davis? I see you on the CPC Strategy blog. Are you Mary
Weinstein? I see you on the blog all the time.” To have people actually
know who we are individually and be such big fans of the blog, it shows us
that our content marketing is paying off.

Also, this is our third year of exhibiting at IRCE. The first year, most
people didn’t know who we were. Just a heads-up to the other exhibitors,
continue to stick with it. There’s a lot of people from larger brands who
came back to our booth this year and they’re like, “It takes me 2 or 3
years to start recognizing the companies.” The fact that you guys are still
here, they know that we’re not going to go out of business tomorrow.
Continue building the brand. Sometimes I know it feels like it’s not
necessarily leading to instance results, but everyone who’s Tweeting,
sharing your stuff, and commenting on your blog posts, they’re real people
and they can be potential clients. When you go to the conference and you
meet them, it’s a pretty awesome experience.

The second trend that I’ve notice is that there’s a lot of, for lack of a
better word, incest that’s going on with the exhibitors. Out of 600
exhibitors, there’s weird spider web combinations of everyone working with
everyone. There’s a lot of really cool technologies, but with that, I think
the importance of relationships within the e-commerce community just
continues to grow. You’re clients are going to be loyal to you based on
their relationship with you. If you try to compete on features; our
technology does this and our technology does that, realistically, all of
these exhibitors are starting to work together, so the exhibitors that have
the relationships are the exhibitors that will continue to grow their
companies. The ones that don’t have the relationships, they’re going to be
in trouble because it’s hard to differentiate your brand and your business
solely based on the features of your product.

The third trend that I’ve noticed is the events always sound a lot more
cool than they really are. For instance, and it’s not knocking Magento or
eBay, they threw a great event, but it was at the Public House. It’s so
crowded in there that it’s really difficult to make good connections and
continue conversations. Inevitably, you see a couple faces that you
recognize and you go hang out with those people. This was the first year
where we actually threw a dinner; we co-hosted a dinner with one of our
partners. Sitting down and really having an intimate conversation with your
clients and potential clients, it helps to build a real relationship in a
way that you just can’t do at a large networking event. If you’re
exhibiting, take a percentage of that money that you would be spending on
your other marketing expenses, try to do even a small dinner. I fought it
for a long time because they’re expensive, but I think it’s going to be a
good investment for us and I highly recommend it.

That’s it. I’ve already talked a lot longer than I was anticipating. It was
an awesome IRCE for CPC Strategy. It was so cool to meet our clients. To
our clients that we met, thank you. To new potential clients, you know what
to do, time to sign up with us. Just kidding, you don’t have to but you
probably should. I’m Rick Backus, and we are CPC Strategy.

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About the AuthorRick is the CEO of CPC Strategy. He started working with online retailers at PriceGrabber and co-founded CPC Strategy in January of 2007. Today CPC Strategy manages the comparison shopping campaigns for over 100 retailers. See all posts by this author here.