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25/03/2013 | Webreality

Internet Retailing Expo 2013 - E-commerce loses its "E"

Two days at one of the UK's largest and most influential e-commerce gatherings, and what did we take away?

I think mostly a sense that e-commerce has lost its "e". It's a very mature industry now, and there were some clear signs at IRX 2013.

One of them was the surprisingly formal dress code in evidence. Jeans were rare, suits were the norm for the men, and there were way more ties than you might have expected. The PayPal guys in particular looked like the major finance sector player that they are now - not bad for a business founded just thirteen years ago.

Another was the large and attentive audience at the excellent presentation by Kount, the online fraud detection specialists. I was struck by the fact that this was not another buccaneering speech about the riches that lie ahead... it was a much more serious and sobering presentation by a subject expert to a specialist, experienced audience. Maturity personified.

And then there was the fascinating presentation on multi-channel retail given by one of the big innovating beasts of the sector. Their name? Debenhams. Founded in 1778.

IRX 2013 felt like a mainstream retail business event, which is exactly what it is. And, for retailers, e-commerce isn't a "maybe" any more. It's just commerce now.

If you're in retail, and you weren't at IRX 2013, you're missing out. You'd be well advised to attend in 2014.