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Recommendations from IRCE
How to head home with a "win" from industry events.
Recommendations from IRCE
How to head home with a "win" from industry events.
June 10, 2018
The Internet Retailer Conference and Expedition (IRCE) 2018 was a huge event. HUGE! The exhibit hall boasted three- story booths, theatrical lighting, and over six hundred exhibitors. Held at McCormick Place in Chicago (America’s largest convention center), IRCE organizers expected a crowd of ten thousand, and I don’t think they were disappointed! The conference included more than 130 presentations, including full- day workshops on a variety of topics.

With so much to see and do, how do you make the most of an event like this? I have two recommendations:

1) Wear comfortable shoes

2) Decide what you need to get out of the show to make it a “win,” and make that your focus

In my case, I decided to forego the conference, and stick to the exhibit hall. Not only was there a cost-savings to this limited attendance approach, but I was able to focus completely on networking with solutions providers- my “win” for the show. I didn’t feel pressured to make quick connections between conference speakers, and had ample time to learn from some of the biggest brands in the industry. I was also able to take advantage of lulls on the show floor, when exhibitors had a chance to breathe and talk about what they are seeing in the industry (not just trying to move on to the next sale). There is no better way to stay on top of what is changing in the industry, than listening to the stories of the people and companies who are driving that change!

Not sure where to start when deciding on your plan of attack? Do your homework! IRCE boasted a robust “Connect” portal, making it easy to research exhibitors and schedule an appointment or send an email to start the conversation before the show. Also, look for event-sponsored matchmaking or exhibit hall tours. IRCE offered both to ensure attendees got the most out of their experience and connected with the right people. Downloading the event app can help keep you organized- IRCE even created a walking map of your saved favorite exhibitors, making efficient use of time (and steps!).

If you are only taking advantage of the opportunity to make introductions to new contacts and businesses on the exhibit floor, you’re missing out! There is a great opportunity to have face-time with existing partners, vendors, and industry contacts that are in town from all over the country. This makes it easy to find a lunch partner (or cocktail hour, if that’s more your speed), while maintaining your professional contacts and growing your network.

Whatever your reasons for attending a large show like IRCE, comfortable shoes and a focus on your desired outcome will keep you from feeling over-extended and missing out on a great experience!
Heidi Albers
Business Development ~ ConnectShip | iShip
Heidi joined ConnectShip | iShip in 2018 as a Channel Sales Supervisor with a focus on new VAR relationships and product sales. Heidi began her career with UPS in 2004 as a seasonal loader, in 2010, she accepted a position as a Strategic Sales Support Representative. Heidi has held positons as Middle Market and Enterprise Account Executive and was promoted to Healthcare Senior Account Manager in 2016.