One Developer’s Take on the Largest Ecommerce Conference in the World
IRCE 2013 has come and gone, and it was every bit as exciting as I had anticipated. Like previous years, there was an almost incomprehensible list of vendors, events, and speakers. The crowd was larger than previous years, but not unmanageable. McCormick Place handled the foot traffic with ease, making it simple to get from point to point on my list of vendors and events that I wanted to see.
But this isn’t saying anything new; we are talking about IRCE after all. We expect large crowds and plenty of vendors, booths, speakers, and events. So what made this year’s event any more special than previous years? In my opinion, the speakers and events were great, they educated the masses on a handful of topics, but the real surprise this year was something that wasn’t as easy to see.
What really caught my attention immediately was the evolution of the eCommerce industry. This wasn’t a small conference with a handful of platforms and vendors that no one has heard of. This was an arena full of power house players, each fighting for the attention of both retailers and vendors alike.
With each booth being essentially a mini eCommerce ecosystem in its own right, the gloves were off and the promotions were running wild. It was hard to walk more than a few feet without being introduced to a new service or technology. The big platform providers had massive booths, complete with demos and promotional material.
It’s hard to think back and remember, but there was a time when eCommerce wasn’t a household word. When buying pretty much anything required a little effort and travel. Those days are long gone. As I wandered the exhibit hall there were literally vendors for every aspect of what it takes to maintain an online presence.
More impressive is the level of experience and expertise that these vendors have, many of them with literally years of experience as their foundations. Each time I stopped and spoke to a representative I couldn’t help but stop myself and compare to previous years.
The conversations alone were so much more in depth, that I, as a Developer, truly felt immersed. I can’t remember one technical question not being answered and even more impressive, not being answered with a scripted response. The representatives really knew their stuff, through and through, and they were eager to share it all with anyone willing to stop and spare a few minutes.
But, we expect the vendors to be experienced and knowledgeable right? So that alone couldn’t have been all that there was to this amazing feeling, right? Right. Even more impressive than being able to hold a very technical conversation in the middle of the exhibition floor (to which I had several) was that I could literally stop at any point and hear retailers having these exact same conversations as well.
This reinforced what I already believed to be true. The industries’ clientele is getting smarter about what it takes to keep a business profitable and up to date in an industry that literally re-invents itself every year. These men and women are not architects, team leads, or even developers. They are your even day run of the mill project managers, ecommerce directors, etc. Many understand terms, ideologies, and technologies that were almost exclusively talked about in dark corners amongst nerdy techies not long ago.
It’s hard to say when or how this transition occurred, and really, does it matter? The industry is growing and more importantly, maturing. Innovation is clearly healthy and alive, and we here at lyonscg are working harder than ever to keep our clients at the forefront. This is definitely an exciting time to be a developer in an industry that is as challenging as it is rewarding.