The Nextopia team just returned from a whirlwind of a trip down to Chicago for IRCE 2015. Celebrating the 11th year of the conference and exhibition, IRCE is the flagship event of the eCommerce industry. The largest event of its kind, the Nextopia team joined retail trailblazers from every segment of the industry to showcase top eCommerce and retail trends.
Hosted at McCormick Place, the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition ran from June 2nd to June 5th. This year, over 14,000 attendees came together to make it the biggest year yet! Showcasing speakers, expert advice and industry expertise, Nextopia had the opportunity as a silver sponsor, to showcase its leading on-site search and navigation technology.
Throughout the expansive exhibition hall, Nextopia made it easy to be found by eCommerce retailers, by hosting three booths. Ringing true to the foundation of our product, our CEO, Sanjay Arora said it best – “if you can’t find it, you can’t buy it!”
Day 1: Tuesday, June 2nd
After breakfast and a few coffees at the airport, the team hopped on an early flight out of Toronto, and touched down in Chicago around eleven in the morning. Tasked with setting up our booths, our team got to work setting up furniture, displays and Canadian swag for our clients, partners and booth visitors. With three booths this year, the team was not short on things to do to get ready for the show’s late afternoon start.
The doors opened at 4pm and the crowds came flooding in. The Nextopia team was eager to greet everyone at our three booths, located at various points across the expansive 250,000 square-foot floor. This opening reception marked the first opportunity to chat with retailers, partners and clients, all eager to learn about on-site search and navigation in the changing eCommerce landscape.
After the opening reception came to a close, the Nextopia team packed up and headed to Giordanno’s, in the heart of the downtown district, for some world-famous deep dish pizza. After a little too much pizza and team bonding, the group headed over to the Chicago Sports Museum to attend the Magento IRCE After Party, and support one of our trusted partners. Wii games, a photo-booth and mingling amongst like minded experts made for a fun evening.
Day 2: Wednesday, June 3rd
Wednesday marked the first full day of IRCE 2015. The group got up bright and early to host a Nextopia Client Appreciation Breakfast. With everything from breakfast burritos, to bagels and muffins, the catering team at McCormick Place made sure that no one left on an empty stomach. The breakfast gave the team a great opportunity to sit down and chat with current clients, to learn more about their Nextopia experience. It was a great opportunity to put some faces to names and learn more about various eCommerce industries. A special mention to the brave souls from Aunthenteak, Mary’s Tack and Feed and Woodland Manufacturing who bravely joined us on camera at such an early hour!
The team then hit the floor at 9am, decked out in their matching green shirts, and kept busy throughout the day, providing free site evaluations to online retailers, and sitting down with partners and the media. Nextopia proudly showcased our leading on-site search and navigation solutions to both vendors and visitors alike. Many show visitors were thrilled to pick up a Nextopia mug or a bottle of Canadian maple syrup, which was handed out at our booths.
Following an exciting day the team headed to the House of Blues to catch the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. With each team member decked out in match Blackhawks jerseys, we sure got into the hometown spirit amongst clients and partners.
Celebrating a Chicago win, the team went to the Kings of Commerce Rooftop After-Party hosted by Groove, Bigcommerce, HubSpot and ThinkGlobalRetail.com on the rooftop of the Godfrey Hotel. The team had a chance to catch up with partners and enjoy a few appetizers while taking in the view of Chicago.
Day 3: Thursday, June 4th
Thursday marked the last day for exhibitors at IRCE 2015. Similar to Wednesday, the Nextopia team came dressed to impress in lime green and had a great time meeting with clients, vendors and partners. The day flew by, and soon enough the team was packing up and tearing down our booths to catch an evening flight back home to Toronto. Sad to leave the beautiful weather of the windy city – Nextopia is sure to make it back soon!
The IRCE app made it easy for the Nextopia team to connect with like minded eCommerce experts across the conference and exhibition. In fact, it became a competition amongst retailers and exhibitors who would be on top of the leader board! Our team is already brainstorming ways to come out on top for 2016.
Big thank you to the organizers of IRCE 2015 and all of the fellow exhibitors and clients who made Chicago and IRCE such a pleasant experience – Until next year!