Ideas fresh off the wire

Live From Internet Retailer 2015

This year marked the 10th annual Internet Retailer Conference held in Chicago and, with more than 600 companies exhibiting and nearly 90 percent of the e-commerce solutions on the market in attendance, there is no better place to get a pulse on the industry.

Yesterday, we decided to forgo a day in the office in favor of roaming the exhibitor floor to engage with some of the most recognizable and innovative brands in the space. We sat down with a select few to get their take on the show.

First, we spoke with Weebly’s Director of Business Development Chris Sheridan, whose passion for his company’s product was truly inspiring. Weebly is providing an intuitive e-commerce solution that allows entrepreneurs and businesses to build a website on their own simply and without coding. Here’s what Chris had to say:

Weebly WeeblyImage
Powerful and Robust E-commerce Solution That’s Ready When You Are

What is the big buzz at the show this year?
A big message for visitors to our booth this year is that people don’t want to outsource their websites; they want to maintain control and own every aspect of their site and, with Weebly, that’s possible. Consumers are not given enough credit and, in fact, they are way more sophisticated. There is always this analogy; “I want it to be easy enough for my mom or my grandpa.” That’s the wrong analogy. People understand online services and they can build a strong and powerful site on their own given the proper tools.

What can we expect from Weebly in the next 6 months?
Our direction is going to mobile; 30 percent of our traffic is coming from mobile devices, so being easily accessible on mobile is a big deal to us. When we started in 2007, we thought of ourselves as a single product. Now, we think of ourselves as a two-product company.

Is there anything else you want people to know about Weebly?
First, the free plan is something we encourage people to start out on, it’s a plan for people to come in and kick the tires with no risk. Judge for yourself how intuitive the tools are.

Second, whatever is involved in your business, we can help you. There is a powerful robust e-commerce solution that is ready when you are.

What will you make time for while in Chicago this week?
Game 1 of the Stanley Playoffs!

Next, we spoke with Brody Ehrlich, General Manager of Vift, an online video gift service. If you are ever looking to add a little extra spunk to your gift giving, this service is for you.

Vift
More Of You In Every Gift

VIFTImageTell us about Vift  and what makes you unique?
We are the only company that does video gift services that arrive digitally at the same time as a gift. Our competitors are a hassle for retailers and consumers that involve QR codes. We take the hassle away from retail companies and away from the consumer and automate everything.

Why would someone want to send a video message?
It’s a lot more personal and you can customize exactly what you want to say exactly how you want to say it. Our core business, Keeptree, is a private video sharing service. We give people the option with Vift to save their videos in our Keeptree vault, so you can access them whenever, wherever.

Who would get really excited about these things?
Keeptree has a special branded version for the military called Trooptree that we offer for free to all military families so they can communicate across the world.

What are you most excited about doing in Chicago outside the show?
I want to explore the city as it’s my first time here. I also want to watch the Blackhawks game!

Outside of everyone’s enthusiasm for the Blackhawks, we made sure to direct exhibitors to the hottest deep dish and Chicago style hot dog joints in the city.

Keep your eye out on Highwire’s blog next week for the results of our “State of the E-commerce Industry Survey,” straight from the show floor of Internet Retailer.

Written by:
Nicole Plati, an Account Manager in Chicago
Carolyn Adams, a Vice President in Chicago