“The best thing about eCommerce is that you can do anything; the worst is that you can do anything.”

With a one blunt observation, President of FreshPair.com, Matt Butlein summed up the complicated nature of the eCommerce industry and the foundation for the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference held in Orlando, Florida last week.

It’s true – eCommerce isn’t easy. It is an enigmatic industry where science and research meets innovation and design. Cursed and blessed with infinite possibility and complexity – eCommerce is anything but simple.

That is why hundreds of members of the eCommerce community gathered at IRWD 2012 last week. Web designers, marketing managers, IT pros, CEOS and more all came in search of eCommerce design and usability strategies, solutions, and the ever-inspirational ‘ah-ha’ moment.

“Ah Ha” – IRWD Attendees Share Their Favorite Conference Insights

So what did the attendee’s find at the conference? What golden nugget of information did they uncover that made them see the light? We went to find out.

  • “The importance of usability testing.” Matt, Store Supply Warehouse, St. Louis, Missouri
  • “How important a guest check-out is.” Amy, Symantec
  • “That each page should have one purpose.” Elizabeth, Steiner Tractors, Lennon, Michigan
  • “The importance of tracking and third party code.” Steve, General Motors
  • “It opened a gate for me in how to use analytics tools.” Yuan Yin Guo,  DealMed Medical Supplies, New York
  • “The idea of starting to build a site design by starting with how it will look on a mobile device.” Brett, Belk
  • “Keeping a consistent branding message across all channels.” Digitally Speaking
  • “The importance of SEO.” Wendy, Traditions Jewish Gifts
  • “We need a whole new website.” This commenter chose not to provide her name as she didn’t want her boss to know she had a lot to learn. Her secret is safe with us.

What Were Our Two Favorite ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments? (And no, we didn’t pay people to say this.)

Among the many tips and tactics shared by the 46 speakers at the IRWD, content was routinely mentioned and positively praised. Mitch Lieberman, Founder & CEO of OneWayFurniture.com, said it best, “You could throw a lot of money at content development or throw a lot of money at not doing it.”

While of course we think “Content is King” should have been the theme of the conference, the IRWD went into a variety of topics that included merging strategies related to the science of usability and the art of design. Trending topics included: user testing, research methods and analytic assessment, as well as achieving appealing mobile design, engaging page structure and image use.

What’s Next From the IRWD

CopyPress had a great time at the IRWD. Not only did we get to meet a ton of great members of the eCommerce community, but we also had an opportunity to learn a few lessons from the best in the industry. We will share some of these insights in a series of upcoming IRWD posts which will showcase case studies, tips and interviews related to the following.

    • “Revving Up Your Retail Web Site with Online Video” Featuring Shannon Wu-Lebron (Director of eCommerce Searchdising, Office Depot) and Craig Wax (Chief Executive Officer, Invodo)

      Image of Shannon Wu-Lebron via internetretailer.com

    • “10 Best Practices to Pick Form the Pack” Featuring Todd Luckey (Senior User Experience Specialist, Usability Sciences) and Mike Sidders (Vice President, E-Commerce, Shopko Stores Operating Co.)
    • “SEO Mistakes That Are Costing Your Serious Money” Featuring Stephan Spencer (Co-Author, “The Art of SEO”) and Tim Elam (Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, BirthdayDirect.com)

      Image of Tim Elam via internetretailer.com

    • “Content Strategy: What Your Site May Need Before a Redesign” Featuring Mitch Lieberman (Founder & CEO, OneWayFurniture.com)
    • “How to Leverage Site Search Across Multiple Platforms” Featuring Seth Freiden (CEO, US Toy Co.) and Shaun Ryan (CEO, SLI Systems)
    • “Beyond Best Practices: Using Innovation to Take Your site to the Next Level” Featuring Nathan Decker (Senior Director of E-Commerce, Evo.com) and Matt Butlein (President, FreshPair.com)

Image of Matt Butlein via internetretailer.com

To all attendees, speakers, fellow exhibitors, and sponsors of the 2012 Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference — thanks for a successful, productive and engaging conference. We hope to see you all next year!

Were you at IRWD 2012? What was your favorite trending topic? Did you have an “ah-ha” moment of your own? Let us know what new tips you plan on implementing into your upcoming eCommerce strategy in the comments!