Like a lot of men, I don't spend a lot of time planning what I'm going to wear. Anyone who has met me will tell you that's pretty obvious. But I am planning to get me a pair of them there Google glasses just as soon as I can. 2014 is the proposed release date I believe. Around £450 the price currently mooted.
Google Glasses, in case you didn't know, are a (reasonably) innocuous looking pair of specs that will enable you to experience augmented reality, with information presented directly in your line of vision, such as map directions, or information about buildings as you pass them and countless other functions yet to be developed no doubt. And that's just for starters.
To tech-minded individuals Google Glasses are undoubtedly yesterday's news, but to a room full of MI retailers it was one of a number of eye-opening moments from web expert John Straw's presentation on online strategy at this year's MIRC conference. Straw dropped in a number of useful nuggets for retailers to consider as part of their online mix such as the fact that there are 4,000 different keyword variations on the word 'guitar' on Google; consideration of On Page Elements (the words you use on your site) to generate traffic; that the use of links to academic sites are the most valuable; using Google Maps to give your shop some free marketing and so on.
For the more capable online practitioners in the room I'm sure it wasn't news, but for the majority of retailers, rooted in traditional bricks and mortar practices, it was completely new information.
Our aim with the MIRC conference is to give retailers something useful that they can take back to their shop. This doesn't mean the goody bag, but something more valuable - constructive advice, solutions to problems or even just a chance to talk to other retailers who can share their experiences. In fact, many of the retailers there found that to be the most worthwhile part of the day.
The panel sessions too give those in the room the chance to share some ideas back and forth with suppliers and retailers. This year's panels were extended by ten minutes to allow for more interaction and more in-depth dsicussion of topics. But to be honest, while they were good and the panelists extremely knowledgeable, they never really quite caught fire in the way we hoped. Maybe the sessions never quite touched upon enough hot topics, because it needed more audience interaction. It's one of the elements that will be looked at again for next year. We need your feedback to help us improve this part of the event. What would you like to see tackled? Would you prefer a different format? Email me at email@example.com and let me know.
In the afternoon, the expo element of the event also pleased and surprised a lot of the suppliers that had taken space, with retailers once again mustard keen to take advantage of new lines, show offers and discounts and again, simply use the opportunity to talk to the people that supply their products.
The key thing to remember about the show is that it is not a small event trying to become a big event. It is deliberately tightly scheduled and intimate because we know that retailers cannot afford much time out of their stores and want to maximise the time they can give to that. So don't expect us to go changing that aspect of it anytime soon. MIRC is a conference and expo not, strictly speaking, a trade show.
We will go off now and dissect what worked and what can be improved upon at next year's event. Your feedback is an important part of that decision-making process. Genuinely. We want an event that ticks all the boxes for everyone that comes. So tell us the good bits and help us work on the other parts.
If you didn't make it along this year, you missed a great day. Ask anyone who was there. We'll be posting as many pics and as much content from it as we can muster in the coming days so that you can revisit anything you found of value from the event.
Hopefully, we'll see you there next year. Thursday June 27th 2013. Don't miss it.