The Internet Retailer Conference and Exposition (IRCE) is an annual tradeshow hosted by Internet Retailer. In keynote sessions of CEO’s from Walmart and Barnes and Noble, along with Fareed Zakaria from CNN, we listened to some of the top retailers and thought leaders views of what’s to come in the next generation of ecommerce.

The Endless Aisle

Walmart CEO, Joel Anderson shared some best practices for keeping physical stores relevant to the online world. Over a short time, Walmart has added several features to both the in-store and online experience. Features like Endless Aisle, Pay with Cash, and Store Connect, make it easier for consumers to shop both in the store, and online.

Through their omni-channel representation, the experience runs smoother and increases the likelihood that the shopper will find what they want in-store and lessen the chance they’ll go to a competitor. Because the retail focus has shifted from the brand, to retailer to customer, expectations are higher. They want access anytime and anywhere. The key to meeting this demand is “providing physical stores with info-rich online experiences”, Walmart says.

Walmart now offers a QR Code on products so when something is out of stock, it’s still accessible to you. If you scan the product code in store, it will take you to that product online and you can order it while in store, and opt to have it delivered to your house or be notified when it’s available and pick it up at the store. Walmart also created the “Endless Aisle.” Is the tent you’re looking for out of stock? Scan the QR Code and your empty sporting goods aisle is suddenly an in stock, online store, offering the same great discounts.

Because Walmart stores tend to be large, Store Connect lets the user find a sales rep in store. If you text the number on the display, a store employee will come help you find what you’re looking for. By offering store connect, customer support levels are more efficient and customers are empowered to request service when needed. Not to mention, Walmart now has your cell number on file.