Fewer people but still right audience at Shop.org's FirstLook

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ORLANDO, FL - Attendance at this year Shop.org's FirstLook conference attendance was a little lesser than many exhibitors expected, but most were still pleased with the people who showed up.

Jeff Keller, of Arroweye's Cardways.com, a Vienna, VA-based custom online greeting card retailer, said that he liked the intimacy that this show offered and the quality of content. He attended FirstLook last week for the fourth year in a row.

"The interaction here is more honest and genuine here than at any other show," he said. "I think that the attendance is good, and I'm pleased with the people who have turned out."

Rob Weber, co-founder of Intellifit, Philadelphia, used the show to launch the company and demonstrate its customized apparel product offering. The Intellifit system lets shoppers walk into an Intellifit booth and have radio waves gather the measurements of their body. Then a printout tells the shopper which brands and sizes will fit them best.

Mr. Weber said that he was pleased with the turnout and that it was bigger than expected. But to some, the numbers are lower than to be desired.

"It is a couple of hundred people smaller than last year, and that makes a difference," said Joy Lee, senior marketing manager at Channel Intelligence Inc., Celebration, FL. "There are less people here, but then again, the right people are here."

There was speculation that the smaller turnout was because of other shows.

"I think it's because this year's show is later than usual and is running too close to eTail next week [in Palm Desert, CA] and so people are picking one or the other," said Vince Beese, vice president of marketing and sales at Experian's Cheetahmail, New York.

Despite being disappointed with turnout, Mr. Beese still managed to find the show's content to be valuable. The show featured a number of forward-looking sessions dedicated to looking at what retailers should expect in the next five years.

"The sessions at this show are really good because they tend to be more educational and less commercial than at other shows," Mr. Beese said.

Most of the exhibitors, who are mostly purveyors of online marketing and e-commerce platforms and software for retailers, were there to meet with retail clients. Many saw the potential in networking with other e-commerce vendors.

"This show has been a good place to make contacts for partnerships," said Ross Krisel, director of marketing at Prosodie, Plantation, FL. "During the sessions when the retailers leave the floor, I'm networking with other vendors to try and develop partnerships and add value to my customers."

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