Internet Retailer to address role of Web in sales

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The Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition June 4-7 in San Jose will examine how the Internet has changed the face of retailing.

Last year's Internet Retailer Conference drew 3,300 attendees and this year's organizers expect 4,000 total delegates as well as 250 exhibitors, up from 189 last year. The theme is "The Web: Powering the Reinvention of Retailing," promoting the idea that all retailers should be online in order to compete.

"The theme reflects the reality that the Internet has become an integral part of all retailing and is not just another channel," said Kurt Peters, editor in chief of Internet Retailer, Chicago. "In fact, the whole notion of a multichannel retailer has become outmoded and is redundant. No retailer will be able to succeed without understanding the Internet's role in all aspects of retailing, from selling online to managing stores and procuring merchandise."

Sam Decker, vice president of marketing and products at Bazaarvoice, Austin, TX, will be in attendance for the fourth year in a row. Bazaarvoice, a user-generated services firm will have a booth in the exhibit hall. According to Mr. Decker, some industry trends include increasing costs and decreasing return on investment of pay-for-performance marketing and an emerging need to take customer-to-customer marketing to the next level.

"Our goals are to discover new trends in online retail and share findings with clients and prospects," he said. "I expect to meet a lot with clients, partners and prospects to uncover new challenges they face and uncover opportunities where user-generated content can help."

Veteran attendee Demandware will also have a booth at the show and will use it as a place to discuss the launch of its new merchandising enhancements to its On-Demand eCommerce Platform. The product upgrade includes more than 30 new advanced promotion types, catalog-based enhancements and improved e-commerce search. The e-commerce services firm will also use the event to announce new rich merchandising partners.

"The retail community is very tight-knit and Internet Retailer provides the opportunity for face-to-face meetings and networking," said Scott Todaro, senior director of product and industry marketing at Demandware, Woburn, MA. "It is important for Demandware to stay in touch with the retail community not only to convey our messages, but to learn from the current trends in online retailing. Many of our customers are attending the event, which provides us with another opportunity to update them on new features, partnerships, and services."

Graeme Grant, vice president of sales and operations at e-commerce services firm Allurent, Cambridge, MA, is coming back for his second year in a row.

"Our goal is to talk to leading retailers who recognize that now, more than ever, a superior online experience is vital to competing effectively online," he said. "Internet Retailer provides an opportunity for us to talk to retailers to get a sense of the challenges they are facing and discuss ways that our products can help address their concerns in sustainable and easily manageable ways."

Bruce Sellers, president of Shop.com, will be attending for the fourth year in a row. Mr. Sellers said that he plans to address the challenges of search engine strategies at his booth.

"Even the biggest of the big brands have single-digit market share and the Web is so vast that it is extremely difficult for individual merchants not to get lost in the SEM [search engine marketing] ocean of paying for clicks and praying for orders," he said. "So, we expect the industry to be looking for other cost-effective ways of attracting new customers and incremental orders."

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