Shop.org takes a peek at the future of retailing

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Shop.org's FirstLook 2007, set for Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL, will focus on the future of retailers and customers alike.
The show unites Internet and multichannel retailers with service providers for a look at major issues in the coming years and some innovations aimed at tackling these issues. There are 550 registered attendees, but the National Retail Federation, Shop.org's parent group, expects that number to surpass 650 via on-site registration.
"Online executives from companies such as Yahoo, Overstock.com, Bazaarvoice and Petco will be there to discuss the future of online retailing," said Joan Broughton, vice president at Shop.org, Washington. "Shop.org's FirstLook is different from the NRF's annual convention in that this conference is specifically catered to Internet and multichannel retailers."
FirstLook speakers will discuss online marketing and merchandising and how marketers and IT professionals can identify and plan for site innovations that will keep brands competitive online.
Lorna Borenstein, vice president of product for Yahoo's strategy on youth and education, will discuss social networking's effect on e-commerce. She is in her second term as a Shop.org board member.
"I always walk away from a Shop.org event with fresh ideas to consider and new colleagues in the industry," she said.
Patti Freeman Evans, senior analyst, retail industry at JupiterResearch and also a Shop.org board member, said that sales are strong these days. JupiterResearch, New York, expects online retail sales of $116 billion in 2007, or 5.2 percent of total retail and a 16 percent growth from last year. She will moderate a discussion on the future of online marketing and e-commerce.
"I am expecting a lively conversation about what is in store for online and multichannel retailing in the coming years in terms of new technologies and new consumer experiences retailers can create to enable them to compete in a maturing online marketplace," she said.
Debi Rich, field marketing manager at Allurent, Cambridge, MA, will exhibit the firm's suite of e-commerce platforms for the first time at FirstLook. The company was launched at Shop.org in September 2005 in Las Vegas and exhibited at the Shop.org show last October in New York.
"We are hoping to continue to grow awareness of our brand and our solutions and to evangelize the need to add rich, interactive features to retail Web sites in order to improve the online customer experience," she said.
Ken Goldstein, CEO of shopping search engine Shop.com, will attend to meet face-to-face with clients and to look for new merchant clients.
"Any time colleagues with a shared set of needs and goals get together and brainstorm, great things are likely to happen," he said. "We believe in long-term relationships and tremendously enjoy the casual as well as more structured opportunities to be a part of this vibrant community."

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