It is our practice at Internet Retailer to spend the summer carefully analyzing our business and market and making detailed plans for the coming year. After growing our business three-and-a-half-fold in just the last two years, I don’t suppose we’d be faulted for deciding to coast next year. But coasting is not in our genes, and we spent the last few months putting together ambitious plans to take our business to even higher levels of performance and growth. I am delighted to share with you some of the highlights of what we have in mind for 2007.
Internet Retailer 2007 Conference & Exhibition. Much of our planning was focused on leveraging the success we enjoyed with our Internet Retailer 2006 Conference and Exhibition, which drew 3,400 attendees and established itself as the world’s largest e-retailing event. Our goal for next year is to establish this conference as one of the fastest growing trade shows in the country. We are planning to draw 5,000 attendees to the San Jose Convention Center, where IR2007 will be held June 4-7. We expect to have 100 e-retailing pros speaking at the conference-a third more than this year. While they will be addressing a wide variety of e-retailing trends, practices and strategies, their sessions will be linked by a common theme: how e-retailing is igniting a revolution that is redefining and reshaping the entire retail industry. The conference agenda will also respond to attendee requests for separate tracks devoted to larger and more advanced e-retailers and to merchants-large and small-who are still learning the e-retailing ropes. We’ll be holding another retail web site marketing workshop prior to the main conference. This year’s workshop drew more than 1,100 attendees. And we’re adding two new workshops-one devoted to online payments and security and another to web site design. Finally, we are planning another major expansion of the exhibit hall, which this year held 232 booths and next year will grow to 350 booths-two-thirds of which have already been sold.
Guide to E-Commerce Technology. Two years ago we published the definitive Guide to E-Retailing Resources, which profiled 380 vendors of e-retailing solutions. Far from a buyer’s guide dominated by paid listings, the 248-page Resource Guide contains descriptions of each vendor’s solutions, company background, product pricing and a list of key retail clients. It proved invaluable to merchants researching the e-retailing solutions market. By the end of this year we will replace this guide with a 300-plus page Guide to E-Commerce Technology, which will update the objective vendor information and include profiles of 530 e-commerce solutions providers.
Top500Guide.com. Ever since we first published our market-leading rankings and profiles of America’s 500 largest e-retailers based on annual sales, we have been asked when that information would be available online. The answer is January, when we will launch Top500Guide.com. Because all the data published in the Top 500 Guide on each retail web site (including annual sales, growth rates, URLs, retail and industry category, web traffic, performance ratings, conversion rates, average tickets, key solution providers used, top management and corporate ownership) will be accessible from an online database, the web version of the Top 500 Guide will allow subscribers to manipulate the data to make their own retail web site comparisons, in much the same way that MLB.com allows baseball fanatics like me to compare players and teams on every imaginable measurement of performance.
We’ve got other new products in the wings-but none I can talk about just yet. Suffice it to say, we won’t be coasting.
Jack Love, Publisher