June 28, 2007, 12:00 AM

E-retailers ramp up their buying

The appetite for technology and services that serve the e-retailing market is stronger than ever.

The Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition has just concluded at the San Jose Convention Center, with more than 4,000 total attendees. They jammed the 93,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall where they visited 245 technology and services vendors. Traffic in the exhibit hall was strong and continual. That tells me the appetite for technology and services that serve the e-retailing market is stronger than ever. In fact, one successful online retailer, who operates a well designed, easy-to-navigate site and understands the marketing ins and outs of web retailing, told me that one of the highlights of the conference was the exhibit hall. “Every single vendor was right on the money in terms of something we need,” he said. “I didn’t have time to talk to all the vendors I was interested in.”

His experience was echoed by others, which is one reason we will be extending the exhibit hall hours at Internet Retailer 2008 in Chicago. But it’s also the reason we produce the issue that you are holding in your hands-or reading on your screen. The demand for technology in this industry is never ending. Even if you’re a successful online retailer with robust growth and great customer satisfaction, your technology needs are continual because of the constant advancement in systems and techniques.

“Change is happening so fast, retailers who invested in their first e-commerce technology three years ago need to figure out-especially if they are growing at 25% per year-how to keep up with new business capabilities,” Kasey M. Lobaugh, head of the retail direct-to-consumer practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP, told senior editor Bill Briggs for a story in this issue.

Lobaugh’s observation is backed up by the results of the exclusive Internet Retailer survey on technology buying intentions (see p. 14), which reports that that fully 78% of the retailers surveyed plan to increase their spending on e-commerce applications and services this year. The survey reports that 10% expect to spend as much as 50% more on e-commerce technology this year, while another roughly 10% will increase their spending from 26% to 50%. 42% will grow their spending between 11% and 25%. Only about a third-34.5%-say their expenditures for new systems and services will grow by less than 10%. This all points to a robust market for systems and services.

So for those attendees who were not able to visit all the vendors they wanted to at the Internet Retailer Conference and for those who were not able to attend, we’re happy to present the 2008 Internet Retailer Buyers Guide, a listing of more than 500 vendors of technology and services to the retailing industry. You can keep this reference on hand until you have the chance to visit the exhibitors at the 2008 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

This work is the result of much effort by our Marketplace sales manager Cindy Wilkins, who joined Vertical Web Media almost a year ago. It is her first Buyers Guide and she has done a superb job in pulling together the myriad information and listings that will help e-retailers of all sizes and persuasions (retail chains and stores, catalogers, web-only merchants and consumer brand manufacturers) make their decisions on technology vendors.

Kurt Peters, Editor in Chief

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