April 26, 2011, 11:43 AM

IRCE Exhibit Hall sells out

A record 500 companies will exhibit technology and services at the e-commerce conference.

Lead Photo

A session at last year's IRCE.

A record 500 companies will exhibit their technology and services in a sold-out Exhibit Hall at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 set to take place in San Diego June 14-17.

Booth space in the Exhibit Hall sold out today, seven weeks ahead of the opening of the world’s largest e-commerce show. The 500 companies exhibiting represent a 20% increase over the 417 exhibitors at IRCE 2010 in Chicago, which set a record for online retailing events.

IRCE’s organizers also project record attendance for the seventh annual IRCE. Based on current registrations, 7,200 industry participants are expected at IRCE 2011, which would be an increase of 12% over last year’s record attendance of 6,432.

IRCE organizers always have been careful to keep the increase in the Exhibit Hall in line with the growth of attendance at the event, says Steve Rogers, exhibition director for Internet Retailer events.

“With the explosive growth of attendance last year, we felt confident that the show could handle a larger growth in the Exhibit Hall and thus created a hall that could house up to an additional 100 exhibitors,” Rogers says. There is 23% more space for exhibit booths at IRCE this year in the 218,000-square-foot San Diego Convention Center. The number of exhibitors is only 20% higher because of companies taking bigger booths this year, Rogers says.

“We knew immediately after last years’ show that the demand to exhibit at this event was strong when over 50% of last years’ exhibitors signed up for the 2011 show within two weeks of the 2010 event,” he says. “The sales have remained strong and steady throughout the year.” IRCE will now open up a waiting list for companies that still wish to exhibit in San Diego; there has been a waiting list for IRCE’s Exhibit Hall in each of its seven years, except one, Rogers notes.

Attendance at IRCE has grown at a compound annual growth rate of more than 40% from 2005 to 2010, even as many business-to-business trade shows were declining, says Jack Love, CEO of Vertical Web Media LLC, which puts on IRCE. “We’re benefiting directly from the growth of the online retailing industry,” Love says.  “We’re the show everyone has to attend to stay connected to all aspects of that industry.” Vertical Web Media also publishes Internet Retailer magazine, the Top 500 Guide, the IRNewsLink and Mobile Commerce Report newsletters and operates InternetRetailer.com.

IRCE’s organizers are taking steps to help attendees find their way around the massive Exhibit Hall. Large touch-screen monitors will help attendees find the exhibitors they’re looking for. And a centrally located Navigation Desk will be staffed by technology experts from e-commerce consulting firm FitForCommerce who can help attendees decide which exhibitors can best address their needs.

The Exhibit Hall at IRCE 2011 will be 28% larger in square footage than last year’s show floor, which covered 170,000 square feet. Part of the space for the first time this year will go to a 200-seat, E-Commerce Technology Theater where exhibitors will present 30-minute informational sessions about their products and services.

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