As retailers assess the just-completed 2010 holiday shopping season, one thing is clear: without the web, many merchants would be crying in their eggnog. Overall retail sales in the make-or-break fourth quarter were up a welcome 3%, but online sales increased 13.5%, and mobile commerce more than doubled.
Online sales growth is but one indicator that the retail landscape is tilting dramatically in favor of e-commerce. E-commerce stocks were up 35% last year, well ahead of the market. Acquisition activity was intense, and venture capital companies are trolling e-commerce waters in search of deals. Giants of the Internet industry are spending heavily on new e-commerce initiatives. When Google last month wanted to withdraw $6 billion from its overstuffed treasury to purchase two-year-old Groupon, and Groupon rejected the offer hoping to do even better down the road, everyone knew that the Internet investment frenzy we witnessed in the late 1990s had returned. The difference this time is that those making investments in e-commerce are pursuing real profit growth and witnessing amazing advances in e-commerce technology.
It is in this supercharged e-commerce market that we proudly announce our seventh annual 2011 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition at the San Diego Convention Center June 14-17. IRCE is the world’s largest e-commerce event by far. Attendance at last year’s show grew 33% to a record 6,437 attendees, and for IRCE 2011 we are looking to grow that number to more than 7,000.
All the elements are in place to achieve that goal. Our just-announced four-day conference agenda includes five concurrent day-long workshops (E-Commerce Technology, Search Marketing, Finance, Social Marketing and Mobile Technology) and a total of 175 expert speakers in 91 separate conference sessions covering every aspect of the competitive e-commerce market. All are bundled under an overarching IRCE 2011 theme: E-Commerce Shifts Into Overdrive, the Race Is On. All speakers will address this theme by instructing e-retailers on what it will take for them to prosper in today’s fast-growing but also hyper-competitive market.
As always, IRCE 2011 speakers have been hand-picked by our 13 full-time editors based on their expertise on their assigned e-commerce topic. We reject an approach taken by some conference organizers to choose speakers from companies which pay for major sponsorships at the show. Nor are we encumbered by the requirements of association shows to select speakers primarily from their membership ranks. What attendees see and hear at IRCE are speakers that represent a market-wide mix of e-commerce experiences and strategies. Like the attendees they address, IRCE speakers are drawn from every sector of the e-commerce market. In short, our agenda has but one agenda: to equip e-retailers with the comprehensive and objective information they need to succeed in the coming year.
The Exhibit Hall at IRCE 2011 will also provide a showcase for the vast majority of e-commerce solution providers to display their latest technologies and services. With 475 exhibiting companies displaying their wares in a 218,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall, IRCE 2011 will again house the largest display of e-commerce technology on the planet. More than ever before, success in e-commerce is dependent on the solution providers you choose to enhance your web business. Given the online sales results in 2010, you can bet that 2011 will be a year in which all major players in the e-commerce arena make significant investments in tools to upgrade their e-commerce platforms. IRCE 2011 is the very best place to look for those tools.
Visit IRCE.com for complete details on this year’s blockbuster show. Register by March 31, 2011, to pocket the $200 Early-Bird discount.