October 28, 2004, 12:00 AM

Our Guide to E-Retailing Resources

The Guide to E-Retailing Resources will profile 325 providers of web-based solutions and services designed to help e-retailers enhance their web operations.

As anyone who reads this magazine knows, we believe that a successful Internet retailing strategy and implementation is the linchpin for success in today`s retailing environment. A company that runs a chain of retail stores underutilizes that asset if it doesn`t equip those stores with web-based POS devices, or take orders over the web for pick-up at the store, or leverage its brand by using the web to reach beyond the natural market coverage of its physical locations. A merchant that markets primarily through catalogs is burning marketing dollars if it doesn`t use that catalog to drive customers to a sophisticated web site that can process orders more efficiently than a call center and display many more SKUs than a catalog. And no direct-TV marketer can purport to be an "electronic retailer" unless it understands that in today`s world electronic means the Internet.

But having an enlightened strategy for web-based retailing does not guarantee successful implementation. To be sure, there are plenty of sophisticated tools and services available that help merchants build and operate a first-rate retail web site. And as this month`s cover story explains, more retailers are ready to turn to third-party solution providers to find the web-based retail applications they are looking for.

The challenge is to find the right ones at the right price. Toward that end, I am pleased to announce the upcoming publication of our new Guide to E-Retailing Resources. Similar in its glossy soft-cover design to our highly popular Top 300 Guide to the nation`s largest retail web sites, the 200-page Guide to E-Retailing Resources will profile 325 providers of web-based solutions and services designed to help e-retailers enhance their web operations. Each half-page profile has been researched and written by our editorial staff and has not been paid for or in any way influenced by advertising clients.

As such, the new Guide will be a comprehensive and objective journalistic work that will provide details on each vendor`s products, prices and leading retail clients, along with background information on the company`s management, corporate history and strategy for developing the web-based retail market. Further, the Guide to E-Retailing Resources categorizes the e-retailing industry`s solutions providers into 15 market segments based on the primary types of solutions each firm markets. The Guide makes no vendor recommendations, but it marshals an incredible amount of objective market intelligence to assist e-retailers in making what is clearly their most important investment--buying the tools and services from third-party providers that will make them more competitive.

Finding the right e-retailing vendors is no easy task. The web-based solutions market in the U.S. is huge (about $10 billion annually) and populated by a bewildering array of technology and service providers, many of which are relatively new and unknown. Making an enlightened choice is critical, because that choice could determine whether you wind up with systems that underpin or undermine a retail web business. We will be selling this new Guide for just $44.95, which includes shipping. Given the stakes in making the right vendor choices, I am confident you will quickly recoup this modest investment. You won`t be able to order the Guide to E-Retailing Resources on our web site until mid-December, but if you send me an e-mail (Subject: Resources Guide), I will e-mail you in reply an order form that will reserve a copy for you when the Guide hits the market.

Jack Love, Publisher

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