Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
The two keynote speakers at the Internet Retailer 2007 Conference & Exhibition could not be better suited to deliver powerful messages on the conference theme: The Web—Powering the Reinvention of Retailing.
The purpose of keynote speakers at a major industry conference is to deliver a compelling message about the theme of the meeting. I am thrilled that the two keynote speakers at the Internet Retailer 2007 Conference & Exhibition-the world’s largest e-retailing show, to be held in San Jose, Calif., June 4-7-could not be better suited to deliver powerful messages on the conference theme: The Web-Powering the Reinvention of Retailing. Jim McCann, founder and CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com, and Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix Inc., are luminaries of e-retailing. More important, each has used the web to reinvent key retailing segments.
Jim McCann built 1-800-Flowers.com beginning with a single florist shop in Manhattan in 1985. While he added several stores and became an early 1-800 telephone merchant, McCann revolutionized the retail floral business and became the world’s largest retail florist by taking his company online in 1992. With more than $430 million in online sales, 1-800-Flowers now gets 55% of total sales from the web and is the nation’s 35th largest e-retailer, according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. 1-800-Flowers exemplifies the retailer of the future by using the Internet as the foundation of a retail business, not as just another channel. In his keynote address June 5, McCann will reveal how he used the Internet to create a major retailing business and then used it to expand into new areas, such as candy, gourmet food and gifts, with a much smaller investment than would have been required without the Internet. He also will talk about how the web fundamentally changes how retailers do business.
Reed Hastings has done to DVD rentals what McCann did to the retail florist trade. He founded Netflix in 1999 and soon thereafter made it the leading example of how the Internet transforms retailing. A web-only merchant, Netflix now accounts for nearly $1 billion in annual DVD rentals, about 12.5% of the entire market, and ranks No. 21 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Netflix has forced market-leader Blockbuster to rethink its store-only model. But because it entered the online market late, Blockbuster’s web subscriber base is only a third the size of Netflix’s. And Hastings expects Netflix’s subscriber base will triple to 20 million in a few years. In his keynote address June 6, Hastings will reveal how the Internet transformed DVD rentals, explain how Netflix will evolve in order to continue to prosper in an Internet world and talk about what other retailers need to be aware of as the Internet revolution continues.
With these two e-retailing stars keynoting the Internet Retailer 2007 Conference & Exhibition, the third annual Internet Retailer show, I am confident that IRCE 2007 (the new acronym for the show) will be our best yet. It will clearly be our biggest-with 103 e-retailing experts making presentations in 55 conference sessions over four days. Full details about the show are now available at the conference web site-internetretailer.com/ir2007-and registrations are being accepted there online at attractive early bird rates. We expect more than 4,000 attendees to sign up for the conference, which will occupy the entire San Jose McEnery Convention Center. These attendees will not only benefit from the practical information on web-based retailing that they get from expert conference presentations, they will also see the largest display of e-retailing technology ever assembled-a 93,000-square-foot, column-free exhibit hall featuring booths from 250 e-retailing solutions providers. Check it all out at email@example.com