May 2, 2008, 12:00 AM

Key reasons to attend Internet Retailer 2008

When you boil it down to the essentials, there are five reasons e-retailers large and small should attend the Internet Retailer 2008 Conference & Exhibition June 9-12 in Chicago. As an Internet Retailer subscriber, these reasons should have special meaning to you.

1. E-retailing is growing in a stagnant retailing market: The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi gave his running backs a simple rule: Run to daylight. Retailers would be wise to apply this rule to their businesses. Last year, e-retail sales grew by 18% and store sales grew less than 4%. This year, Forrester says online retailing will grow 17% to $204 billion while overall retail sales will struggle to grow at all. It is clear that the web is the only daylight there is in retailing.

2. E-retailing is getting more competitive: The days are over when retailers could do well online simply by putting up a web site that met minimum standards of operability and promote it with basic marketing efforts. As more merchants run for daylight, e-retailing has become a very competitive game in which success requires an ever increasing level of sophistication and knowledge. Web sites that don`t continually improve are losing their sales edge.

3. Knowledge is your most important sales tool: You may invest a lot of time and money developing, enhancing and promoting your retail web site and perfecting your order management and fulfillment operation. But if you don`t invest in educating yourself and your managers on the latest trends and technologies that are bringing success in online sales, then your investment elsewhere is compromised. With 77 separate conference sessions and 140 expert speakers, there is no place on earth where you and your staff can learn more about e-retailing than by spending four days at IRCE 2008. Our registration fees are half that of other, smaller conferences and we offer a 25% group discount to encourage you to provide this vital education experience to others within your organization.

4. The best place to shop for e-commerce solutions: The 130,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall at IRCE 2008 features exhibits of 326 e-commerce solutions providers from every segment of the market. No other conference has an exhibit hall even half this size and scope. If the e-commerce solution you are looking for isn`t inside the Exhibit Hall at IRCE 2008, it just doesn`t exist yet.

5. It`s where the e-retailing industry networks: To be successful in any market, it usually pays to network with other professionals in your business. When it comes to e-retailing, THE place to network is IRCE 2008--by far the largest show in e-retailing. Given current registration trends, we now expect nearly 5,000 e-retailing pros to attend IRCE 2008. They will come from every segment of the e-retailing business--retail chains, catalog firms, web-only merchants, consumer goods manufacturers, wholesalers, consumer service companies, financial service companies, and more. And we offer plenty of opportunities--lunches, dinner parties and the rest--for you to get to know these e-retailers and learn from them.

As the theme of IRCE 2008 states, online merchants are entering the mainstream of retailing. If you`re one of them, these reasons for attending America`s largest e-retailing show should be compelling.

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