April 29, 2011, 12:22 PM

IRCE attendance shifts into overdrive

IRCE attendance shifts into overdrive.

With only six weeks until the start of the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, the world's largest e-commerce event is on track to get even bigger. Registration is tracking 12% ahead of last year's pace and we now expect 7,200+ total attendees. Exhibiting companies will grow from 417 last year to 500 this year.

To us at Internet Retailer, the growth is no mystery. E-commerce held up well during the recession, and now with the recovery online sales are growing much faster than sales in stores. That means any retailer serious about being a competitor in five years is investing in the web business now. And the competition is heating up; that's why the theme of this year's conference is "E-Commerce Shifts Into Overdrive: The Race Is On."

There is no better place, other than in the pages of this magazine, to find all the information you need to be a successful online merchant. With 175 speakers in 100 sessions to learn from, 500 suppliers to the industry showcasing leading e-commerce technology on the Exhibit Hall floor, more than 7,000 colleagues to network with, and a fabulous party on Wednesday night to facilitate networking, the Internet Retailer Conference has become the show that e-retailing executives have to attend to stay connected to all aspects of their industry.

That ability to network—not only at the Wednesday night party but also at breaks and lunches and even by talking to the people sitting around you in session rooms—is the key to this show. This year we are planning a party that will facilitate networking. We are taking over a several block area of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter—just a short walk from the convention center and all the convention hotels—where we will hold a block party featuring the 8-piece, high-energy band L.A. All-Stars. Attendees will be invited to sample food and drinks in the local establishments and enjoy the music on the street.

The intent when we developed IRCE in 2005 was to create a meeting place for everybody in the industry. As with every IRCE since its inception, attendees will have the opportunity to meet executives from outside their usual spheres: Manufacturers who are on the web with their branded sites; web-only merchants who have changed the retailing game and who are growing faster than any other segment of e-commerce; retail chains who are realizing that the web must be a permanent part of their strategies; catalogers who are shifting their orientation from print to electronic; travel, hospitality and service providers; and many others. The Internet Retailer Conference is where the entire e-commerce industry meets in one place.

All of this—outstanding content, the largest place to meet all the important suppliers to the industry, unparalleled networking opportunities and a great party in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter—come at the lowest price of any e-commerce event. This is the seventh Internet Retailer Conference and we have not raised our prices since it started. We keep the price low because our aim is to bring together the broadest audience possible. Our belief is that the best exchange of ideas comes only where diverse executives gather.

We believe we have created an event that really serves the industry—that helps push the industry forward by exposing the largest number of managers and executives to leading strategies and techniques, the largest concentration of vendors and the most extensive networking opportunities.

I always learn a lot and meet many new people at the show. The entire Internet Retailer staff will be at the conference, looking forward to meeting our customers. We hope to see you there.

Kurt Peters, Editor in Chief

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