Internet Retailer publisher Jack Love pens his annual open invitation for IRCE 2012.
The first use of the term Internet dates back to 1974, when a new protocol was established to link research computers into a high-speed network. It took nearly two more decades before the Internet was put to commercial use. From then on, e-commerce has grown annually at double digit rates, as it did again in 2011.
In 2012, as the Internet celebrates 20 years as a commercial network, it is clear that the 21st is the Century of the Internet. The web defines how we communicate with friends, inform ourselves, choose leaders, and change governments. When it comes to commerce, it defines how we compare, select and purchase goods and services. If the 20th Century was the age of the chain store, the 21st is the Century of the digital store.
Defining the 21st Century Consumer
Web stores reveal the traits of 21st Century consumers. They are more demanding, better informed and in control. They're web savvy and well connected. They're impatient, pressed for time, and seek the path of greatest convenience. In short, the 21st Century consumer prefers shopping on the web—whether from home or the office or on the go.
The web is how all retailers must now connect with the 21st Century consumer—and that is the message of our Eighth Annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition to be held at Chicago's McCormick Place West on June 5-8. By far the world's largest e-commerce event, IRCE 2012 is dedicated to informing all players in e-commerce about the latest technologies and practices for using the Internet to connect with today's consumer. The IRCE 2012 web site, which contains complete details of the coming year's show, is now online for you to review.
We have good reason to expect this year's IRCE will be the biggest ever with more than 7,500 attendees. In just the last two years, total attendance at IRCE has grown a stunning 52% to 7,312 attendees at IRCE 2011 in San Diego. We are doing everything we can to keep the show's growth on track, beginning as always with unparalleled conference content. I believe the IRCE 2012 agenda and speaker line-up are the strongest we've ever had.
An Outstanding Conference Agenda
The IRCE 2012 speaker faculty features 175 experts from all disciplines and all segments of the broader e-commerce market and they will share with attendees the lessons and insights they have learned through their industry-leading e-commerce performance. We are delighted to have as featured speakers such e-commerce leaders as William Lynch, Jr., CEO of Barnes & Noble; Alexis Maybank, founder of Gilt Groupe; Chris Bolte, vice president of @WalmartLabs; and Sam Yagan, CEO of OKCupid.
With five day-long workshops on Day One and Day Four, eight separate Main Conference tracks, three bonus tracks and two mornings of general sessions on Days Two and Three and 100 conference sessions, the IRCE 2012 Agenda offers highly targeted e-commerce insights and intelligence for all e-commerce managers, no matter their company's size, specialization or position on web retailing's learning curve.
We are also repeating last year's successful innovation of inviting a prominent speaker from outside the e-commerce industry. I am delighted to announce that IRCE 2012's Special Guest Speaker is Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN's flagship international affairs program (Fareed Zakaria GPS) and editor-at-large of Time Magazine. A leading expert of global economics and geopolitics, Fareed will discuss the opportunity e-commerce pioneers have in penetrating the global market.
World's Largest E-Commerce Technology Display
IRCE would not be world's largest e-commerce event if its stellar agenda were not matched by its unrivaled exhibition. IRCE 2012 Exhibit Hall will feature a mind-boggling array of e-commerce solutions from more than 570 exhibiting companies occupying a 250,000-square-foot exhibit hall—easily the world's largest display of e-commerce technology.
The size and scope of IRCE 2012 will create a memorable networking experience for all attendees. Each day offers many networking functions, all of which culminate in a spectacular dinner and entertainment banquet at Chicago's famed Navy Pier. No other e-commerce event this year will give you the ability to exchange ideas with so many of your e-commerce peers.
We're thrilled that IRCE is back in Chicago where the show began eight years ago. Please join us for a connecting experience you won't soon forget.