IR Magazine: Coming in the June Issue
Cover Story

Responsive design under the microscope

Responsive design has been heralded by many as the go-to solution for the future of e-commerce web site design because it allows a retailer to render and adapt accordingly a site across all web devices and the retailer only has to manage the one site. But one (of several) distinct criticisms of the design technique is that it can create a drag on site performance and speed, and different iterations of responsive design, such as hybrid responsive, are supposed to have alleviated this issue. For this story, Internet Retailer commissioned a study to evaluate 12 e-commerce sites that use responsive design and benchmark them against industry standards for performance by device. This story reveals the exclusive findings and digs beneath the surface to reveal how responsively designed sites really perform across devices, and takes a critical view of whether this supposed cure-all is truly good for consumers or more a convenience for site operators.

Topics: Responsive design
Feature

Euro/Top 500

This story will highlight the 2013 sales of Europe’s largest e-retailers and their ongoing e-commerce developments, and contrast top-line sales and e-commerce benchmarks between Europe and North America, using data culled from the 2014 editions of the Europe 500 and Top 500 Guide. It will examine Europe’s e-commerce leaders and what role North American e-retailers (and e-retailers from other regions) play in European e-commerce. This story will highlight the fastest-growing and most innovative e-retailers in Europe, with commentary from them about what actions they are taking to achieve this growth.

Topics: Top 500
Feature

What makes e-retailers attractive to investors?

There is plenty of money being raised from private equity firms, venture capitalists and IPOs. And some of it is going to start-up and developing online retailers. But investors don’t part with their money easily. This story will dig into what it takes for an online retailer to get an initial stake, often called seed funding, and what investors look for when the e-retailer comes back from for a Series A and Series B rounds of funding. Are investors primarily interested in revenue growth, customer acquisition, cool technology, proven executives—or some combination? Once they have initial funding, what should fledgling online retailers do to make themselves look like good candidates for investors in the next round? Are venture capitalists afraid that Amazon will cut the rug out of any e-retailer that demonstrates growth? How do the founders of start-up web merchants address that concern? This story will draw on the experiences of online retailers that have raised money in the past year, and the investors who had supplied that funding, to provide straightforward advice on how e-retailers can obtain the capital they need to grow.

Topics: Seed Funding
Feature

Customer relationship management grows up

Using research data from Internet Retailer and other sources, this feature will identify the leading vendors of CRM technology and tools to e-retailers and their standard features. With those vendors identified, the story will look at how e-retailers are (or are not) using CRM technologies, how these CRM platforms are delivered (installed, cloud), and their pricing models. Do today’s CRM systems do everything e-retailers want them to do? Do they easily connect with other operational systems? Are e-retailers able to parse the data stored in CRM databases the way they need to deliver consistent experiences across channels, such as mobile and web? This article will explain what CRM systems do and serve as an informative, useful buying guide for e-retailers shopping for CRM technology.

Topics: CRM
Feature

My kind of town

40 of North America’s largest e-retailers by sales and many more digital entrepreneurs call the Chicago metro area home. With IRCE, the world’s largest e-commerce event, also putting down stakes in the city for its annual conference through 2020, this story will explore the advantages and challenges of basing an e-retail business in the area through the eyes of local e-commerce executives.

Topics: IRCE
Special Report

Cutting-edge techology at IRCE

Technology is at the heart of every e-commerce business, from the e-commerce platform that keeps a site up and running to the warehouse technology required to get an order picked, packed and out the door to the shopper. The fast clip of technology modernization keeps making applications smarter, faster, more accurate and more cost-effective for retailers. Among the reasons e-retail executives come to the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition taking place June 10-13 in Chicago, is to learn about the latest technologies that can help improve their business.

Topics: IRCE
Case Study

How an industrial B2B seller went digital

A general trend pressuring many B2B companies is the shift away from selling primarily through print catalogs and teams of sales reps. Industry analysts at Gartner and Forrester Research cite this trend as a major reason why B2B e-commerce is North America is close to a trillion dollars and continuing to grow. MSC Industrial Supply Co., which provides metal-working tools to manufacturers as well as maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products to all types of companies, set out in recent years to transform to a more digitally focused company. Through its own user-friendly web sites and third-party Internet-based trading networks, and through a new focus on Internet search, e-mail and other forms of online marketing, it has set out to strengthen its position in the highly competitive MRO market. This article will explain the steps it has taken to more effectively acquire new customers, engage existing customers, and help improve how its customers can procure products online more efficiently than in the past.

Topics: B2B E-commerce
Showcase

Better, faster, cheaper delivery

The squeeze is on. Amazon, through programs like Prime, Local Express Delivery (same-day delivery) and even Sunday delivery, is constantly shortening delivery windows, and that’s serving to readjust higher consumers’ delivery expectations. That’s forcing other e-retailers to make their own fulfillment and delivery operations better. This story, through e-retailer examples, will examine how retailers today are shaving down delivery times while also containing (or even cutting) costs the best they can. It will include commentary/insights from analysts and/or consultants about what these improvements can mean for e-retailers’ bottom lines and competitive position.

Topics: Fulfillment
Showcase

Securing mobile payments

With roughly one-fifth of smartphone owners completing financial transactions on their phones (per comScore data from Q2 2013), questions are arising about how secure the transmission of payment and personal data is. This story will look at the security of payments made on smartphones and what e-retailers are doing to secure the sites they serve to consumer on mobile and on retailer-specific shopping apps.

Topics: M-Commerce
Operations

In-depth: WinderFarms.com

Winder Farms began in the 1800s as a dairy that delivered milk to locals by horse-drawn carriage. Today it is an online grocer self-dubbed as a ‘farmers market on wheels’ that operates in three Western states; it sold and delivered to consumers’ doorsteps 10 million products last year. This profile will examine this e-retailer’s unique approach to e-commerce, its management and investors, and how it surmounts a key challenge of online retailing for groceries: the cost of delivery.

Topics: Fulfillment
Technology

Bitcoin and the future of virtual currencies for e-retailers

Through the lens of the headline-grabbing Bitcoin, this story will define what virtual (or crypto) currencies are, what they mean to online retailing today and their long-term implications for digital commerce. Do private currencies, unregulated by any government entity, have a future and are they something e-retailers may benefit from getting involved in? Bitcoin may be the somewhat tarnished leader in the space right now, but do analysts and e-retailers believe these currencies have long-term potential?

Topics: Virtual Currency
Operations

Managing affiliate programs smartly

More than half of the top 1000 e-retailers in North America use affiliate marketing to draw traffic to their sites and, for many, managing these programs is a chore on a long to-do list of e-commerce marketing executives. Sometimes that chore doesn’t get the attention it deserves and the failure to police affiliate programs can let shady affiliates profit from that inattention in the form of paid, but not really earned, affiliate fees. This story will look at how e-retailers and digital marketing managers can manage their affiliate programs smartly, whittle their programs to make them the most efficient and get true value out of what they are paying to affiliates.

Topics: Top 500, Second 500
Showcase

Web site testing for beginners

Testing is the only way to know if a change on a web site is going to produce results. And testing doesn’t have to be difficult to do, assuming retailers are armed with the right tools. This story will walk small retailers through the steps of how to get started with web site testing. It will also dive into the basics, such what vendors are out there, how much their tools cost, how retailers integrate them with their analytics tools and how/when to determine when to extrapolate results.

Topics: Technology

This Month's Issue

Contact a Sales Rep

For information about the latest ad opportunities, contact your regional representative.

Which Region am I in?
Pick a region to contact a sales rep.

Cindy Wilkins

Midwest / Intl. Advertising Manager

Nancy Bernardini

Northeast Advertising Manager

Dave Cappelli

Western Advertising Manager

Judy Dellert

Southeast Advertising Manager

Oliver Love

Classified Advertising Manager

Important Dates

05/07/2013:Ad Close Date

05/14/2013:Ad Materials Due