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Tue June 8 2010 16:20:42

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

By: Ina Steiner

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It's an appropriately windy day in Chicago, and the Twittersphere is lighting up with tweets about the Internet Retailer conference, with retailers, speakers and exhibitors all announcing their arrival. But as @SativaBella complained, "All of the "Visit booth xxx at IRCE" tweets are obnoxious. We know you're here, tell me something interesting!"

But it's early yet - today there are pre-conference workshops - but the real action begins at 4 pm as show organizers entice attendees to the Exhibit Hall with a cocktail party sponsored by SLI Systems. For the next three nights, attendees will be wooed by parties and events to get face time with vendors and marketplaces, and Internet Retailer has its own party from 7 -10 tomorrow night at the Rooftop garden.

Tomorrow's sessions kick off at 8:15 am with an introduction by Internet Retailer Editor in Chief Kurt Peters on "Where E-Commerce Is Headed" followed by keynotes and then by sessions where vendors and retailers take the stage to share their knowledge and experience with other attendees.

The Small Retailers and Product Sourcing tracks cover marketing, reputation, customer engagement, comparison shopping engines, business expansion, product sourcing, and product line expansion. Look on search.twitter.com for hashtag #IRCESR for this track, which I'm chairing.

Stay tuned for news, I'll do my best to keep it coming, and keep an eye on Twitter.




Update: The Exhibit Hall was busy on the eve of the main conference. People were buzzing about enormous banners hanging on the walls reading "Facebook" in large letters, despite the fact that Facebook was not exhibiting at the show. The banners were the brainstorm of Payvment, which is exhibiting and whose Facebook app lets retailers set up an ecommerce presence on the social networking site.

Expect to hear a lot about Facebook at the show, as retailers try to exploit it as a marketing vehicle, a search engine and customer engagement platform - not to mention an ecommerce platform as well.

But when I talked to Brian Smith of SingleFeed, he said that while retailers should engage customers on Facebook, they shold be driving shoppers to their website when they are ready to make a purchase, since their sites are optimized for retail and include ratings and reviews and cross-sell/upsell opportunities. His company manages product feeds for retailers, and he developed an app that lets retailers use their Google Merchant product feed to display their top products on Facebook - but it sends shoppers back to their website when they click on a product.

Here's Brian explaining more.



The video also gives you a sense of what the exhibit hall is like. The ability to meet face to face with vendors and get demos, explanations and quotes is beneficial. I met with Greg Holden this evening and we mapped out our strategy for covering the next two days of the conference.




Comments (6) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today   Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

by: Foxtrot Printing
Web Site

Wed Jun 9 13:39:25 2010

I wish I could be there, Ina! But I'm glad that we have you to do the legwork for us.

I'm looking forward to reading your blog entries and articles about the event. We need some positive, motivating and optimist information around here! :-)

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today   Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

by: Digby
Web Site

Wed Jun 9 14:49:16 2010

Hi Ina
Looks a very big professional conference.
Great reports from you and Greg.

The lack of participation by the major auction sites, does this mean that Ecommerce is really ingoring them, and that we small sellers should all have our own websites rather than be selling on auction sites ?

And does it mean that you have to change the thrust of your blog from auction sites to single web stores ?

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today   Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 9 16:58:29 2010

LOL - I think the day is coming when the tide will turn and sites like Ebay will be coddling small sellers and trying to lure them back.  Wait till the likes of Walmart get on the net fulltime instead of the half-azzed sites they have now ;-)

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today   Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

by: old timer

Mon Jun 14 09:39:33 2010

Ina, The blog updates last week didn't seem to contain a lot of info on the news from the conference.  Will there be some in depth articles posted this week?

Looking forward to your input.

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today   Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Jun 14 09:57:21 2010

Hi Old Timer,
Yes, I've got more content in podcast, video and article form that will be published in the AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter this week - along with a wrap-up that will be included in Sunday's AuctionBytes Update newsletter.
Ina

Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today   Internet Retailer Conference Kicks Off Today

by: old timer

Mon Jun 14 19:40:35 2010

Ina,

Thank you for the update.  I look forward to your summaries and analysis, as I suspect will other AB readers.

Thanks again.



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