Internet Retailer Conference 2008 – Caught In The Web

Hi gang,

Large eBay sellers are spending a lot of time these days developing other sales channels, and I am certainly no exception. Multichannel commerce is the way to go for an online seller.

Our latest effort, has been very rewarding to create, and now the challenge is to get some bidness out of it!

Perfect timing for me, then, was the 2008 Internet Retailer conference in Chicago this week. I think every single person who wants to own and run a successful website needs to go to this conference.

The vendor floor is the only reason that I went, however IR does have several keynote speeches from the big time web players, roundtables, workshops, and gobs of other info.

Here’s my overall thought and impressions of my virgin visit to IR in Chi-Town:

1. I don’t know squat about website marketing! Well, I know a little. Enough to ask the wrong companies stupid questions all day. For about 2 hours, I may as well have been at a Hog Calling convention. Once I got the hang of it though, it got much better. I managed to sort all the vendors into certain categories in my head: website creation, webiste management, website analytics, paid search, email marketing, comparison sites, etc. From there I could figure out the right vendor to ask the dumb questions to.

2. Don’t go to a trade show first thing in the morning. I think I walked in right as the vendor floor opened, and so it was me vs. 300 salespeople. I felt like the poor schmo who has to run The Gauntlet on “American Gladiators”, or maybe like the one Amercian in a Jamacian outdoor market. Horrible.

3. Lots of other large eBay sellers were there. There were the shoe guys, the golf guys, other media guys, ipod guys, cell phone guys, the clothing gal, liquidators, etc. There’s no doubt that eBay is losing lots of good product to other channels right now and it’s just going to get worse. Not that they care – their relationship is going well – Buy will do $40 million on eBay this year. What’s funny is that I’ve talked to 3 different sellers who bought items, and Buy went 0-3 in fulfillment – but that’s another tale to tell. was also one of the keynote speakers.

All in all, it was a very good experience. There are certainly companies there that can help us grow our new channels, and I think all online e-commerce people should get out to the next one.


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