Dan Naden

Internet Retailer 2007

We’ve all been to conferences. Tech conferences. Broadcasting conferences. Sales conferences – the sky’s the limit. There’s a conference for everything under the sun – literally.

I recently attended the Internet Retailer conference in beautiful San Jose. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, but I hear it is always like that in No. Cal. This isn’t a weather report, however, but a summary of a fine conference. If you work for a large e-commerce player (Walmart.com, Homedepot.com, Jcpenney.com, Amazon.com), or a smaller biz selling anything from golf balls to stringed instruments, this is the place to be.

Like most conferences, this conference offered a litany of workshops and sessions, as well as an armada of businesses pitching their wares on the showroom floor. I enjoyed the schmoozing and knowledge gathering while browsing the exhibitor boots, although the highlight for me was the workshops, sessions, and speakers.

Here’s my Top Five ‘events’ from the conference:
1. Keynote from 1-800-Flowers chairman, Jim McCann. (His informative, inspirational, and downright humorous talk set the tone for a fantastic conference.)

2. Howard Kaplan’s talk on lead conversion. Not only was his ‘speech’ simple and straightforward, he also communicated effectively through slides by focusing on the audience not the screen. Key learning: Don’t make it difficult for your customers to accomplish what it was they came to do.

3. Jennifer Bailey from Red Spade – Was any other attendee at this conference just blown away by this lady’s knowledge around all things Web usability/customer experience? During most ‘workshops’ at Internet Retailer, four speakers usually split the 90 minutes between them. You can tell the ‘rock stars’ of the group by who was asked the questions at the end. Jenny, as you can imagine, received the majority of the questions from her session.

4. (TIE) Craig Horsley from JCPenney.com and Teri Huddleston from Homedepot.com. Their sessions on rich media were spot-on with tidbits on how to effectively market your products through video clips and tours. If you thought online video was widespread now, wait five years. Some of the best video integrations to sell product/drive revenue are in place on these two sites. Note: Check out the grill finder on Homedepot.com. You will sizzling up some brats on your new Weber in no time.

If you are in the e-commerce world now, or are considering a move to that sector, this conference comes highly-recommended. A bonus – next year the conference is in Chitown. If you’ve never been to Chitown in the summer, you are certainly going to fall in love with the city. (Full disclaimer – I am a bit biased; I grew up in the Chicago area.)

Until next time,
Dan Naden

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