Yesterday afternoon Nick and I spent time in the Web 2.0 track and were completely dissatisfied with the presentations. The content and delivery were extremely dry, uninspiring, and we did walk away with any key takeaways that are worth your while. Evan spent some time learning about sourcing and merchandising for online retailers and reported that it was a great track with valuable information.
This morning we had a group of great presentations from Jack Love the publisher of Internet Retailer, Larry Freed from ForeSee Results, Neel Grover CEO of Buy.com, Bob Young CEO of Lulu.com, and Jeffrey Housenbold the CEO of Shutterfly.
The KEY TAKEWAYS we received from these speakers were:
Niche’s Rule – Upcoming niche sites are the fastest growing retail sites on the web. Some of these include www.greenmountaincoffee.com with $59M in sales and a 250% growth rate and www.diapers.com with $36M in sales and a 227% growth rate.
Supermarkets Drool – Grocery chains are the slowest to adapt to the online space. Supermarkets are the “800 Pound Gorillas” which are NOT investing in online retailing.
Office Supplies + The Internet = $$$$ - Office supply store sales are dominant in the online channel. A whopping 37% of office supply sales now occur on the web. With the current growth rate the online channel will represent over 50% of office supply sales within a few years and be the first category with a majority of their sales online. Office Supplies is the only sector where the top 3 off line retailers (Staples.com, Office Depot, Office Max) are also the top 3 online players.
Opportunity is Abound - Total Retail sales in the us is $2.6 Trillion with only $166 Billion taking place online. The Internet Retailer 500 make up $102B of those sales with Tens of Thousands of other Niche sites making up the additional $64B. With only 6.3% of Retail sales online there is still a lot of room for growth.
Drop Shipping Rocks – Buy.com does not carry a single product but they sell over 5 Million products on the site! On a side note Buy.com’s CEO was by far the most entertaining presenter of the show so far, he shared the stark contrast Buy.com Y2K at the height of the bubble with the Buy.com of 08 who sported $1.4M of PROFIT in Q1 of 08.
More to come from IRC 2008!
~Micha blogging live from Internet Retailer in Chicago