It's been 20 years since Jeff Bezos introduced the world to online shopping with the launch of Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), but most retailers are still struggling to leverage the Internet and, more recently, mobile devices. In the meantime, consumers are embracing online and mobile innovations enthusiastically. Rather than fearing the transformation, savvy investors in the retail sector are snatching up e-commerce companies.

Sterling Partners is one of the private equity firms capitalizing on e-commerce. The Chicago firm paid $109 million to take e-commerce services company Innotrac Corp. private in January. Innotrac provides e-commerce fulfillment, reverse logistics, call-center support and digital technology integration to retailers globally. (See video below.)

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