General Ecommerce Tips

Don’t Miss These Top Ecommerce Conferences in 2019

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Don’t Miss These Top Ecommerce Conferences in 2019

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One of the best ways to keep current with trends in the market is by attending ecommerce conferences. Not only are they great for listening to motivational speeches by executives from the world’s largest retailers, these events provide excellent networking opportunities that can help your business grow.

In this post, you’ll find some of the top ecommerce expos worldwide and what you can expect from attending them, and you’ll also learn how to effectively prepare to for a conference.

Top Ecommerce Conferences to Attend

1. National Retail Federation’s Retail Big Show.

New York, NY

Every year, the NRF’s Retail Big Show attracts nearly 40,000 professionals interested in the latest trends in brick-and-mortar retail and ecommerce.

With dozens of speakers, ranging from big-name companies to promising start-ups, the Retail Big Show is easily one of the top events in the United States for networking and gaining further insight into the direction of online retail.

2. eTail West.

Palm Springs, CA

eTail West is where innovators and industry disruptors meet to discuss future strategies and trends in ecommerce and traditional.

With a focus primarily on the United States market, eTail West attracts some of the brightest minds in the industry, ranging from big-box retailers to innovative startups, who deliver insightful information about marketing, customer engagement, technology, and how they all fit into the ecommerce landscape.

3. eTail Canada.

Toronto, ON

Since 1999, eTail Canada has helped Canadian retailers connect, share ideas, and discuss major trends in the industry.

Covering everything from branding to growth strategies, this ecommerce event hosts top executives from online retail giants, like Best Buy, Walmart,, and more.

eTail Canada provides a unique opportunity for big-box retailers and startup ecommerce companies to learn more about marketing and engaging with the Canadian market and the international community.

4. CommerceNext.

New York, NY

CommerceNext is a two-day retail conference that caters specifically to marketers in ecommerce.

Attendees can learn cutting-edge strategies in customer acquisition, digital marketing, and online retail.

Touted as the premier digital marketing event of the summer, CommerceNext regularly hosts a number of top-tier speakers from companies like Levi Strauss & Co, Footlocker, Samsonite/Tumi, and Under Armour.

5. Paris Retail Week.

Paris, France

Targeted to professionals in traditional retail and ecommerce, the fourth annual Paris Retail Week is a mega-ecommerce expo involving more than 800 companies and 40,000 industry professionals from the EU, North America, and Asia.

This event focuses heavily on technology’s role in the retail industry, covering exciting topics like agile logistics, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and how to engage the modern customer.

6. The Alibaba E-Commerce Expo.

Sydney and Melbourne, Australia

The Alibaba E-Commerce Expo is an annual event designed to help businesses in Australia and New Zealand tap into the Chinese market.

Managed by the Alibaba, the world’s largest ecommerce company, this conference teaches local businesses how to build and strengthen relationships in the Chinese community, learning valuable strategies for targeting China’s growing middle class while using the Alibaba ecosystem to maximize business growth and opportunity.

7. eCommerce Expo London.

London, UK

One of the largest ecommerce events in Europe, London’s eCommerce Expo attracts more than 9,500 retailers interested in newest trends and strategies in online retail.

Listen to more than 150 top innovators in ecommerce speak on topics like marketing strategies, customer service campaigns, and IT solutions in online retail. More than just a conference, the eCommerce Expo is an interactive skill-building experience for all B2C and B2B professionals interested in learning about the latest tips and techniques to drive company growth in an online marketplace.

8. DX3.

Toronto, ON

DX3 is Canada’s largest retail, technology, and marketing conference.

It’s also a place where some of the top ecommerce companies and digital marketers come to exchange ideas, learn about new technology, and explore creative ways to drive company growth.

With nearly 4,000 attendees and more than 40 speakers specializing in marketing solutions, ecommerce, and retail, DX3 is one of the top conferences for both new and established businesses looking to get a head start on the latest retail technology.

9. Savant eCommerce Conference.

Major EU Cities

Every year, Savant Events hosts their eCommerce Conference in Europe’s major cities, including London, Amsterdam, and Stockholm.

Don’t expect to find recruiters and salespeople at this expo, they’re not invited.

Instead, attendees get the unique opportunity to network with top executives, trendsetters, and innovators looking to help share their knowledge and wisdom of retail.

10. ShopTalk.

Las Vegas, NV

This annual Las Vegas retail conference combines the best of legacy brands, DNVBs, agencies, and technology – all in the U.S’s biggest adult playground. Expect fancy dinners, a packed exhibit hall, and a fantastic speaker lineup including:

  • Justine Chao, Head of Fashion & Luxury, North America at Alibaba
  • David Isbitski, Chief Evangelist, Alexa & Echo
  • Micky Onvural, CEO, Bonobos
  • Tina Sharkey, Co-Founder & CEO, Brandless
  • Stephen Kuhl, Cofounder & CEO, Burrow
  • Dani Reiss, CEO, Canada Goose
  • Neela Montgomery, CEO, Crate & Barrel
  • Art Peck, President & CEO, Gap
  • Jeff Richards, Managing Partner, GGV Capital
  • Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Founder & CEO, Lively
  • Kevin Lavelle, Founder & CEO, Mizzen & Main

11. The Prosper Show.

Las Vegas, NV

The Prosper Show is another Las Vegas event, but dedicated to a fascinating niche: everything Amazon. And that’s good news too with Amazon’s advertising business drawing in big bucks, some brands building unique items for the platform to sell and others avoiding Amazon entirely, this conference pulls together sellers, advertisers, technology consultants and more to help you make the most of the online store that sells everything.

12. IRCE @ RetailX.

Chicago, IL

The Annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition is the one conference to go to if you go to none other. Based in Chicago, you’ll find folks of every retail type and caliber here, including developers, marketers, executives, entrepreneurs, analysts, investors and more.

In addition, expect tons of after parties, to make life-long networking connections of the busses that take you from hotel to hall, and so much more.

Experts in Attendance

  • IRCE @ RetailX is always a great show for small to mid-market retailers. – Steve Deckert, Co-Founder,
  • IRCE. it is near our HQ in Chicago and is the pinnacle of gatherings for the vast ecommerce ecosystem. – Gene Ferriter, Solution Specialist, Plum Tree Group
  • IRCE, to network, meet old friends and learn. – Karthik Chidambaram, CEO, DCKAP

13. Klaviyo:BOS.

Boston, MA

Not your average ecommerce marketing event: experts from the Klaviyo community—and beyond—will share inspiring examples, creative strategies, and data-backed insights for driving your ecommerce revenue. You’ll hear from leading brands and innovators about what’s working today in ecommerce marketing, and what will work tomorrow in this fast-moving field.

At this two-day conference, you’ll get to know ecommerce marketers and merchants who are as driven as you are. And you’ll come away with a better understanding of your own data and how you can put it to use for your business – fast.

Top WordCamps & Headless Commerce Meetups and Conferences

As the retail industry continues to grow, becoming a main revenue channel even for publishers (just check out the New York Times’ merchandise store!), conferences are beginning to become more niche as well.

Headless commerce is one of the biggest topics in ecommerce in 2019 – and there are plenty of WordCamps and other headless commerce conferences you can attend.

Top WordCamps 2019

  • WordCamp Phoenix
  • WordCamp Miami
  • WordCamp London
  • WordCamp Atlanta
  • WordCamp Europe
  • WordCamp Denver
  • WordCamp Sydney
  • WordCamp Minneapolis
  • WordCamp New York
  • WordCamp Sacramento
  • WordCamp Tampa
  • WordCamp Brisbane
  • WordCamp US
  • WordCamp Dallas
  • WordCamp Orlando

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How to Get the Most Out of a Conference

Conferences are one of the best ways for you to sharpen your skills and stay up to date with trends in the industry. But whether your conference ends up being an inspirational event or a huge waste of time depends on you just as much as it does the speakers and participants.

Here are five ways to get the most value out of your next conference.

1. Review the agenda.

You can’t be everywhere at once – nor would you want to be.

Look at the conference agenda ahead of time and see which events are relevant to your field or can help you reach your professional goals.

Also be on the lookout for pre and post-conference sessions to see how you can maximize your time at the conference even before and after the actual event.

2. Come prepared.

The great thing about conferences is that you’re always a moment away from meeting a prospective partner or client who can help further your business.

The last thing you want to do is show up to a business event empty handed, so make sure you come with enough supplies to last you throughout the day.

Here are some things to pack before heading to your conference:
  • Chargers and power banks for your laptop and portable devices
  • Travel adaptors if you’re going to an overseas conference
  • Plenty of business cards to hand out (however many you think is enough–increase that number by 25%)
  • Any relevant resources that could help you in an unexpected sales pitch

3. Be strategic.

If you’re attending conferences as a group, split up so you can view more sessions.

Once you’re back in the office, each employee can present on the things they learned from each event.

When going to a conference alone, plan your time accordingly. Use your agenda to help you draw up an itinerary, then decide how much time you want to spend on each section so that you get the most out of your visit.

4. Don’t just focus on big brands.

Ecommerce events usually have a mixture of startups, medium-sized companies, and big-box retailers presenting.

The mistake that a lot of people make when attending these conferences is they focus exclusively on the big-brand events.

The truth is that there are a lot of startups and smaller companies that may not have the same market share as the heavy hitters, but still have valuable information to share.

5. Network, network, network.

Business conferences are about more than just listening to speakers – they’re about expanding your professional network.

You can do this by:

  • Breaking away from your group from time to time. Meet new people, even in fields that you might not think is relevant
  • Becoming part of the conversation. Ask face-to-face questions, use appropriate hashtags on Instagram Twitter, keep the conversation going over social media
  • Sending follow-up emails after the conference is over to the people you met

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How to Convince Your Boss the Value of a Conference

Despite their enormous value, many bosses are hesitant to send their top employees to business conferences – and for good reason.

Sending you away for a few days means your workflow gets put on hold, deadlines will probably be pushed back, and colleagues will probably have to pick up some of your workload while you’re gone.

Then there’s the issue of money.

Businesses have to pay for conference fees, transportation, and accommodations–which can add up to a big chunk of money.

So how can you convince your company to send you to an ecommerce conference?

Focus on return on investment

The benefits of attending business conferences generally outweigh the fees and inconvenience.

Explain the value of attending in a way that he or she will understand – return on investment.

Focus on the hard numbers around how the conference will give you the opportunity to:

  • Market your brand
  • Gain valuable knowledge and insight from the leading minds in business
  • Build relationships with potential vendors, clients, and business associates

Remind them conferences help drive companies forward

Along with the valuable relationship-building opportunities that could help your company grow, ecommerce conferences help you gain exposure to forward-thinking strategies you can use to improve the company.

Everything from new marketing techniques to ways to work more efficiently with technology can be learned by attending these events.

The best way to convince your boss to see the value of conferences is to talk to him or her from a business point of view.

Show your boss the agenda and focus on the sessions relevant to your business.

Then, come up with a list of sessions and workshops you want to attend, followed by a list of outcomes you expect to achieve by going to the conference. Remember those hard numbers again.

You might even want to consider drafting a formal proposal and outlining the value and opportunity the company stands to gain from attending one or more conferences.

That way, they’ll see you’re serious about this opportunity and aren’t just looking to get a few days out of the office.

Why Experts Recommend You Attend Ecommerce Conferences

Attend Conferences Suited to Your Role

Depending on the manager’s role, I think that focusing on conferences within their specialty is a must.

Digital Marketing Managers for example, should focus on conferences that can help them learn and provide better results.

Sending them to a Supply Chain conference is a waste of their time.

– Jason Boyce, Co-founder & CEO, Dazadi

Learn From Like Minded People

Nathan Resnick

I’d say that you want to learn and be surrounded by the best.

Learning from conferences is a great way to gain actionable insight to improve your own business.

– Nathan Resnick, CEO, Sourcify

Find Conferences That Help Address Your Business Pain Points

Parag Mamnani

I would recommend making a list of the company’s top pain points:

  • Operational inefficiencies.
  • High overhead and expenses.
  • Low-profit margins.
  • Lack of visibility.
  • Understanding of sales data.

Make a case for exploring the trade show specifically to solve those problems.

– Parag Mamnani, CEO, Webgility

Meet People: Partners, Competitors, Customers

Attending ecommerce conferences isn’t just about learning all the new technology that’s available in the marketplace today, it’s also about seeing what other e-tailers, competitors, and partners are up to.

Attending these conferences will give you unparalleled insight into how to grow your business at the pace of everyone else and how you can take advantage of some the latest ideas in sales, marketing, inventory management, customer support, etc.

Having an ear to the ground is an important part of scalable growth as things are constantly in flux. And one of the most important reasons for attending these conference is to meet people!

Putting a face to a name will open countless doors and opportunities.

Meet your competitors, grab drinks with your partners, and mingle with team members for the platform or tool you use!

As BigCommerce put it simply: Learn. Network. Grow.

– David Feng, Co-Founder and Head of Products, re:amaze

Look to Grow

David Jaeger

Typical cost is about $2,000.

With the investment in marketing+my salary, if I can learn enough to increase my output this year by 10%, we’ve more than broken even!

– David Jaeger, CEO, Global SEM

Build Relationships at Conferences

Alex Birkett

It depends on your position at your company, but I’ve always found the relationships that I’ve built at conferences to be priceless.

You can’t build them over email. It’s not even really possible to build them over coffee meetups. There’s something magical about the immersion of a conference that allows for spontaneous shop-talk and the flourishing of new professional relationships.

– Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager, HubSpot

Learn About the Latest Techniques and Technologies

Scott Ohsman

If you want to ensure that your organization is aware of the most effective tools, techniques and strategies in the industry, you need to attend these conferences.

There are many intangible benefits to attending as well, such as the inspirational aspect of these conferences to apply new thinking and ideas to your company. The opportunity to meet different industry experts and see how they are addressing problems that your team is facing as well.

The ability to find common solutions that could help your business is one of the biggest return on the investment sending employees to these conferences.

Lastly, if you are able to motivate people through opportunities to continue learning, this is extremely powerful for retention and increased passion for your product or service.

– Scott Ohsman, Partner, Buy Box Experts

Learn From Experts and Peers in the Industry

Rieva Lesonsky

The world of e-commerce is a rapidly evolving one. There’s no way someone can do their job and keep up with new tech, best practices and changing customer behavior patterns without attending a conference to learn from the experts, their peers and industry leaders.

– Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media/Small Biz Daily

Connect With People

Doug Root

Being able to see and discuss all the new tactics, technologies and systems with the best is a big plus.

I think that person to person talks is best. At a show you can meet eye to eye which is great.

Many of the vendors we deal with are over email and conference calls so meeting in person is huge for me.

– Doug Root, Website Guy, Atlanta Light Bulbs

Breakaway From Your Day-to-Day

Rupert Cross

If you continue to do what you have always done, you will not go anywhere.

Stepping out of the everyday and spending 48 hrs learning and embedded with other like minded professionals is a great way to broaden the mind.

– Rupert Cross, Digital Director, 5874

Attend Conferences to Grow Your Skills and Network

Emil Kristensen

It depends on what you want to gain from attending the conference.

Conferences are great for learning about new strategies, trends, and getting inspiration from other successful e-commerce brands.

Also, if you’re looking to broaden your e-commerce network, these conferences are the place to be.

Hundreds of the World’s top marketers will be at these conferences so it’s a great place to introduce yourself and your brand.

– Emil Kristensen, CMO and Co-founder, Sleeknote

Network. Network. Network.

Vladimir Gendelman

Attending conferences is valuable because in addition to learning important information and up-to-date news on the latest industry trends, they provide an excellent opportunity for networking and in-person training that you can’t get just from watching a video or listening to a webinar.

– Vladimir Gendelman, Founder and CEO, Company Folders

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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    Kaleigh Moore

    Researcher, BigCommerce

    Kaleigh Moore is a researcher and writer for BigCommerce and founder of Lumen Ventures, which helps to educate online sellers on how to grow their businesses across the web. She’s a longtime entrepreneur, who’s run profitable businesses with zero paid advertising. Kaleigh’s been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Kissmetrics, and SumoMe.

    View all posts by Kaleigh Moore
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