General Ecommerce Tips

Don’t Miss These Top Ecommerce Conferences in 2020

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Don’t Miss These Top Ecommerce Conferences in 2020

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One of the best ways to keep current with trends in the market is by attending ecommerce conferences in 2020. Not only are they great for listening to motivational speeches by executives from the world’s largest retailers, these events provide top-notch networking opportunities that can help your business grow.

Ecommerce Conferences to Attend in 2020

Here are some of the top ecommerce expos worldwide in 2020 and a brief summary on what you can expect from attending them. Bonus: You’ll also learn how to effectively prepare for a conference.

1. National Retail Federation’s Retail Big Show.

New York, NY

The world’s largest retail conference returns in 2020 with over 800 retail exhibitors and a theme of “2020 vision.” This is one of the earliest events on the calendar, with the convention and expo set for January 12-14.

Over 38,000 attendees are expected to attend the NRF’s Retail Big Show, providing an audience for some 400 speakers selected from today’s top ecommerce and retail brands. The Retail Expo will also feature hundreds of product demos that show off the latest in online retail technology.

2. eTail West.

Palm Springs, CA

From Feb. 24–27, 2020, eTail West keeps its focus on the United States market by delivering speakers from across the American retail landscape. The healthy balance of retail expertise from fashion and apparel to food & beverage will include insights into customer engagement, technology, and the latest innovations in ecommerce.

eTail West is also a great place to network, as its audience features some of the most vital movers and shakers in retail–with some 59% attendees in 2019 at director-level and above.

(Note: if the geography gets in your way, you might also want to consider eTail East, August 10-13, 2020 in Boston).

3. eTail Canada.

Toronto, ON

On the weekend of May 4-6, 2020, many of the brightest minds in North American retail will connect at eTail Canada to share the latest innovations and trends in ecommerce.

With a speaker list consisting of “trendsetters, visionaries and trailblazers that are revolutionizing the industry,” eTail Canada is also highly focused on its audience, curating networking opportunities and social gatherings at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto.

4. CommerceNext.

New York, NY

What’s next in retail marketing? The two-day retail conference at Commerce Next — July 29–29, 2020 — attempts to answer that question with a focus on the latest and greatest strategies in digital marketing, online retail, and customer acquisition.

Across 50 speaking sessions, CommerceNext’s events will feature marketing VPs, data officers, and ecommerce directors behind some of the year’s top campaigns. There’s also an awards show called the “CommerceNextys” for honoring innovations in ecommerce marketing and cross-channel campaigns.

5. Paris Retail Week.

Paris, France

This three-day trade fair — now in its fifth annual iteration — breaks itself down into themes from “agile customer experience” to “B2B” marketing and omnichannel commerce. With over 600 exhibitors planned this year and a global audience of industry professionals from the EU, North America, and Asia, the event is a must-visit for anyone looking beyond their own borders.

Set for Sept. 15–17, 2020, the event will also feature a strong mix of CEOs, director-level executives, and project managers looking to learn. Brands represented in the past have included industry favorites such as Qatar Airways, Yves Rocher, and Lacoste.

6. The Alibaba E-Commerce Expo.

Sydney and Melbourne, Australia

Access to the growing Chinese market is more important than ever, and the Alibaba E-Commerce Expo seeks to bridge the gap between these markets and international brands and small businesses.

With the event managed by Alibaba from March 27–28, 2020, the specific focus here is on bringing ecommerce to the growing Chinese market. With sales there expected to reach $245 billion by the time the expo arrives, this event is a hallmark for “cross-border commerce.”

7. eCommerce Expo London.

London, UK

The eCommerce Expo in Excel London will feature over 350 speakers during the weekend of September 30 – October 1. The experience is catered to both B2C and B2B marketers and retail professionals who are interested in gaining insights from an eclectic array of content and open sessions.

This year, the expo is set to feature workshops, case studies, presentations, and expert roundtables with presenters ranging from Amazon to BarclayCard UK.

8. DX3.

Toronto, ON

As Canada’s largest retail/tech/marketing conference, DX3 is a must-visit in North America. Even if the amount of attendees (about 3,000+ expected) is less than other international expositions, it promises to be the largest retail/marketing conference in Canada. Speaking sessions here will tend to fall under one of two umbrellas: innovation and retail. 

The summit, to be held Mar. 10–11, 2020, also weaves in tech talks, workshops, and even live music to keep the vibe productive and entertaining. On the show floor, you’ll also see high-tech expositions of the latest and greatest in retail technology 

9. Savant eCommerce Conference.

Major EU Cities

Savant eCommerce Conference doesn’t just have one location in 2020 — it has several. This year’s events will feature Berlin, Amsterdam, and Stockholm in January, March, and June, respectively, as well as the Savant Supply Chain Congress 2020 event in May.

Savant’s idea is to cut down the sales pitches and recruiting, with an exclusive focus on high-information content. That includes a mix of C-level, senior management, and director-level attendees sharing their knowledge and expertise in retail.

10. ShopTalk.

Las Vegas, NV

What’s the latest scuttlebutt in the world of retail? That’s the question that drives shoptalk, an annual retail conference in Las Vegas that has grown since 2015 into over 8,000 attendees, making it the fastest-growing retail event in history.

Featured speakers this year, from March 22–25, 2020, are set to include:

  • Leslie Leifer, VP Enterprise Strategy & Business Development, 1800Flowers
  • Julie Bowerman, Chief Global Digital Consumer & Customer Experience Officer, Kellogg
  • Sarah Rasmusen, Chief Customer Officer, Land’s End
  • Amy Vener, Vertical Strategy Lead – Retail, Pinterest
  • Kate Minner, Chief Marketing Officer, Sperry
  • Tracy DiNunzio, founder & CEO, Tradesy
  • Liza Lefkowski, VP, Global Brand, Creative & Curated Merchandising, Wayfair

11. The Prosper Show.

Las Vegas, NV

This year, The Prosper Show will be happening in Las Vegas on the same weekend as ShopTalk, which forces a difficult choice. This event is dedicated to selling on Amazon, giving it a focus that’s especially great for anyone who’s worried about attending conferences that may not appeal to their specific interests.

Over 1,000 people are expected to attend the event, which includes workshops, instructionals on video strategy on Amazon, and plenty of Amazon-specific marketing information spread across 36 presentations.

12. IRCE @ RetailX.

Chicago, IL

IRCE (Internet Retail Conference + Exhibition) will return in 2020 during June 9-11, and though details are still emerging, last year’s show was a must-attend for anyone who wanted to fill in their time with just one conference for the year. The eclectic mix of developers, marketers, entrepreneurs, investors, and Internet retail experts always makes for first-rate information.

IRCE @ RetailX also an exhibit hall of several hundred vendors, ample opportunity to network during breaks and after parties, and attendance to make the networking more than worth your while.

Said Tobi Wray of Amazon Books: “As physical retail evolves, the only way we’re going to survive is by blending ecommerce and physical retail.” 

“I think it’s a good opportunity–the merger of both the online and offline and making it all in one place,” said Eslam Khalil of Sweetgreen. 

13. Klaviyo:BOS.

Boston, MA

This year, Klaviyo:BOS is set for September 24-26, and will feature experts from the Klaviyo community as to the latest developments in digital marketing. The robust agenda includes everything from specific brand spotlights and instructional presentations to networking lunches, happy hours, and “Own the Night” parties.

Speakers for 2020 are set to include Kara Goldin (founder/CEO, Hint), Megan Whitman (Chief Digital Officer, Kopari Beauty), and John Merris (CEO, Solo Stove). With a strong focus on what makes brands successful and how to use data-driven strategy to improve your business, there will be a lot to learn for anyone with a lot of data who needs to take action on their own brand.

14. Ecommerce Operations Summit.

Orlando, FL

Need to focus on the logistics and operations end of ecommerce? The Ecommerce Operations Summit is the only major confidence dedicated exclusively to omnichannel operations, fulfillment, and the DTC experience. The focus on the content here includes CX, omnichannel strategy, shipping & returns, and supply chain optimization.

The current speaker roster includes a thorough blend of brands with strong CX focus, including Rick Bingle of REI and Karen Goeller of Packlane. Scheduled from Tuesday, April 14th through Thursday, April 16, the event will also feature operations and ecommerce workshops, expert panels, and presentations on DTC operations in the evolving technological landscape.

15. Traffic & Conversion Summit.

San Diego, CA

With over 80 speakers and 10,000 attendees in years past, Traffic & Conversion summit is less a niche approach to ecommerce conversion and more a yearly update on the world of digital marketing and sales. There’s a renaissance approach to online marketing that includes dedicated content for digital retailers, eMarketers, and even Amazon sellers.

Held from March 31-April 2, Traffic & Conversion 2020 will feature over a hundred sessions and ample networking opportunities for anyone in digital retail that wants to understand the latest technology driving online decisions and conversions.

16. GrowCommerce.

Queens, NY

The 2020 date is still in the air, but GrowCommerce regularly features a high-impact group of trendsetters and industry professionals who cover on a range of ecommerce topics. Previous topics covered have included omnichannel media, brand and direct response marketing, and the art of building a community out of your present ecommerce customer base.

The event is also a great place to network, featuring a happy hour and a more intimate setting of attendees that makes it easier to find direct connections.

17. Sellers Summit.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Sellers Summit doesn’t advertise itself as an ecommerce conference so much as an intensive, two-day ecommerce workshop. The event — to be held on May 6-May 8 of 2020 — was named a “Top 11 Ecommerce Conference” by Entrepreneur and offers a more intimate, educational, curriculum-based experience than the traditional conference setup.

The lineup of speakers is less focused on brands than individual ecommerce shop owners who have cracked the code of digital marketing and ecommerce, including people like Ezra Firestone of Zipify.

Top WordCamps & Headless Commerce Meetups and Conferences

Retail has never been bigger — which means that the world of WordCamps and headless commerce meetups is growing more diverse. If you’re in the U.S., chances are you can find a WordCamp that will be in your region this year:

Top WordCamps 2020

  • WordCamp Phoenix
  • WordCamp Miami
  • WordCamp San Antonio
  • WordCamp Chicago
  • WordCamp Dayton
  • WordCamp Kent, OH
  • WordCamp Atlanta
  • WordCamp Jacksonville
  • WordCamp Seattle

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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

Executive Summary

Conferences are a great way to network with fellow ecommerce professionals and learn new tips, tricks, and trends in the industry. And you have a lot of choices, depending on your specialization, niche, and more.

Sign up for a conference or two this year to get some new ideas for how to take your business to the next level — and use this post to help you prepare to get the most out of your experience.

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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