With Amazon leading the pack, a growing number of retailers and direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses are recognizing the importance of an omnichannel approach and exploring online retail. In this light, ecommerce conferences emerge as pivotal junctions where ecommerce industry professionals converge to learn, innovate, and connect.
Ecommerce sales are projected to make up almost a quarter of all global retail sales by 2026, and the online shopping industry keeps evolving into new and uncharted territory. Ecommerce conferences present the perfect opportunity for ecommerce managers to boost their skillset and connect with other entrepreneurs shaping the industry.
In this article, I’ll explore the benefits of attending ecommerce summits and conferences, who they cater to, how to prepare, and the 12 best ecommerce events—spanning North America (U.S. and Canada), Europe, and Australia—to put on your calendar for 2023 and 2024.
What Are Ecommerce Conferences & Who Are They For?
Ecommerce conferences are in-person and virtual events designed to cater to the diverse needs of the online retail industry. From CEOs and CMOs of established brands to startup founders and co-founders and supply chain executives to social media influencers, these gatherings attract a wide variety of industry professionals.
These conferences cater to a wide range of professionals within the ecommerce ecosystem. Retail business owners, ecommerce executives, marketing professionals, IT specialists, logistics experts, customer service representatives, and even entrepreneurs exploring the ecommerce space can all benefit from attending.
Why Attend Ecommerce Conferences?
There are several reasons to attend ecommerce conferences:
- Education: Conferences host keynote speakers and industry experts who lead seminars and roundtables on the latest innovations, challenges, and opportunities in the ecommerce world. Attendees gain valuable insights into topics like digital transformation, automation, optimization, and the omnichannel approach.
- Networking: Conferences provide an excellent platform for industry professionals to network with ecommerce experts and influencers. This is the perfect opportunity to share experiences, learn from peers, and potentially form strategic partnerships.
- Exposure to new tools and technologies: Cutting-edge solution providers showcase their products and services at trade shows, a core part of these conferences. Here, attendees can discover the latest innovations designed to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, or boost sales and conversions.
How To Prepare For An Ecommerce Conference
- Set your goals: Determine what you aim to achieve from the conference. Are you interested in the latest Amazon strategies? Do you want to learn about social media's influence on ecommerce or the role of automation in the supply chain?
- Plan your schedule: With so many seminars, workshops, roundtables, and networking events, planning is crucial. Make the most of the agenda provided in advance and prioritize according to your goals.
- Prepare to network: Conferences attract a multitude of ecommerce experts and exhibitors. Be ready to engage, exchange ideas, and build connections.
- Follow-up: The real value of a conference often comes from the follow-up. Don’t forget to continue conversations and nurture the ecom connections you made.
How Much Do Ecommerce Conferences Cost?
The cost of attending an ecommerce conference can vary. Some offer free access, while others might charge a significant admission fee. Travel and accommodation expenses must be considered for out-of-town events.
Remember, many organizations offer discounts for early bird registration or for groups, so consider attending with your team!
12 Best Ecommerce Conferences For 2023-2024
- Shoptalk: Held in Las Vegas, Shoptalk has been the go-to conference for retail and ecommerce professionals for years. The event features an excellent mix of prominent industry speakers, high-quality content, and networking opportunities. It's also known for its immersive and forward-thinking approach to technology and retail trends. Shoptalk is where you want to be to understand the ongoing evolution of consumer shopping habits.
When: March 17-20, 2024
- eTail: eTail now offers four conferences known for their intimate settings, high-level speakers, and comprehensive coverage of all things ecommerce. eTail events are perfect for executives who want to meet industry leaders and gather insights on how to scale ecommerce businesses while improving customer experience.
When: Aug. 21-24, 2023 (Boston, MA); Sept. 27-28, 2023 (Toronto, ON); Feb. 26-29, 2024 (Palm Springs, CA); June 25-26, 2024 (London, UK)
- eTail Connect: Based in Los Angeles, California, eTail Connect is the one-stop shop for ecommerce, digital marketing, and customer experience executives. The event aims to inspire top retailers and brands to embrace and test transformative technology in order to master customer personalization and boost their omnichannel marketing strategy.
When: Sept. 13-15, 2023
- IRCE (Retail Innovation Conference & Expo): Held in Chicago, IRCE is a huge event in the ecommerce calendar. It offers educational sessions, workshops, and a large-scale expo showcasing the latest ecommerce technologies. This is a must-attend if you are looking for a wide-ranging overview of the industry or to network with a vast, diverse group of ecommerce professionals.
When: June 4-6, 2024
- Paris Retail Week: Paris Retail Week is a major annual event in the retail industry held in Paris, France. A comprehensive trade fair that brings together professionals, experts, and companies from various sectors of the retail ecosystem, the event aims to showcase the latest innovations, trends, and technologies in the retail industry while providing networking and business opportunities for participants.
When: Sept. 19-21, 2023
- NRF (National Retail Federation) Retail’s Big Show: This New York City-based conference is one of the largest retail conferences in the world. It's perfect for professionals wanting to stay ahead of retail and ecommerce trends. Its massive ecommerce expo showcases the latest retail technologies, and the networking opportunities are second to none.
When: Jan. 13-16, 2024
- Adobe Summit: While not strictly an ecommerce event, the Adobe Summit covers a wide range of digital marketing topics, including ecommerce. It is particularly relevant for businesses using Adobe's suite of tools, with numerous sessions dedicated to improving the user experience. It's a great event for ecommerce professionals wanting to enhance their digital marketing skills.
When: March 26-28, 2024
- Retail Global: With events in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia, Retail Global is a fantastic event for ecommerce businesses looking to expand internationally. It provides practical advice and strategies for businesses selling across borders, along with opportunities to connect with industry leaders.
When: Aug. 7-9. 2023 (Christchurch, NZ); Oct. 4-6, 2023 (San Diego, CA); April 15-18, 2024 (Broadbeach, AU)
- Ecommerce Berlin Expo: Featuring more than 10,000 participants, the Ecommerce Berlin Expo is one of the leading ecommerce events in Europe, specifically focused on the ecommerce industry. It serves as a platform for ecommerce professionals, businesses, entrepreneurs, and experts to gather, exchange knowledge, and explore the latest trends and technologies in the ecommerce sector.
When: Feb. 22, 2024
- Ecommerce Expo: Bringing together 11,000+ ecommerce professionals with more than 300 leading solution providers, Ecommerce Expo is the ultimate destination for every company that operates in the UK and sells online. The event is free for ecommerce professionals and their teams looking to upskill themselves and their teams in all aspects of ecommerce, from customer acquisition and retention to payments, operations, logistics, and cross-border online trade.
When: Sept. 27-28, 2023
- World Retail Congress: Based in Barcelona, Spain, the World Retail Congress (WRC) provides a platform for more than 700 retailers, industry experts, thought leaders, and professionals to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation within the retail community, bringing them together to learn, connect, and build concrete strategies for the year ahead.
When: TBD 2024
- White Label World Expo: With a flagship event held in Las Vegas, the White Label World Expo covers nearly all of the retail, ecommerce, and selling/supplying industries. Multiple summits, specialized co-located events, and networking and investment opportunities are abundant when attending the White Label World Expo. The White Label World Expo is at the forefront of educating and showcasing organizations and businesses at the heart of ecommerce, retail, and environmentally sustainable innovations.
When: May 8-9, 2024
These conferences offer great opportunities to meet like-minded professionals, learn from industry leaders, and get the latest insights into ecommerce trends. They also offer the chance to explore new technologies and solutions and to gain inspiration from success stories that could help your business grow.
Connect With The Best In The Business
Whether you're navigating the early stages of a startup or overseeing a C-suite executive's duties in a thriving online retail giant, ecommerce conferences offer a wealth of knowledge, connections, and opportunities.
With proper preparation and participation, these events can provide an impressive ROI, helping to drive your ecommerce initiatives towards new pinnacles of success.
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