Does the idea of getting an early scoop on up-and-coming e-commerce trends excite you? Are you curious to hear what thought leaders in the industry are saying, or even to chip in your own two cents about the future of e-commerce? If so, make 2017 the year that you allocate the time and resources to attend at least one conference!
It’s easy to put a price tag on travel, lodging and registration for a conference. Some entrepreneurs let this number hold them back, and it’s certainly a valid concern, especially for bootstrapped companies with limited resources. But it’s impossible to put a price tag on the value that you can gain from the experience.
Plus, taking part in an e-commerce conference is a surefire way to build up your thought leadership credibility and make key connections—with others in attendance and with your target audience.
Social media has changed the name of the game and has upped the interactive value of attending conferences. As one CMO writes for Entrepreneur, “When we go anywhere we are tweeting, live blogging, posting to Instagram and any other social networks we feel are relevant. By being part of the conference buzz, we get our names out there and get a slice of that coveted thought leadership pie.”
Stop wrestling between whether Shopify or Magento is a better hosting platform and hunker down to learn some of the top trends and insights for ecommerce in the years ahead. Here are four conferences that you need to attend in 2017:
Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition: June 6-9, Chicago
The Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) features over 200 speakers and over 130 conference sessions curated by the editorial staff of Internet Retailer magazine. This year, IRCE features a powerhouse lineup of keynote speakers, including:
-Mary Beth Laughton (Senior Vice President, Digital, Sephora)
-Barbara Corcoran (Investor, “Shark Tank”)
-George Hanson (Vice President, North America E-commerce and Brand House Stores, Under Armour)
-Miki Racine Berardelli (CEO, Kidbox)
eTail East: August 14-17, 2017, Boston
East coasters and entrepreneurs willing to travel should be sure to check out eTail East, which boasts over 60 percent retail attendance. This Boston-based conference also has over 120 speakers, ranging from senior executives at some of America’s largest companies to the founders of innovative tech startups. Be sure to check out the #etaileast hashtag for a glimpse of previous attendees’ experiences so you know what to expect!
Retail Global: September 12-14, Las Vegas
Entrepreneur included Retail Global on its list of 10 top conferences to consider in 2017, in part because “more than 70 percent of attendees in 2016 were online merchants, who represented a broad ecommerce network and the opportunity for all attendees to share knowledge and promote collaboration.
High-profile speakers this year will include Jason Trichel, Amazon’s Head of U.S. Global Sales and Business Development, plus many more.
Shop.org Retail Conference: September 25-27, Los Angeles
If you feel like you’ve stepped into the future when you walk through the doors of Shop.org, don’t worry. That’s exactly how this cutting-edge conference was designed, complete with an innovation lab, podcast studio and over 200 exhibitors.
A breakdown of last year’s demographics shows that 86 percent of attendees play a role in purchasing decisions for their companies, meaning that this event is a great place to make connections that could help your bottom line.
Your e-commerce operation can’t grow in a vacuum; networking and learning more about the industry are vital components to the success of your business. Attending the right conferences can open your eyes to new possibilities in our ever-changing online landscape.
Now what are you waiting for? You’ve got reservations to book, bags to pack and industry connections to make!