We were excited to attend and co-sponsor/host events at the eTail East conference earlier in August. The event was at the Sheraton Prudential Center in Boston from Aug 8-10th. It has been a few years and the conference certainly didn’t disappoint – packed with people from e-commerce and retail, and a ton of great content and discussions.
Especially noteworthy were sessions on hybrid commerce models that mix retail and online together, including all the tools that help merchants create and support those experiences. While early registrations indicated that this would be the first major e-commerce / retail conference where the majority of attendees were expected to be merchants (as opposed to vendors and product company representatives), that was not the case.
However, with our co-sponsored events, we were still successful at fostering and facilitating vendor-to-vendor interactions, and directing the attending client merchants and partners towards friendly, informative socializing outside of the structured user sessions.
We Co-Sponsored 2 Social Events
As the conference was in our own backyard, we took the opportunity to co-host 2 successful events; providing some much needed casual interactions outside of the formalities of the conference setting. Along with several of our partners, we co-hosted 2 events during the conference – which we’re sure all who attended would agree were a roaring good time.
E-Commerce Merchant Appreciation Night
The first event was our Merchant Appreciation Happy Hour, which we hosted at the undeniably chic City Bar at the Lenox Hotel. We partnered with Adobe Commerce and DotDigital for an event intended to honor the e-commerce merchants – a retailer appreciation night. The evening had no sales agenda from any of the hosts, just an opportunity to build meet, greet and unwind at one of Boston’s best cocktail bars.
We reserved the entire bar inside the historic Lenox Hotel just for merchants attending eTail East. We learned that having a complete takeover of a bar / venue was a great way to attract a crowd of merchants ready to network, celebrate, and discuss the days’ sessions. We were joined by a total of 84 attendees, including many merchants from the conference, their colleagues and friends.
eTail Boston Rooftop Poolside Afterparty
Our second event was the unofficial eTail afterparty at the Colonnade Hotel. We teamed up with BigCommerce, Bloomreach, and Vercel to host a good old fashioned post event bash with about 120 of eTail’s finest attendees! We had planned to split the party between the restaurant (Luc!e) and the rooftop pool, but the Boston heatwave was finally broken by rain so the festivities were mostly kept inside. The weather didn’t dampen any spirits though and the party was a spectacular success.
There was a fantastic mix of partners and merchants at this one – and the Colonnade didn’t disappoint – serving fantastic drinks and apps all night! It was great to catch up with the teams from our co-sponsor organizations, but also the numerous merchants who stayed late to enjoy the festivities.
Thanks again to our partners and co-sponsors for making these events so great. It was great to be back live at eTail East at the “Pru” (First time since 2019)! We look forward to throwing more of these parties at future events/conferences.
Exhibition and Session Highlights
In the past eTail has succeeded by bringing relevant merchant and partner technology case studies and learnings to attendees and this year was no different. This year’s highlights included:
- Our own client Agnela Gruszka from Aerin speaking about omnichannel growth challenges and how to overcome them for a luxury brand (data and technology systemization and adoption are key!)
- Treasure Data’s Irene Sibaja’s keynote about Strategies and Tactics to Increase Customer Loyalty and Profits using data and insights – no surprise given that Treasure Data is a thriving CDP
- Intellimize’s Guy Yalif spoke about how to optimize conversion by leveraging their tool and going way beyond A/B testing – which is necessary if you want to see real results
- Susy Schoenberg from Flexport.com led a great session on how retailers can leverage sustainability to increase brand activation and loyalty.
- And Algolia’s Bernadette Nixon discussed how hybrid customer experiences are driving success for retailers and how search plays a key role in the post pandemic period.
There were a number of other great sessions and if you do a quick social media search using the hashtag #etailboston you can get access to summaries and recordings of many of them.
Key Themes and Hot Topics
Overall the following topics and accompanying technologies seemed to be the most actively discussed at the conference:
- AI’s growth in the customer journey and what are the tools / data strategies that work
- How to personalize using data – and how to do it across channels including in-store
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – data-driven versus ad hoc approaches
- Optimizing ad spend in a highly competitive and expensive media environment
- What are key Omnichannel metrics and how to leverage them for overall business success
- What drives Customer retention beyond discounts and promotions: an omnichannel user experience
- Headless E-Commerce and how to leverage it to improve e-commerce conversion
The Bottom Line
eTail East was awesome from both a social and professional perspective and those who didn’t get a chance to attend should be sure to hit one of the eTail franchise’s conferences near them in the near future.
Having eTail East back at The Prudential in Boston was especially fun for us as our HQ and many of our team are based in Boston, but we’re present at many of the major industry events around the country and often host events/parties when we do.
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