Etail Europe is fast approaching, and here in the Decibel Insight London office the excitement is palpable. Etail is a flagship event on the retail calendar, and draws together hundreds of experts from the world’s most innovative retailers. To get the lowdown on what’s in store for attendees this year, I spoke to Etail Senior Director, Greg Ashton.
How many years has Etail been running and how has it grown in that time?
From small beginnings in 1999 to running 11 Etail conferences worldwide in 2016, it’s fair to say we, like the retail industry, have come a long way. We started before the dot.com bubble burst; we were there when Amazon launched in a garage and recorded its first profits; when Facebook was launched; when Apple released its first iPhone; when Alibaba issued the biggest IPO in history… the list goes on.
Back in 1999, we had about 75 retail visionaries at the show, talking about the latest buzzword ‘eCommerce’! Last year we had 800 people in that same room, and for 2016 we’re on course for 900+. None of our growth would’ve happened without the support of our retailer and solution provider communities, and we’re grateful that we’ve come this far, together.
What makes Etail different to other conferences?
15 of the Top 18 IRUK Top 500 companies are speaking on the program this year, more than any other show. And we have keynotes from major digital disruptors including Airbnb and Amazon, as well as new sessions from non-retail brands, a TED guest speaker and a panel of handpicked start-up companies discussing how to think differently in a fast-paced, born-online company.
Overall, the program is 100% content driven, rather than placing too much emphasis on the exhibit hall. This year we have 85 talks, roundtables and interactive case studies, each loaded with takeaways, more than any other conference. Also, last year’s audience told us how much they loved the small group retailer-only discussions, so we dedicated a whole day to these this year (Thursday June 23rd).
What would your advice be to a first-time attendee?
Download the app before the show! Its an amazing tool that lets you meet personally with hundreds of C-level & multichannel retail directors. You can private message anyone, ask speakers questions on the timeline and even see what other retailers are thinking during live, real-time audience polling. Overall, talk to everyone you can, as you never know who will be able to answer your most pressing questions, and even help advance your career.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event personally?
I can’t wait for the Euro 2016 party, 4:50pm on Tuesday June 21st. We’ll be screening the Northern Ireland vs. Germany game, with beers, snacks, huge cash prizes and giveaways. It’s the perfect environment to meet other retailers and solution providers, and let the day’s sessions really sink in. See you at the bar!
Get in touch!
Are you heading to Etail next week? If so, let me know in the comments below – and come say hello at the Decibel Insight booth!
In the meantime, to get your ecommerce juices flowing before the event, have a conversion optimization guide on us.