eCommerce conferences

10 Must-Attend eCommerce Conferences in 2021

In the past year, eCommerce sales in the US have been up by 32.4% year-over-year, and this growth shows no sign of slowing down. In this rapidly growing industry, staying ahead of the latest eCommerce trends is the key to maintaining an edge over your competitors and attending the world’s leading eCommerce conferences is a surefire way to expand your knowledge while helping you stay competitive.

The best eCommerce conferences take place all over the world, bringing together the brightest in the eCommerce industry and allowing delegates to come together to learn new industry information and tips, while also providing valuable networking opportunities. An eCommerce conference will commonly feature interesting keynote speakers and breakout sessions where you can learn practical information specifically relevant to helping you manage and run your business.

If you’re in the business of selling online, conferences may already be an important part of your business activity. And if they aren’t yet, there’s no better time than 2021 to start participating in the eCommerce conference circuit!

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has impacted the conference industry in the past year. Although many conferences have had to be moved online due to the pandemic, the good news is that it has made attending the world’s leading eCommerce conferences more accessible than ever, wherever they are hosted, with many in 2021 just a click away.

Thanks to a lot of hard work from eCommerce conference organizers around the world, in 2021 we can expect a strong line-up of some of the world’s best eCommerce conferences to go ahead both in-person and online.

So, with this in mind, here is our list of the top 10 conferences worth planning into your 2021 schedule.

1. CommerceNext Marketing Summit Series

When: January 20th & 27th and February 3rd, 2021
Where: Online

Typically held in New York City, in 2021 the CommerceNext Marketing Summit Series will take place online, making it super easy to attend.

Delivered in a webinar series format across three weeks, CommerceNext 2021 combines live-streamed sessions and roundtable discussions covering all aspects of marketing, including retail, eCommerce, marketing strategy, and social changes. This conference will arm you with the most up-to-date information about the eCommerce industry.

With speakers including leaders from top retail brands including Sephora, J. Crew, and 1-800-FLOWERS, you won’t want to miss this information-packed virtual event.

Cost/Registration: Tickets to attend the virtual sessions are only $49 for agencies, consultancies, and venture capitalists; attendance is free to retailers and DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands.

2. NRF 2021 (Retail’s Big Show)

When: Chapter 1: January 12th – 14th, 19th, and 21st – 22nd, 2021. Chapter 2: June 6th – 8th, 2021
Where: Chapter 1 will take place online. Chapter 2 will take place in person in New York City, NY.

Considered one of the world’s largest eCommerce conferences, Retail’s Big Show is organized by the National Retail Federation. Describing itself as the “ultimate marketplace for ideas and innovation,” the conference addresses the transformational changes taking place in retail. It is designed to educate, create new relationships and allow learning of new strategies from the biggest brands that set the pace of retail today.

This year, the conference is hosting two shows. A virtual show in January (Chapter 1) and an in-person show in June (Chapter 2). The virtual show will take place on different days across two weeks, offering digital talks from leaders of some of the world’s biggest retail brands, including Wayfair, Shopify and Facebook.

Cost/Registration: National Retail Federation members pay an early-bird amount of $395 for a full conference pass (standard rate $595); Non-members pay $495 for the early-bird rate and $695 thereafter. Special discounted rates are available to retailers, educators and unemployed individuals.

3. eTail West: The Virtual Summit & Expo for eCommerce & Omnichannel Innovators

When: Feb 23rd – 25th, 2021
Where: Online

This has been a retail conference leader for over 20 years now and eTail West brings together retail innovators to offer attendees inspirational, tactical content paired with curated networking.

Previously held in beautiful Palm Springs, CA, the eTail West 2021 conference is going online this year. The conference will offer a knowledge-packed agenda that includes engaging case studies, disruptive strategies, strategic conversations, and the opportunity to make connections with the best minds from America’s most successful retailers.

Many of America’s most successful retailers are set to speak at this year’s virtual conference, providing delegates with meaningful insights and retail strategies to help spark growth. Scheduled speakers include leaders from top retail brands including Office Depot, Rue Gilt Groupe, and Mattel, to name just a few.

This conference is perfect for those looking to start innovating!

Cost/Registration: Registration is free for retailers, and $799 for vendors/solution providers.

4. Internet Retailing Expo

When: March 17th – 18th, 2021
Where: Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

One of the UK’s leading eCommerce conferences and now in its fifteenth year, Internet Retailing Expo (IRX) is currently on schedule to return to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) for an in-person event in 2021.

The conference features a great speaker line-up, which includes leadership from the British Retail Consortium, leading brands Misguided, Halfords and Holland & Barrett, as well as the editor of Internet Retailing, one of Britain’s top trade publications in the retail space.

In addition, the conference will simultaneously host “IRX Engage,” a digital platform that provides retailers with actionable advice to supercharge their eCommerce sales. The digital events include training sessions, roundtable discussions, workshops and the ability to book a 1-to-1 to get expert advice for your current situation.

Cost/Registration: To register and find out about costs for your particular attendee type, please visit the IRX registration page.

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5. Retail Global 2021

When: March 29th – 31st, 2021
Where: Broadbeach, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

A global retail conference set down under, Retail Global is centered around a mission to share relevant new business information through high-quality speakers, workshops and strategic event networking. The conference organizers believe that learning from experiences is what helps companies improve.

This year’s speakers include the CEO of Australia’s National Retail Association, as well as eCommerce leaders from top global consumer and retail brands including Under Armour, Pinterest, and Amazon.

Cost/Registration: Retailers pay AU$594; for non-retailers/service providers the cost of entry is AU$2,812.08. Delegates can pay and register for the conference by visiting the Retail Global registration page.

6.Adobe Summit

When: April 13th – 15th, 2021
Where: Online

Adobe offers this virtual event aimed at anyone in the business of creating, optimizing, or monetizing customer experiences and it’s free!

Adobe Summit is the perfect conference to attend if you want to develop new skills, learn best practices, and get leading insights. With an informative, action-oriented agenda, you’ll be sure to leave this event feeling that you’ve expanded your skills, engaged with other like-minded industry professionals. You’ll leave inspired to create exceptional experiences that drive your business forward.

This year’s speaker line-up hasn’t yet been announced, but if past years’ speakers are anything to go by, you can be sure you’re in for an engaging line-up of A-listers. Previous speakers have included Microsoft CEO Staya Nadella and NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang.

Hosted by Magento, Adobe Summit will help you discover the route to reimagining the customer experience in 2021. Experts include global leaders in marketing automation, analytics, advertising, and commerce.

Cost/Registration: The event is free for all to attend and you can register your interest by visiting the Adobe Summit website.

7. eTail Asia Virtual Summit

When: May 18th – 20th, 2021
Where: Online

For those looking to operate in or do business with Asian markets, eTail Asia is a conference definitely worth looking at. eTail Asia is the region’s leading eCommerce summit designed to help attendees achieve retail excellence and drive profitability by learning from Asia’s biggest and most innovative retailers.

This eCommerce conference prides itself on taking a straightforward, “no fluff” approach to providing only the most actionable information to attendees, including practical case studies, peer to peer facilitated networking, and interactive workshops and discussion groups. eTail Asia also facilitates strategic networking, allowing attendees to make connections with top business leaders at Asia’s most successful retail brands.

If previous years’ speakers are anything to go by, the upcoming event for 2021 is sure to boast an impressive speaker panel featuring dozens of leading CMOs, Heads of eCommerce and Digital Marketing for an unbiased view of where the future of Asian retail is headed. Previous years’ speakers include leaders from Alibaba, Unilever and Baskin-Robbins.

Cost/Registration: To register your interest and find out about pricing options for 2021, please visit the eTail Asia registration page.

8. DMEXCO

When: September 7th – 8th, 2021
Where: Cologne, Germany and online

DMEXCO is one of the largest digital marketing and tech events in Europe. Held annually in Cologne, Germany, DMEXCO takes a digital-first focus, looking at the future of digital business, with top speakers, keynotes and sessions addressing topics analyzing eCommerce, digital marketing, technology and AI.

With opportunities to connect leaders from around the world, this annual congress has become a place for business minds to learn, inspire, build connections and develop ideas that will become actions in developing the roadmap for the future of digital marketing.

The first-ever “hybrid” DMEXCO will take place in 2021, offering a mixture of both online and offline events. Delegates will be able to attend sessions in person in Cologne and supplement their DMEXCO experience with additional sessions and events streamed online as part of the conference.

The speaker list for 2021 is yet to be announced, though given that previous speakers have included leaders from Salesforce, Facebook, Wikipedia, and VICE Media, we can certainly expect a high calibre of speakers at this year’s event.

Cost/Registration: To register your interest for either the online or offline portions of this year’s hybrid DMEXCO conference, please visit the DMEXCO ticket page.

9. Retail Week Live

When: October 13th – 14th, 2021
Where: London, United Kingdom

For over 27 years, Retail Week Live has been a trusted voice in the retail industry. The conference brings progressive topics and speakers, connecting retail leaders and partners within the retail ecosystem.

This year, Retail Week Live is set to deliver an inspirational two-day retail conference to face the new reality of digital transformation, spurred by the changes we’ve seen as a result of COVID-19. From experts and industry leaders to disruptive startups, this is a great opportunity to connect on a deep level with peers and prospects for the future of retail.

The event will feature over 150 speakers on topics ranging from collaboration and consolidation, customer loyalty, to the shift towards online sales and the role of data and artificial intelligence (AI).

Cost/Registration: Fees have not yet been announced. To register your interest in Retail Week Live 2021, please visit the Retail Week Live registration page.

10. Retail & Brand Congress

When: November 16th – 18th, 2021
Where: Barcelona, Spain

Retail & Brand Congress provides a look at the changing face of retail and the future of the industry. The conference focuses on retail and brands to ask disruptive questions and challenge accepted industry notions.

This is an ideal conference for future-looking trailblazers and those who want to connect with some of the retail industry’s most innovative minds. Previous years’ speakers have included academics from Columbia University and Barcelona Technology School, brand and technology leaders from the likes of Google, SAP, and Alibaba.

Retail & Brand Congress brings an agenda centered around analyzing and understanding where consumerism and shopping habits are heading in times of uncertainty. The conference aims to connect experts, industry leaders, disruptors and innovative startups.

Cost/Registration: To register your interest in attending Retail & Brand Congress 2021, please visit the conference website.

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from this past year, it’s to expect the unexpected! Unsurprisingly though, the eCommerce industry has continued to boom and transform quickly, so retail brands have had to digitize and shift strategy. This will continue well into the future, as retail and eCommerce continue to evolve, driven by exciting new digital technologies.

With so much change upon the horizon, there’s never been a better time to connect with others in the eCommerce community, whether virtually or safely in person, to gain the knowledge and strategy required to make 2021 and beyond a success for your eCommerce business.

Taking the time to invest in attending eCommerce conferences will not only build on your existing skills and expertise but will also allow you to ensure that your business stays ahead of the curve, no matter what comes next.

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