Your business can demand major time -- especially when you're first getting set up or you're in the midst of growing and scaling. But if you burn the candle on both ends, or sacrifice your health and relationships, your efforts are all for naught. Sometimes, it's necessary to step away from your business to gain perspective.
Conferences can be a great way to take a break. Traveling to them, participating in their sessions and workshops and networking with other business owners can help you get out of a rut if you're in one, think more strategically about your business and be in touch with people who can help you.
Not that you need to go to every conference that's out there. What's important is to take time to recharge, and return to your business ready to tackle new challenges. As a business owner, I've also found speaking to be an effective way to grow my business.
So, with those things in mind, here is a list, compiled by my team, of 11 of our favorite ecommerce conferences.
1. The 10x E-Commerce Event
With over 25 speakers and 18 sessions, the 2016 10x E-Commerce Event this February will focus entirely on tactics you can use to drive more qualified traffic to your site, then convert these people into buying customers. You will learn about the ins and outs of conversion optimization, customer retention, A/B testing, marketing automation and much more.
This year's keynote speakers are Ashlee Vance, Paco Underhill and Timothy Seward. The summit will be held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, February 10-12.
2. eTail West
eTail West will be held in Palm Springs, California, February 22-25. You'll have the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics like content marketing, mobile engagement, data and various pain points and areas that affect your business. This year's keynote speakers include Ron Boire, Kelly McGann, Eric Anderson, Eoin Comerford, Jen Cotter and David Katz.
Other eTail events will be held throughout the year at various locations:
- eTail Germany will be held in Berlin March 8-10.
- eTail Canada will be in Toronto, Ontario, May 16-19.
- eTail Europe happens in London, England, June 21-23.
- eTail East will be in Boston, August 15-18.
3. eCommerceFuel Live
eCommerceFuel Live is made up of an exclusive group of six-and-seven-figure independent store owners. This year's keynote speakers include Miracle Wanzo, Paul Lepa and David Heacock. The event will be held at The Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn., and will feature world-class musical entertainment. This three-day conference will happen October 7-10.
Are you looking to learn about industry best practices, SEO, conversion optimization, content marketing, international ecommerce, trends in ecommerce and other related topics? The beginner-friendly Mivacon will be held in San Diego, March 9-11. The conference schedule has yet to be announced in full, but Rick Wilson will be one of the keynote speakers.
5. Sellers' Conference For Online Entrepreneurs
The Sellers' Conference for Online Entrepreneurs -- or SCOE -- will be held in Philadelphia, March 23-25. The speaker roster includes Emily Murray, Rob Wray, Ashvin Kumar, Chris McCabe and others. At SCOE, you will learn about tools and trends in improving your online selling, driving more sales, optimizing your product and service offerings, expanding globally and more. The main focus is on sellers who use Amazon, eBay, Sears, Etsy and the like.
6. Imagine Commerce
Imagine Commerce is being held in Las Vegas, April 11-13. A premier Magento commerce conference, Imagine brings together more than 2,500 merchants, developers, partners and experts from more than 45 countries worldwide. Past years' speakers have included keynotes from Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Wynn and sessions featuring brands and retailers like Toys R Us, Rebecca Minkoff, 3M, Kendra Scott, Zoetis and others.
7. Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition
The Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition -- or IRCE -- offers access to some of the leading industry experts and a one-of-a-kind exhibit hall displaying 600 of the latest solution providers. The 2016 speaker roster is comprised of Raj Aggarwal, Kelli Agnich, Gene Alvarez, Adam Audette, Rick Backus, Amy Ballantyne Rapawy and others.
8. Sellers Summit
Sellers Summit offers an intense "workshop" experience focusing on up-to-date actionable insights -- instead of feel-good stories -- that entrepreneurs can use to grow their revenues. Speakers include event host Steve Chou, Scott Voelker, Greg Mercer, Toni Anderson, Andrew Youderian, Eric Siu, Spencer Haws, Andreea Ayers, Autumn Wyda, and others. The Sellers Summit takes place in Miami, May 19-21.
9. Freedom Fast Lane Live
Details are as of yet forthcoming for the 2016 Freedom Fast Lane Live conference, but it's sure to be an incredible experience. Speaker Ryan Moran, for instance, is a true ecommerce expert. At F2L2, you will have the opportunity to meet, connect with and learn from industry leaders to stretch your mindset and be challenged to think beyond what you believe is possible in your business. My team at FE International loved the 2015 event.
10. Retail Global
Retail Global occurs September 20-22 in Las Vegas. Its primary area of focus will be international commerce. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from speakers from across the world and build a network of trusted contacts. This year's speakers have yet to be announced.
Focusing on tech-based disruption in ecommerce, SHOPTALK will be held in Las Vegas May 15-18. Its wide range of speakers will include Casey Carl, Daphne Carmeli, Tracy Dinunzio, Ron Johnson, Tim Kendall, Katrina Lake, Raghav Lal, Brian Lee, Marc Lore, Julie Wainright, Janie Yu and others. At SHOPTALK, you can expect to learn the latest trends in engaging consumers.
As a business owner, you'll find that the most important investment you can make is in yourself and the future of your business. Conferences give you the chance to learn, grow and connect with others who are successful in their respective fields.
Certainly, there are lots of great events out there; and it can be hard to know which to choose. But, ultimately, you will benefit from the experience, no matter what. It isn't all about what you learn, but rather the decisions you make coming out of a conference, and the new connections you make.