10 Conferences to Consider in 2017, to Boost Your Online-Retail Strategies

Barbara Corcoran. Rand Fishkin. Cutting-edge technology. Brand development. Omni-channel integration. What will draw you to the next ecommerce conference?

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By Thomas Smale

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Ecommerce is changing fast, with many companies using technology in creative and innovative ways that make it harder for entrepreneurs in online retail to compete and keep up with recognized brands and companies.

Related: Conferences Are Good for Networking but Great for Marketing

Fortunately, there is also more information available than ever before through events and conferences covering various aspects of ecommerce. Attendees can also connect with known figures in the industry and learn from their peers.

Want to boost your online retail strategies? Here are some events to put on your calendar.

Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange

MITX, as it's nicknamed, takes place on February 8 in Boston and will cover technology, media, and consumer behavior. Scheduled speakers include Jake Bailey, head of business development at Wish; Julie L. Daly, VP of ecommerce at Ashley Stewart; Andy Freedman, CMO of Riskified; Meera Murthy, VP of strategy at Evergage; and Carl Prindle, president and CEO of Blueport Commerce, among others.

Bronto Summit

The Bronto Summit will be held in Las Vegas April 24-27, and on its speaker roster are Mike Gottlieb, product manager of Bronto Software; Randy Kohl, director of content and digital at Gorilla Group; Chris Pirrotta, director of ecommerce at Slideshow Collectibles; and Kelsey Foy, head of retention marketing at ELOQUII Design Inc.

Organized by Oracle and NetSuite of Bronto Software, the summit will include training sessions on its own commerce marketing automation software, as well as several keynotes covering products and the industry. For Bronto users or those looking to learn more about this software, the summit may be something to check out.

Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition

IRCE will be held June 6-9 at McCormick Place West in Chicago. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, network with their peers and explore the expansive exhibit hall's almost 600 vendors.

Investor Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank; Miki Racine Berardelli, CEO of Kidbox; George Hanson, VP of North America ecommerce at Under Armour; and Mary Beth Laughton, senior VP at Sephora, are all scheduled to speak at the conference, which promises to help attendees stay up-to-date with the fast-changing world of ecommerce.

Related: The 10 Best Worldwide Conferences for Entrepreneurs

Global E-commerce Summit

The Global E-commerce Summit will be held in Barcelona, Spain, June 12-14. You won't want to miss this year's speakers, who include Jonathan Chippindale, chief executive of Holition; Diana Wang, founder and CEO of DHgate; Rachael Tipograph, founder and CEO of MikMak; Yoshiki Yasui, founder and CEO of Origami; Xavier Court, co-founder of Vente-privee; and others. This event specifically covers the latest trends and disruptions in B2C digital commerce.

3PL & Supply Chain Summit

At 3PL & Supply Chain Summit, June 14-16 in Chicago, you can expect to learn from the likes of Brad Jacobs, CEO of XPO; Andrew Clarke, CFO of CH Robinson; Ed Feitzinger, VP of Global Logistics at Amazon; Nic Vu, GM and SVP of Adidas in North America; Joanne Wright, VP of IBM's Supply Chain; and others.

The summit's themes include technology and innovation, driving growth, market trends and economic conditions, plus a session on learning about your customers and more. The summit is ideal for those looking to learn more about supply chain optimization.

Future Stores

At Future Stores, you'll learn about technology that can transform customer experiences and how to achieve omni-channel integration and make new connections. The conference will be held at Washington State Convention Center in Seattle June 26-28, and will feature speakers like Jeff Dinard, CIO of On The Border; Lindsay Angelo, strategist at Lululemon; Cedric Clark, VP of store operations at PetSmart Inc.; and Angela Gearhart, senior director of retail experience and design at Sleep Number.


When you think Moz, you can't help but think of SEO. But at MozCon, you'll also learn about brand development, conversion-rate optimization, mobile, analytics, customer experience and content marketing. These are among the valuable tactics the conference will feature, to help you build and maintain an ironclad website.

MozCon will be held from July 17-19 in Seattle. Attendees will hear from Lisa Myers of Verve Search; Matthew Barby of HubSpot; Purna Virji of Microsoft; Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive; and of course the founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin.

Retail Global

Retail Global presents itself as "a top-ten, must-attend ecommerce conference in 2016" for retailers. This year the event will be held in its usual locale, Las Vegas, September 12-14. Featuring 100-plus speakers, the conference will give attendees access to local and global industry experts providing content focused on real solutions for retailers.

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. Speakers will include Jason Trichel, head of U.S. global sales and business development at Amazon, John Kelly, head of sales at eBay; Bob Schwartz, founder of Nordstrom.com, and former president of Magento; and many more industry experts.


Shop.org will take place in Los Angeles September 25-27. This year's speakers have yet to be announced, but if you're looking to learn about cutting-edge innovations and technology, prepare yourself for the changes and challenges ahead, and meet executives of recognized brands and companies Shop.org is worth a look.

Ecom Chicago

The details for Ecom Chicago 2017 are forthcoming. Last year, attendees got to hear from the likes of entrepreneur and Amazon expert Chris Green; John Lawson, CEO of 3rd Power Outlet; thrifting expert Nadene Shearstone; Jason T. Smith and others. Ecom Chicago focuses on business growth, and is friendly to both beginners just getting their businesses off the ground, and those who are growing and looking to streamline their operations.

Local ecommerce Meetup.com groups

You can't underestimate the value of local Meetup groups, where people gather to share ideas, experiences and strategies. If you live in a major metropolitan area, there should be plenty of opportunities to connect with existing groups, and if none exist, you can always create your own.

Find regular gatherings in your locality to get plugged into what's working and what's happening in your region. You'll have the opportunity to meet with locals who may be experiencing the same issues as you.

Events like these give you the opportunity to step away from your business and see things from a new perspective. It can be difficult to come up with fresh ideas when you're stuck in the day-to-day grind. Getting away from your business is often a good way to come away feeling inspired and recharged.

Related: 7 Conferences for Entrepreneurs Under 30

Remember to prepare for each event and think about what sessions you most want to attend, whom you're interested in meeting and what you'd like to get out of each conference.

Thomas Smale

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder of FE International

Thomas Smale co-founded FE International in 2010. He has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.

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