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Whether you’re a marketing veteran or rookie, e-commerce conferences are an excellent way for you to keep abreast of the latest tools, trends, and tactics. They’re also valuable opportunities for those looking to network with top-notch industry leaders. 

With many of the world’s largest e-commerce conferences going digital in 2021, you no longer have to worry about travel limitations. Instead, get ready to enjoy discussion sessions and keynote presentations from the comfort of your home. 

Here are eight e-commerce conferences that we encourage all marketers to attend this year:

1. National Retail Federation

When? June 6-8, 2021

Where? New York City, USA

Featured speakers? Spotify, Old Navy, Gap, Klarna, IBM 

The National Retail Foundation is the world’s largest retail trade association, so you’ll definitely want to check out their annual conference (aptly dubbed “Retail’s Big Show!”). If you missed NRF’s virtual industry conference in early January, no need to worry. You’ll have the opportunity to join the “Chapter Two” conference in June, which will include multiple session tracks, an exhibit hall, and plenty of networking sessions.  

2. eTail Canada

When? August 24-26, 2021

Where? Toronto, Canada

Featured speakers? HelloFresh, Home Hardware, Indochino, Canadian Tire

As one of the most popular e-commerce conferences in Canada, eTail is an event you won’t want to miss. Many top North American retailers and service vendors typically attend, delivering a healthy mix of e-commerce expertise that spans from food and beverage to fashion and apparel. It’s a three-day retreat, meaning you have plenty of time to connect with other attendees and learn about the latest marketing strategies in discussion groups and workshops. 

3. FUTR

When? May 20-21, 2021

Where? London, UK

Featured speakers? TBD

FUTR is an annual European event that focuses on “fresh thinking and progressive change in the future of retail, marketing, and commerce.” It typically hosts over 200 speakers from various industries who speak to the latest e-commerce solutions and technologies. The 2021 conference theme is “Resilience and Collaboration,” aimed to help brands and marketers move forward from the unprecedented industry-wide changes in 2020.

4. DX3 Canada

When? March 2-5, 2021

Where? Toronto, Canada

Featured speakers? Walgreens, TD Bank, SodaStream Canada, Ecommerce Foundation

DX3 is the largest e-commerce, tech, and marketing conference in Canada. The event typically covers more than just e-commerce, with speaking sessions categorized into one of two themes: innovation versus retail. It’s a conference guaranteed to bring tremendous value to e-commerce marketers interested in learning more about the latest in retail technology, experiential retail, and generational buying behaviors. 

5. Grow NY

When? June 22-23, 2021

Where? Queens, New York, USA

Featured speakers? Thinx, Freshly, Bloomberg, Brooklinen

Grow NY promotes itself as being one of the fastest-growing e-commerce conferences in North America. With a focus on direct-to-consumer (D2C) and online brands, the event hosts hundreds of growth experts, marketers, and company founders focused on innovation that drives change. From talks to interactive group labs, this event is perfect for those interested in new ideas and digital trendsetting. 

6. Savant eCommerce Stockholm Conference 

When? April 27-28, 2021

Where? Stockholm, Sweden

Featured speakers? Ikea, Staples, Coca Cola

The year 2021 will mark the third iteration of the Savant e-commerce conference. With the event theme of “driving profitability in times of shrinking margins and a look into the new decade in CX and Omnichannel,” attendees can expect over 12 hours of packed content, 11 hours of networking, and the company of more than 170 senior e-commerce professionals and thought leaders. One interesting part of this conference is that organizers maintain a ratio of three retailers per vendor, ensuring attendees aren’t inundated with sales pitches and recruiting. 

7. ShopTalk 

When? Grocery Shop Meetup: March 9-11, 2021; ShopTalk Meetup for Women: May 11-13, 2021; ShopTalk Fall Meetup: October 19-21, 2021

Where? Online

Featured speakers? TBD

ShopTalk is an annual retail conference in Las Vegas that usually attracts over 8,000 attendees. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have canceled the in-person meetup, pivoting to online events that they’ve named “Retail Meetups” instead. Each one includes online meetings and small group peer discussions for e-commerce marketers to gather, network, and collaborate. There are currently three events planned:

  • Grocery Shop Meetup: For those interested in the grocery and consumer packaged goods industries
  • ShopTalk Meetup for Women: Aimed at women in the retail community 
  • ShopTalk Fall Meetup: Targeted toward anyone interested in connecting with the retail community 

8. Adobe Summit – The Digital Experience Conference

When? April 27-28, 2021

Where? Online

Featured speakers? TBD

The 2021 Adobe Summit will focus on the future of customer experiences. Some questions that the event organizers hope to dive into include: How can we create better digital customer experiences? What is customer experience optimization and monetization? How do we grow customer loyalty in 2021? This free online event will feature success stories from industry leaders on staying ahead in today’s extremely competitive e-commerce landscape. 

Pro Tips for Conference Attendees

So you’ve decided you’re going to sharpen your skills and meet more industry peers. You’ve chosen a conference to attend and paid the entry fee. Now what? How do you make sure that you get the most out of this experience? 

Whether your conference ends up being a valuable experience or a waste of time and money doesn’t just depend on the speaker lineup — it also depends on how prepared you are. 

Here are a handful of tips to make sure that you maximize your opportunity: 

  • Review the agenda. For most conferences, there will be events, panels, and discussion circles happening simultaneously. Instead of going with the flow, you’ll want to review the agenda thoroughly and identify which events are most relevant to your business or professional goals to create a personal itinerary. If you’re attending a conference with a team, you should split up to get the most information. Pro tip: Consider scheduling a presentation session back in the office where everyone shares what they learned at their respective sessions. 
  • Keep an open mind. It can be tempting to spend most of your time at a conference chasing after big-name brands. But learning from startups and medium-sized companies can be just as valuable, especially if you’re interested in how to stay nimble and innovative. 
  • Meet new people. Remember that you’re not just here to learn — you’re also here to expand your professional network. Be engaging, talk to strangers, and ask questions. If the opportunity arises, ask to connect with someone on Linkedin. But the work doesn’t end there — you’ll want to nurture these new relationships after the conference is over, even if it’s just to shoot them a “Hi, it was nice to meet you” message. 

Retail conferences provide tremendous value for those who want to broaden their network, learn about the latest e-commerce trends, and become a better marketer or business owner. We’ve listed just a handful of all the e-commerce conferences organized for 2021 — be sure to monitor the event websites for any program changes from COVID-19 safety precautions. 

For more marketing resources to improve your skills and grow your brand, check out the AdRoll Resource Library. 📚

Author

Angie is the Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.