There are thousands of conferences held in the United States every year. For every industry, conferences offer a unique experience to meet, learn, and connect with others. Most people learn insights and advice that they can’t find anywhere else.
For a retailer, especially those in eCommerce, it can be overwhelming to choose which eCommerce conferences you want to attend throughout the year. Conferences are usually costly and require lots of planning.
This post will provide tips and resources to help you choose retail conferences that are worth your time.
List of 2017 eCommerce and Retail Conferences
To start your search, take a look at the wide range of conferences that are happening in 2017. Use this great tool from Red Stag Fulfillment that lists out retail conferences happening this year. Further narrow down your search by industry, date, topic, and price.
Pick a handful of conferences from this list that look interesting to you. Then, apply our tips below to pick the most promising ones.
Tips for Choosing Which eCommerce and Retail Conferences to Attend
When choosing an eCommerce or retail conference to attend, there are a few important areas you want to consider. Check out our tips to help you choose the conferences that you’re going to get the most out of.
Review Past Conferences
Have you attended any conferences in the past? If you have, evaluate your experience.
What did you learn? Was it worth your time and money? Who did you meet?
If you had a good experience, consider going again. If it wasn’t, then it’s time to find something different to attend.
Set a Goal
Before researching different eCommerce conferences to attend, you should have your end goal in mind. When you leave the conference, what do you want to achieve? Different goals could be lead or customer generation, brand awareness, forging new partnerships, learning more about an industry, or just networking.
Knowing what you want to achieve upfront is going to help you choose the right conference to attend.
You need to decide what your budget is. Conference expenses can easily run into the thousands. Determining your budget is one of the quickest ways to help qualify whether or not you can attend.
When calculating costs, consider all expenses you’ll incur. Think of transportation, conference fees, meals, and hotels. Conferences often have pricing packages based on level of participation. It will cost more if you have a booth versus just attending the speaker sessions.
Don’t be afraid to say no to a bigger, more well-known conference because its costs too much for the return you get. Some of the best conferences I’ve attended have been small ones that happened right down the street from our office.
Examine conference purpose and speakers
Keeping your goal in mind, take a close look at the speaker lineup and conference environment.
If you’re looking to generate leads, you’ll want a conference that focuses on exhibit time for the different retailers. Some conferences have a laidback, learning environment. People aren’t looking to hear your sales pitch and you aren’t going to sell anyone there.
It can be hard to figure out the nature of a conference, so look for others to ask. Nothing’s worse than spending your time and money to go to a conference that doesn’t help you meet your goal.
See Who’s Already Going
Get an idea of who’s already signed-up. Conference websites usually have an attendee list that’s kept updated. You can also check for Twitter hashtags and other social media posts.
Examining the guest list gives you a good idea if you’ll be in good company or not. If there aren’t customers or colleagues that you want to meet, then it’s probably going to be a bust.
Also, knowing the guest list ahead of time gives you time to schedule meetings with people you really want to meet. Conferences are a great way to meet your prospects face to face.
Look at Past Reviews
Lastly, always check for past reviews. Marketing can be misleading. See what former attendees had to say about the quality of the event. This gives you extra assurance that it will be worth your time.
What to Do Next: Pick, Attend, and Review
Use the conference tool above to help you find possible events. Then, use our tips to help further research and pick the best retail conference for yourself.
After you attend the conferences, make sure to review how it went. Would you go again? You’ll know right away whether or not the conference was worth your time and money.