Making the Most of Ecommerce Trade Shows and Conferences



When you have an e-commerce business, it’s important to keep up with the slightly overwhelming amount of changes that take place each year.

One of the best ways to do that, as well as make friends with other online sellers, learn new things, and gain support, is to attend industry trade shows and conferences.

What Conferences Should You Attend?

“Determining what conferences you should attend depends on where you are in your business and what sales channels you are using,” says Kat Simpson, of, who writes, teaches and trains individuals and small business owners on social media and selling on eBay, Amazon and other marketplaces.

“I cannot tell you enough about the IRCE event in June in Chicago as it is the largest of all and the resources are almost immeasurable. Smaller conferences I recommend are the Jim Cockrum CES conference for overall business strategy, and the eBay Radio Party or any eBay sponsored event for eBay Sellers. I have attended and/or spoken at all of these.”

Janet Hayden Bishop, of Huntington Beach, CA, sells holiday decorating products on Amazon and through her website, “I attend the SCOE conferences, which help me with my Amazon sales, and have made friends with other sellers that way. We keep in touch and e-mail each other for support.

In addition to those shows, John Lawson, CEO of ColderIce Media, and author of Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs (Amazon), suggests the following:

  • Think Global Retail – takes place in Las Vegas in August – a great show for ecommerce merchants selling through multiple platforms
  • IceRetailer – where smaller merchants can network with each other – presentations are provided only by actual sellers
  • – East Coast and West Coast shows – hear what the big boys, like Macy’s and JCPenney, are doing
  • ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst Americas – in Las Vegas – hear from the marketplaces

How Can You Make the Most of These Events?

“I like to get to conferences and trade shows the day before they start,” offers Lawson. “After looking at the agenda, I circle the sessions I want to attend. Then I check out the vendors, and see who is selling products and services that I might need, and make a note of visiting their booths.”

Lawson suggests attending several breakout sessions, not just mainstream sessions. “Mainstream sessions are slim on actionable items. Breakout sessions offer more hands-on information.”

Making Friends

“One great way to meet other ecommerce merchants is to attend networking events hosted by vendors,” says Lawson. If you hit it off with someone, you can make plans to get together for coffee or lunch the next day.

Final Thoughts

Ecommerce folks are casual, so feel free to wear casual clothes. And don’t deny yourself the experience of attending an industry trade show.

“Trade shows are a real treat,” notes Lawson. “You work hard, and these conferences provide needed relief. You’re with people you can talk to, who know what you’re talking about. Often you’ll re-connect with people year after year.”

Onward and Upwards.