COVID-19 put a stop to in-person conferences of all kinds in early 2020. Now, thanks to the vaccine, in-person gatherings are making a comeback.
Some conferences are still virtual, while others are resuming live, in-the-flesh meetings in late 2021 and early 2022, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
This is your guide to the best e-commerce conferences to attend in 2021 and 2022.
How to choose which conferences to attend
Before you sign up for any of the events below, take a moment to analyze what you want out of the e-commerce conference.
Is it the opportunity to network with other sellers, or the ability to glean concrete tips from experts? Maybe a little bit of both?
Check the agenda to see how much time is devoted to informal gatherings, workshops, and keynotes.
Location is another factor to consider. How far are you willing to travel? Do you prefer a virtual conference over an in-person one?
Many of the conferences below take place in cities that offer plenty of sightseeing, so keep that in mind, too, if you’re interested in mixing business with play.
A note on duplicate conferences
Some of the biggest e-commerce conferences hold several satellite events under the same name.
Savant is one of them. Savant’s e-commerce events each have a unique focus and are held in major European cities during different times of the year.
From Savant: “Our annual events have established themselves as the leading hubs to meet senior digital executives and thought leaders in Europe and internationally.
Held at unusual and inspiring venues in Europe’s primary hubs, Savant Events facilitates strategic high-level gatherings for senior executives from the world’s most innovative and influential companies, to discuss the key issues facing today’s professionals.”
White Label World Expo is another convention held in multiple locations across different dates. This online and retail sourcing show focuses on helping you:
- Learn how to sell online
- Source new products
- Master being an online entrepreneur
- Boost your product line into an industry-leading brand
White Label World Expo is holding four separate, in-person events in 2021 and early 2022.
You’ll find all of these events and more listed chronologically below.
eTail Virtual Summit & Expo for E-Commerce & Omnichannel Innovators
When: June 29-July 1, 2021
In their words: “At the eTail Virtual Summit & Expo, you’ll get action-packed stories, disruptive strategies, strategic conversations, and connections with top minds at America’s most successful retailers. No commercials. No egos. We cut out the fluff to give you hundreds of strategic takeaways to increase profits from your business.”
Why you should attend: The great thing about virtual conferences is that you don’t have to fork out cash for travel in order to attend them. This year’s eTail summit will focus on successfully navigating a business during the post-pandemic era.
During the three-day conference, experts from top companies — think Bed Bath & Beyond, Office Depot, and Sephora — will give keynotes and host workshops dedicated to forging a new path forward.
Ticket info: Price varies depending on whether you’re a brand/retailer or a vendor/consultant. See prices here.
When: August 24-25, 2021
In their words: “The 2021 retailX conference will draw upon the collective experience of the retailX you know and love and our sister brand, Retail TouchPoints. RTP is an online publishing network for retail executives, offering content focused on optimizing the customer experience across channels. Together, we will provide direct access to the technology and trends shaping the digital future of retail.”
Why you should attend: The 2021 agenda is special because it’ll give you insight into how brands large and small pivoted — and thrived — during the pandemic. Each item on the agenda follows one of these seven tracks:
- Contactless commerce
- Digital marketing
- E-commerce acceleration
- Modern marketplace selling
- Smart supply chain
- The new in-store experience
Learn from Kecia Steelman, COO of Ulta Beauty; Melanie Gatewood, director of multicultural merchandising at Target; and Josef Rousek, president of Mt. Whitney Coffee Roasters, among many others. See the full agenda here.
Ticket info: See this page to register as an attendee, a member of the media, or an exhibitor.
White Label World Expo Las Vegas
When: September 1-2, 2021
Where: Las Vegas
In their words: “The White Label World Expo in Las Vegas is setting itself apart as the forefront of educating and showcasing organizations and businesses at the heart of e-commerce, retail, and environmentally sustainable innovations.”
Why you should attend: This is your chance to learn industry insights from key leaders such as Alex Genov, head of customer research at Zappos; Jeanel Alvarado, the founder and CEO of RETAILBOSS; and Rose Jia, head of growth marketing at Amazon Grocery.
In addition to keynotes, panels, and workshops led by dozens of industry leaders, you’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for masterclasses from top Amazon FBA acquirers Thrasio, Elevate Brands, and SellerX.
Ticket info: More information here.
When: September 20-22, 2021
Where: In-person in Las Vegas, with a virtual option
In their words: “The 2021 eTourism Summit fuses the travel industry with Silicon Valley. Attendees will receive updated information on the latest trends in email marketing, search, social media, and mobile and web design. They will also learn how travel marketers are using new tools to build incremental website traffic for next-to-nothing…or nothing.”
Why you should attend: Organizers promise a uniquely intimate setting that’s like no other conference. Under the theme of “See Tomorrow,” destination marketers will have a forum for exchanging ideas and reimagine the future of tourism.
This is the ideal conference for:
- Destination marketing organizations
- State and regional travel associations
- Cruise lines
- Airlines and hotels
- International tour operators
- Marketing agencies with travel industry clients
Tourism took a big hit in 2020. This summit is all about helping the industry bounce back stronger than ever. The keynote speaker is Tim Ash, marketing expert and bestselling author of Unleash Your Primal Brain and Landing Page Optimization.
Ticket info: See all the registration options here.
CommerceNext IRL (In-Real-Life)
When: September 28-29, 2021
Where: New York City
In their words: “CommerceNext is a community, event series, and conference for marketers at retail and direct-to-consumer brands.”
Why you should attend: Back after a two-year hiatus, the 2021 conference will feature more than 80 speakers from leading retailers, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, and innovative tech companies such as Glossier, Purple, Macy’s, Walmart, Casper, and more.
With over 42 sessions — including 11 keynotes and 24 breakout sessions on “how to” marketing tactics — there’s something for everyone. Plus, this year the convention will include programming dedicated to cross-border and international e-commerce in partnership with Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum (GELF).
Among the topics on the agenda:
- The resurgence of brick-and-mortar retail and its impact on e-commerce
- New advertising strategies for a new cookieless era
- 1st party data revolution: Innovating around today’s customers
- The activist consumer: Why sustainability and social responsibility matters
- Emerging marketing channels: TikTok, Snap, and more
- Shopatainment: Is livestream social commerce the future?
Ticket info: Only retailers and DTC providers can apply to attend; they can do so here.
White Label World Expo New York
When: September 30-October 1, 2021
Where: New York City
In their words: “This unmissable event gathers thousands of online sellers, suppliers, and buyers from across the globe all under one roof. Attendees will leave full of inspiration and ready to take the industry by storm!”
Why you should attend: The expo is an ideal place to discover and test new products to source from the world’s top suppliers. You’ll also get the chance to sit in on keynotes, seminars, panels, and special sessions with leading pros.
Keynote speakers include Katie Osberg, global retail partnerships lead at Google; David Schmidt, senior manager of customer experience at The North Face; and Gene Lunger, executive vice president of retail operations at Ashley HomeStore.
Ticket info: Sign up to receive a ticket here.
Savant reConnect London 2021
When: October 5-6, 2021
In their words: “A focused one-day event combining amazing content, extensive networking opportunities, small discussion groups and fun group activities.”
Why you should attend: More than 40 senior e-commerce professionals from all sorts of industries will be attending: fashion, consumer electronics, luxury goods, homeware, beauty, food, travel, and entertainment. The event focuses on the new hybrid model of working born out of the pandemic.
Here are some of the key topics to be covered:
- How can customer data be effectively collected and analyzed to improve the customer journey?
- What role must content play in your post-pandemic positioning?
- How does the in-store experience need to evolve in the new normal?
- How do you keep your team motivated and successful in the home office?
Confirmed speakers are Nina Patel, director of innovation at Farfetch, and Tristan Burns, global head of analytics for Pizza Hut.
White Label World Expo Frankfurt
When: October 13-14, 2021
Where: Frankfurt, Germany
In their words: “This is an incredible opportunity to come face to face with thousands of the world’s top suppliers and try, touch and test a multitude of products. You can take advantage of free advice and consultations, helping you to secure the best deals and take your business to the next level!”
Why you should attend: If you need a jolt of inspiration, the Frankfurt expo is the place to get it. With categories spanning food and drink, apparel, CBD, and pet supplies, there’s something for every brand.
Connect with over 8,000 attendees, 200 speakers, and 350 exhibitors.
Attend keynotes by top European and global white-label experts, including Bernhard Rauscher, digital entrepreneur at Brandonaut; Oliver Klinck, general manager at eBay Germany; and Claudia Studtmann, head of retail DACH at Facebook.
Ticket info: Sign up to receive a ticket here.
Savant Supply Chain Congress 2021
When: October 25-26, 2021
In their words: “An energizing and high-level event like no other in the supply chain space, this conference brings together 130+ heads of supply chain, logistics, and planning from Europe’s most established and most innovative B2C supply chains.”
Why you should attend: Senior supply chain professionals from more than 80 leading retailers, brands, and manufacturers will be in attendance for 13+ hours of packed content and 7 hours of facilitated networking opportunities. The focus will be on creating a customer-centric supply chain, reducing supply chain waste, and leveraging AI’s role in supply chain.
Confirmed speakers include Klaas Nicolai, supply chain director for Under Armour, and Yvonne Oeyen, director of demand planning at Maxeda DIY.
Savant eCommerce Stockholm 2021
When: November 2-3, 2021
Where: Stockholm, Sweden
In their words: “Savant eCommerce Stockholm will explore the methods and strategies, both tried and new, for you to effectively drive profitability within your organization.”
Why you should attend: More than 170 senior industry professionals will be in attendance, along with over 30 industry-leading panelists. The following topics are on the agenda:
- How to capitalize on personalized holiday shopping experiences
- Understanding your customers’ e-body
- Good CX is worth its money
- Understanding pressing problems in e-commerce from a different angle
The speaker list includes Ivelina G. Tzoneva, e-commerce project manager for Nestlé Nespresso, and Fatemeh Mahmoudi, head of global product marketing at Care by Volvo.
NRF 2022 Retail’s Big Show
When: January 16-18, 2022
Where: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City
In their words: “NRF is returning to New York City in January with key insights and latest tech solutions that will accelerate your business into the future.”
Why you should attend: Established in 1911, National Retail Federation’s Big Show is the largest and one of the oldest retail conferences and expos in the world.
In January 2020, the convention drew more than 40,000 attendees, with 18,000 retailers from 87 of the top 100 retail companies, representing a total of 96 countries.
Speakers in 2020 included Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; and the founder and CEO of goop (aka Gwyneth Paltrow).
At NRF 2022, you’ll
Ticket info: TBA
Savant eCommerce Berlin 2022
When: February 9-10, 2022
Where: Berlin, Germany
In their words: “A prestigious event where top-level speakers and industry-leading executives discuss the latest trends, network, and build meaningful relationships.”
Why you should attend: In 2020, more than 220 senior e-commerce professionals attended Savant Berlin and more than 30 industry leaders spoke or presented on panels. Speakers included Livia Lee, COO of Iala Berlin GmbH, and Matthew Dean, VP digital worldwide of Hugo Boss.
These were some of the topics covered in 2020:
- How to be your customers’ companion, advisor, and inspiration
- Using customization to stand out in a competitive environment
- Building an immersive omnichannel strategy
- Fostering innovative digital transformation
- Reimagining the CDO
- Overcoming challenges through creative solutions
Keep an eye on the website for updates about what the 2021 conference will cover.
Ticket info: TBA
White Label World Expo United Kingdom
When: March 2-3, 2022
In their words: “The UK White Label World Expo gives you another opportunity to learn from online sellers, suppliers, and buyers from around the world. Meet face to face with 500 white-label goods suppliers and discover the most trending and innovative products to sell.”
Why you should attend: With over 7,000 visitors, 200 speakers, and 500 exhibitors, the potential for discovery is limitless. Hear keynotes from Bianca Miller-Cole and Byron Cole, entrepreneurs and authors of Self Made: The definitive guide to business startup success; Emma Thornton, founder and owner of True Skincare; and Marcel Marculescu, CEO of intelliRANK, among many others.
Ticket info: Sign up for tickets here.
When: March 27-30, 2022
Where: Las Vegas
Event tagline: “The world missed out on 2021’s event due to the pandemic, but in 2022, Shoptalk’s big convention is back on. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the changing retail landscape, Shoptalk presents the opportunity to connect with over 8,000 peers for the tools and knowledge you need to cut through the chaos.”
Why you should attend: Organizers are calling Shoptalk 2022 the world’s largest retail conference. Information regarding speakers and the agenda is forthcoming, but here’s some of what Shoptalk will cover in 2022:
- Groundbreaking digital experiences
- The transformation of physical retail
- Groundbreaking marketing strategies and tactics
- The future of brands
- Innovations in merchandising
- Fulfillment, pickup and delivery
- The business of doing good: DEI and ESG
Ticket info: Register for the conference here.
Final details before you attend
Once you’ve picked the best e-commerce conference (or three) to attend, it’s time to prepare for your trip. Study the agenda and highlight the events you want to attend.
Bring a bag with your laptop and phone, along with all the charging supplies you’ll need for jam-packed days of networking and learning.
Order fresh business cards and get ready to receive more than a few in return. You’ll be meeting new people right and left, and you’ll want to be able to follow up with them after the conference.
Most of all, have a fantastic time. And bookmark this article to refer back to, because we’ll be updating it as new information comes in.