3 Must Attends at eTail East 2016

It's that time of year again. eTail East is kicking off next week bringing together eCommerce and Omni-Channel Retail Innovators. I sit back and think of what the first eTail was like in 1999 right before the .com bubble burst and find it amazing the transformation retail has undergone since then. Responsive site design- what was that? Shop online and pick up in store- come again? Can anyone say Cartwheel App?

eTail East is happening August 15-18, 2016 at The Sheraton in Boston, MA. It will bring together 900 retailers, 100 speakers and many service and solution providers under one roof. Working for one of the retail industry's most trusted eCommerce agencies, Echidna, I love following industry events like this. Not only for the purpose of future partnerships, but being able to learn how other brands are taking on their online presence through eCommerce and digital marketing. Being able to celebrate what is working and learn from what is not is invaluable.

At eTail East last year it toted some great presentations from industry leaders like Jason Goldberger from Target, Stormy Simon, now former President at Overstock.com and Marshall Porter, now former SVP and GM, International of Gilt Groupe. This year promises some amazing keynotes, sessions and networking opportunities. So how can you pick just the cream of the crop? In the end, it depends where your brand sits today and their goals for tomorrow, but as usual I took the time to pick my top 3 Must Attend's.

1. Panel Discussion: Turning Traffic Into Sales: Making The Mobile Experience Better For Today's Consumers

This made my Top 3 for obvious reasons. More consumers are shopping on mobile devices and it is predicted this will continue to increase. Make sure your brand is ready and join the panelists to hear their thoughts around taking your mobile strategy from soup to nuts and firing out what updates you need to really see a difference in conversion on these devices. The panel that they have brought together to talk on this topic should make for a great discussion. All with extensive experience in various facets of eCommerce, digital marketing, IT management and User Experience.

Industry Experts Speaking:

Eileen Shulluck, VP of eCommerce for luxury boutique Kirna Zabete.

Michael Zuccato, Director of Online Marketing for Sourcebooks

Mike DiMiele, Director of Marketing for Pampered Chef

Damon Burgess, Web Development for One Way Furniture

When: 3:25pm, Tuesday, August 16 (Track C)

2. Keynote: The Future Of Retail And The Convergence Of Customer Centricity, IoT And Omnichannel

First of all, if you aren’t familiar with Thoryn Stephens, you should be. He has an incredibly interesting background as a business professional and web analytics guru. As the Chief Digital Officer of American Apparel, he manages their digital business across a global network of 17 websites. This keynote will be discussing how to leverage customer centricity as the foundation of your consumer strategy, practical applications of omnichannel and how IoT is shaping the consumer experience. I’m looking forward to hearing his thoughts on what is considered a loaded topic for many retailers in this can’t miss keynote.

When: 9:55am, Wednesday, August 17th

3. Retailer Only Chats and Cocktails

I stated it earlier, but a huge part of this conference is learning what has (or hasn't) worked for other brands. We are all in this together, so network with fellow retailers before the actual conference kicks off! With several tables to choose from, this is a great time to mingle with fellow retailers and also learn from them.

Industry Experts Hosting:

Table 1: Achieving Omni-Channel Success with Eileen Shulock, VP eCommerce, Kirna Zabete

Table 2: Jumpstart Your Start Up with Christine Monaghan, Director/VP eCommerce, Villa

Table 3: Hosted By: Rosie Manfredi, Director, User Experience, Digital Commerce, Harry and David

Table 4: Attribution Best Practices with Amy Boaz, Sr. Manager Global Digital Marketing, Global eCommerce, Lenovo

When: 5:00pm, Wednesday, August 17th

What sessions are you excited to attend? What speakers are not-to-be-missed in your book?