I just returned from the Shop.org Annual Summit in Las Vegas. It is clear from both the size of the show (relative to last year) and the quality of the attendees list that Shop.org has done a good job leveraging its NRF affiliation to become a significant show for eCommerce and multi-channel retailing. I was struck by not only the extensive list of Tier 1 and Tier 2 retailers that sent staff but also by the quantity of LOB executives that attended. Director of eCommerce, VP of Customer Care, VP of Direct Marketing, etc were all examples of the titles of the attendees.
What Shop.org has done to separate itself from the traditional vendor-focused trade shows is to focus on attendee education. Shop.org has oriented its summit events around retailer seminars, thus enticing quality LOB attendees who would otherwise shy away from a trade show event where they would be accosted by vendors. The challenge Shop.org will have however will be how to keep vendors willing to invest significant amounts of money and time into a show that does not focus on the exhibition floor. As we know, vendors pay for these shows to a great extent and their involvement is critical to the success of an event.
Microsoft put together a very good show presence this year by taking a holistic approach to our booth. We combined our Digital Advertising Services (MDAS) presence with our eCommerce and multi-channel retailing technologies into a single Microsoft booth (a departure from last year). While in some cases LOB executives aligned with a specific function like advertising were not interested in eCommerce technology per se, the vision that Microsoft was able to paint was compelling. Microsoft wants retailers to understand that driving better relationships with customers is not just about eCommerce or just about advertising. It is about a collaborative approach that unifies channel strategies. Look for more on this strategy in future posts and marketing content.