Sunday, June 21, 2009

International Retailer Conference & Exhibition - Boston

The largest conference of its type. We definitely learnt a lot from the conference speakers sessions, but the most rewarding component was talking with other online businesses. Some key takeaways were:

  1. Accountability - with the widespread use of tools to make your online marketing more efficient, you can also use these tools to hold your marketing agencies accountable for your website conversions, sales numbers, etc.
  2. Affiliates - it seems like with the dominance of online retail giants, it's hard for small businesses to compete. This is why the use of affiliates is so important; online growth is largely depending on the size of the network that you are able to create. Are your services/products beneficial or complimentary to other online services? Creating affiliations and partnerships can raise sales and positively impact the bottom line for both companies. The golden rule still applies: If the partnership or affiliation doesn't have any impact on your bottom line it's a no go - you're either partnering for your ego's sake or to impress your investors.
  3. Functionality - what did people come to your website to do? The pretty colors and design are appropriate only when they compliment the functionality of your website. Background graphics that overlap the website navigation menu are a distraction and detract from the main function, to sell, sell, SELL!!!
Those are just a couple of things we picked up from the conference; I would definitely recommend other online retailers/services to attend this conference next year since you will learn current techniques to improve your website, bounce ideas off potential partners and customers, and see how other businesses manage their websites to maximize ROI on their marketing spending.

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