The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of activity for the Thinkwrap team as we traveled up and down the east coast representing Canadian eCommerce at top industry conferences and events.
Attending these events is an impactful way for us to keep abreast of the latest technology and trends, and allows us to funnel that knowledge back into each and every project we deliver.
Here's a quick recap of where we've been and what we learned:
B2B Online (May 8-10 in Chicago)
B2B Online is widely considered THE eCommerce event for B2B sellers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. This year's attendance was noticeably higher, and in fact double what it was just a year ago. Brands in attendance are leading the B2B eCommerce charge, and included household names like Caterpillar, Grainger, Bosch, 3M, Philips and many more.
It was great to see so many passionate, intelligent driving forces for change in one room, with engaging peer-to-peer conversations at every turn. This surge in interest from the traditional industries who are transforming, is reminiscent of the retail eCommerce explosion of the early 2000s – just on a much bigger scale.
There were many challenges to face on the agenda, but there was a clear theme emerging from the event that resonated in almost every presentation: Traditional businesses that have operated for decades – even centuries – are now forced to undergo severe digital transformations, ultimately changing the way they do business. These manufacturing and distributing giants, who together make up the backbone of the economy, have built their businesses for generations using the same model.
Today's B2B digital marketers are in an exciting spot with tremendous opportunity to evolve. With that though, comes the pressure to stay current on a wide range of topics in order to execute a winning strategy. Oftentimes, owners of these large companies aren't exposed to just how complex B2B commerce really is, and therefore many marketers lack the resources to drive the change necessary to compete.
It was refreshing to experience the excitement about the future that was shared by attendees.
SAP Sapphire Now + ASUG (May 16-18 in Orlando)
The annual SAP and ASUG conference was held in Orlando and featured 30,000 attendees and over 250 exhibitors – it was the size of a small city! Attending gave us the opportunity to catch up with customers and partners while networking with the best and brightest in the industry. This conference focused on enterprise SAP clients and the theme this year was "Helping Companies Achieve Digital Transformation".
SAP Leonardo had an enormous presence at this event. SAP Leonardo is a brand name covering all SAP digital innovation technologies such as IoT, machine learning, big data, blockchain and analytics, along with design thinking.
We attended fantastic sessions that covered a range of topics including a keynote presented by CEO of SAP SE, Bill McDermott, as well as Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter.
Upcoming SAP Hybris release features were also covered, including a sneak peek at the upcoming release of SAP Hybris Commerce 6.4 (stay tuned for our Hybris Commerce 6.4 summary coming soon).
Etail Canada (May 16-18 in Toronto)
eTail Canada brings together the biggest brands in Canadian retail for three days of networking and knowledge sharing. Companies in attendance included well-known brands like Best Buy, Canadian Tire, Loblaws, Home Depot and Toys R Us as well as disruptors like Frank + Oak, Rent Frock Repeat and BuildDirect Technologies.
One thing that eTail always does really well is organizing round table discussions. We had the opportunity to participate in a few of these, which gave us real, meaningful insight into the issues faced by today's retailers.
While we were in town, we hosted an evening event at Real Sports Bar & Grill with partners OPM Pros, Canada Post and Listrak.
NAED National Meeting (May 3-6 in Boston)
We recognize the importance of having real, first-hand knowledge of the issues our customers face and we make a point to immerse ourselves in our customers' industry. In May we attended the National Association of Electrical Distributors National Meeting where we had the opportunity to learn more about how digital disruption is affecting this industry.
Be sure to stay tuned as we keep you posted on additional events throughout the year!
Alyssa is part of Thinkwrap's Digital Marketing team and has more than 10 years' experience developing integrated campaigns for leading brands. She's passionate about eCommerce, tech, design, and video games.