How is Shop.org's Annual Summit different from IRCE?
Hopefully you’ve already read my suggestions to maximize
your ROI in exhibiting at an eCommerce Trade Show. I originally wrote these tips with a focus on
IRCE, but they can be used for most shows (Shop.org, NRF's Big Show, eTail, IRWD, Imagine eCommerce,
As a refresher, here are the keys to driving exhibitor ROI:
- Part 1 of 4: Define Your Booth Goal
- Part 2 of 4: Leverage Other Booths
- Part 3 of 4: Follow Up Immediately with Leads
- Part 4 of 4: Segment and Remail your Leads
Someone recently asked me ... "How is Shop different from IRCE?" Well, here's my take:
Shop.org vs IRCE
1) Time of Year - This is often overlooked, but very important. Because Shop.org is at the beginning
of Q4, typically the busiest time for eTailers, there are some differences to note:
- 1a – Attendance for Shop.org is lower than IRCE, many eTailers are busy planning
and ramping for their busy season (Q4).
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for you (see #2b below).
- 1b – Eagerness to implement your solution is much lower, and
your sales cycle will be longer. Some
inexperienced marketers compare ROI metrics from Shop.org to IRCE, without
taking this into consideration. In my
opinion, this is a huge mistake.
- 1c – False positives are rampant. eTailers are very quick to say “Yes we love
this idea, please contact us in Q1 and we will implement!” The happy ear’d sales rep then thinks the
sale is complete. But, more often the eTailer doesn’t really have any idea what you
are selling, or intention of implementing, it's just easier for them to say what you want to hear (False Positive)
- My Recommendation – Your marketing strategy should be different at Shop than it is at IRCE. You must ‘set the hook’ by convincing them
you have something different/interesting, with plan to re-engage in Q1. At your booth, ask them if Q4 is a barrier
(20% of the time it’s not, keep that in mind).
If so, put them on a specific nurture plan designed to keep them
interested, with re-engage plan in Mid January.
Think of nurture activities such as sending coffee, or stress balls, or
anything that makes Q4 easier on them.
2) More Expensive - Shop.org is more expensive for eTailers
and for exhibitors. This naturally makes
the ROI calculation tighter for you, but remember this is the same for
eTailers. The increased expense makes attendance lower.
- 2a- Less Exhibitors is a good thing. This does allow you to stand out a bit more. It also is a sign to eTailers that you are a
strong brand, because you can afford it (we all know that’s not necessarily the
case, but the impression is created nonetheless).
- 2b- Less eTailers is both a good and a bad thing. Of course less eTailers isn't ideal. But, similar to 2a, the increased expenses does weed out some of the
Micro e-retailers with limited budgets.
It also weeds out middle management, and generally speaking,
decision-makers are the ones in attendance.
3) Definition of eTailer (CPGs) – Shop’s definition of an
e-retailer is actually close to etailinsights’ definition of an eTailer. eTailers must have B2C activity AND sell
Tangible/Shippable Products in order to attend (at the eTailer rate). This eliminates manufacturers, virtual goods,
and others that may attend IRCE as a 'retailer' by IRCE's definition. It’s
important to understand this when comparing the ‘Total Attendees’ number
between each conference, especially if you are a fulfillment or operations company.
4) More Exhibit Hall Hours at Shop.org – We are talking about ‘breaks’
here, which is where it really counts.
Of course, both conferences have the doors to the Exhibit Hall open all day long, but
eTailers are also in sessions all day long. It’s
during the breaks between sessions where eTailers tend to visit the Expo Hall,
and Shop.Org's Annual Summit has more break hours.
Our calculation is 7.5 Hours at Shop.Org vs 5 Hours at IRCE. We also excluded meal-time from this
calculation as it seems irrelevant (both have 'lunch in the expo hall,'
but we aren’t counting that).
5) Shop.Org has a
Rap! - Saul Paul recently released a 'Preview Rap’ for The Shop.Org Annual Summit 2013. I’m not
an expert in evaluating rap music, but I’ll admit, I love it! They even feature several of their sponsor’s
logos (are you in it?). If you haven’t
seen it yet I highly recommend, but also warn you, it will get stuck in your
"And that week? you know where your peers will be.. In 'The Chi' aka the windy city, hash-tag-shop-org-thirteen, trending….”
In Summary: I suggest exhibiting at both shows, each has their benefit over the other. It's important to know the differences and adjust your messaging and campaign goals accordingly. Have fun, and remember to check out the keys to driving exhibitor ROI: