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5 Must-Know Moments from the 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show

June 14th, 2024 | 7 min. read

5 Must-Know Moments from the 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show Blog Feature

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This week, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the CommerceNext Growth Show in the heart of New York City. This event was a treasure trove of insights, innovations, and inspirations that left me buzzing with excitement about the not-so-distant future of ecommerce. From groundbreaking strategies to the latest trends, the show was a one-stop shop for global brands and retailers aiming to find ideas, new technologies, and new partners for scaling their already-impressive businesses 


The creative team behind the event went the extra mile to ensure attendees would walk away with actionable takeaways. They provided handy notebooks with a section specially designed to jot down three key points from each session, they asked all speakers to end their presentations with a list of the things to remember or apply post-show, and they came up with a catchy name for it – CommerceNextSteps.  


While I couldn’t possibly make it to every session (there were multiple separate tracks running concurrently each afternoon), I still walked away with dozens of insights or new ways of thinking. Read on for five of my highlights from the event, and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn to share yours.


1. A KPI to Assess Team Culture


Opening the first day was a conversation with Doug Mack, former CEO of Fanatics. He shared what he viewed as primary drivers in scaling Fanatics and pulling the brand out from behind the scenes to be the star of the show. As he described the collaborative culture required at the organization – both internally and with partners – he indicated that trust is the KPI for a strong culture. A team that trusts one another and is willing to take risks together can go far. In the case of Fanatics, the team Mack fostered grew annual ecommerce revenue from roughly $800 million to $5 billion. 



2. Measuring the Right Outcomes


Tuesday afternoon’s panel on “Driving Ecommerce Growth with Full-Funnel Marketing and Measurement” had leaders from Brooklinen, Marine Layer, The Estee Lauder Companies, and Botify sharing what tactics they were leaning in or out of in 2024. As Doug Jensen, SVP GTP Analytics & Activation from Estee Lauder shared, Influencers (also known as Advocates) can make or break a product launch – so it’s important to measure the right metrics to understand success. If you only look at sales as the expected outcome, you might see limited to no detected effect, especially immediately after launch. But if you combine three models to understand desirability (google search activity), consideration (unique site visitors) and finally conversion (sales), you get a much more accurate understanding of an advocate’s impact on the business.   



3. Experiment to Justify Investment


Rick Lockton, SVP Ecommerce Omnichannel & Master Data for Tractor Supply Company shared with Sucharita Kodali of Forrester in a conversation Wednesday morning that he reports into the CIO, which is a bit of a unique organizational design. One benefit is that he is aligned to the team with the budget and expertise to make technological investments in their ecommerce site and infrastructure. But he still has to justify those investments with data.


He described a “painted door test” they recently ran to evaluate whether there would be customer interest in a tractor configurator tool on the site. Before investing in the actual configurator, they simply added a call to action for it. If customers clicked, they would be told that the feature was coming soon and to provide their email to be notified when it was ready. This allowed his team to determine whether there was enough interest in the tool before a single cent (or second) was spent to build it. Deploying this technique allows them to move fast and invest only in the things that will have an impact.  



4. The Ultimate Loyalty Program 


Angela Clark, VP of Digital at Patagonia, was one of four panelists for the “Designing Loyalty Experiences that Cultivate Customer Devotion” discussion on Wednesday morning. The brilliant thing about that is that Patagonia doesn’t yet have an official loyalty program – at least not in the traditional sense. Angela pointed out that, in the case of Patagonia, the product and the company’s activism are the loyalty program. The company has devoted customers who believe strongly in its mission and repeatedly purchase because the quality of what they receive is so amazing and because they want to support the efforts of the organization to better the world.  



5. Getting the Attention of a New Generation 


The first two days of the conference included special panel sessions with the “Z Suite” – students and young adults new to the workforce that shared their thoughts and behaviors around buying. I was unable to attend these myself as Fastr was hosting roundtable conversations at the same time, but I heard that both sessions were standing room only and there were some very interesting takeaways for retailers and brands about how to get the attention of this group of shoppers.


On Thursday morning, the final day of the conference, Denise Incandela, EVP, Fashion Division at Walmart shared one way that their in-house brand, No Boundaries, had come up with to excite Gen Z buyers. When you purchase an outfit in real life from the brand, you also get access to a virtual version of the same look for your Roblox Avatar. Moderator Ken Pilot joked that it’s no longer enough to impress shoppers in reality, you also need to impress them in virtual reality. Sounds like that might be the case!  



I personally took a lot away from the sessions, and the whole team from Fastr that attended can’t stop raving about the energy and excitement emanating from the event. We’re already looking forward to the 2025 event, taking place from June 24-26, and can't wait to see what new innovations and insights will be unveiled. See you next year in New York City! 



Bonus Moments:


Although our days at the CommerceNext Growth Show were packed, the Fastr team captured a handful of moments on-the-fly to share on Fastr's LinkedIn page. One irresistible example? The Track B breakout, "Speed, Strategy, Success: Unpacking Forever 21's CRO Winning Formula" where the audience was treated to a cute puppy siting when Nostra CEO, Arthur Root, had Havana join him on stage. She didn’t offer up any special insights, but was an adorable addition to brighten the day.