Countdown to Catalyst: The First-Timer’s Guide to Catalyst 2017

March 1, 2017

There are so many exciting firsts in an e-commerce career: your first job, first marketplace expansion, first promotion… and your first time at Catalyst.

As one of the industry’s most influential e-commerce conferences of the year — the one that’s attended by hundreds of trendsetters and innovators who are leading the future of online retailing — Catalyst is an exciting place to be.

If it’s your first time attending, it can also be a little overwhelming.

To help ensure you get as much as possible out of Catalyst 2017, we’ve put together a quick-reference guide tailored for newcomers. The following suggestions will help you decide what to prioritize, how much time you’ll need for various activities and which opportunities you truly won’t want to miss.

1. Once-in-a-Lifetime Keynotes

Catalyst 2017 will be your best opportunity this year to hear from the industry’s biggest influencers in one central location. When reviewing the agenda, be sure to set aside at least two hours to hear from:

  • Khurrum Malik, Head of North America Product Marketing at Facebook
  • Bob Kupbens, Vice President of Seller Experience and Global Trust at eBay
  • Michael Trembley, VP, Partner Programs at
  • Lee McCabe, VP, North America, Alibaba Group
  • Henry Maier, President and CEO, FedEx Ground
  • Rob Rekrutiak, Group Product Manager, Google

…plus another hour to join Martha Stewart for her Monday evening fireside chat. And if you haven’t yet learned from L2’s Scott Galloway, be sure to block off his Wednesday afternoon session on your calendar for a “no mercy/no malice view of the e-commerce ecosystem.”

2. Essential Breakout Sessions

Next up, we highly recommend deciding which breakout sessions you’ll attend before you arrive. There are dozens to choose from, and planning ahead will help ensure you don’t miss the ones that are most valuable to you. For example:

Will advertising on Amazon and eBay be a top priority for you this year? Set aside time to learn new keyword, bidding and budget tips at Digital Marketing for Marketplaces. New to Get advice on pricing, listing, fulfillment and more at I’m Live on Walmart: What’s Next? Anxious to increase your search traffic? Video Killed the Text Ad Star: The Future of Google will get you up to speed on the latest trends and opportunities. With discussion tables, Q&A sessions with leading online retailers and more, you’ll have access to a wide range of truly unique learning opportunities at Catalyst 2017.

And if you work in the automotive and powersports market, AutoCommerce is the place to be for industry-specific insights. During this day-long pre-conference event, attendees will gain a wealth of information on topics such as Building a Championship-Level E-Commerce Network and Leveraging Digital Marketing to Lap the Competition from executives at the Custom Automotive Network and Google.

Quick tip: If you haven’t registered for AutoCommerce yet, take a moment to do that here. While it is possible to sign up onsite, limited seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

3. High-Stakes Networking

Yes, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the learning opportunities. But you’ll also want to block off some time to mingle with industry peers.

When asked her opinion on the greatest benefit of attending Catalyst, Google’s Sara Waters named “networking with peers.”

And as eBags’ Jessica Hearn put it, one of the best things about Catalyst 2017 will be “the opportunity to network with professionals from all around the country. Having a few people to call up when something goes wrong (or right)…has been a real asset over the years.”

Even the sponsor booths offer an array of can’t-miss opportunities to network with the likes of eBay, Newegg, Walmart, Jet, Bing and Oracle (plus many more… especially if you’re also attending AutoCommerce.)

4. Extensive Pavilion Opportunities

The Catalyst Pavilion will serve as a central hub for an array of activities: an opening reception (complete with a mechanical bull), networking breaks, specialty presentations at the Catalyst Theater, awards presentations and kiosks where you can test drive ChannelAdvisor solutions alongside our engineering experts.

Quick tip: Download the Catalyst mobile app for a floorplan of sponsors and booth locations, and to participate in the Catalyst Game for a chance to win a 3-night getaway on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

5. A Cultural Gem

Last but far from least, don’t forget to schedule some down time to get out and explore the landscape. Nashville is, after all, a city that’s bound to rock your boots off.

We’re excited to see you at Catalyst 2017! This is by far one of the e-commerce industry’s most important events of the year, and we can’t wait to connect with you.

Psst. If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still a few spots left (but they’re going quick!) Get $50 off your registration with promo code: CATALYSTBLOG.