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Catalyst Americas 2018 Recap: Top 6 Highlights from San Diego

Another year, another Catalyst in the books.

We’d like to send a huge thank you to all of the attendees, sponsors, partners and speakers who helped make Catalyst 2018 a success.

“In case you missed it” — or you were there and want to relive your favorite moments — check out our daily recap blogs for in-depth coverage:

ICYMI: Catalyst Day 1 – Unicorns Are Real

ICYMI: Catalyst Day 2 – Choose Your Own E-Commerce Adventure

ICYMI: Catalyst Day 3 – Your Catalyst, Continued

Here are a few of the highlights:

1. User Conference

Every good conference has a pre-conference, right?

Before Catalyst officially kicked off, many attendees got an early start to the packed week of learning at the ChannelAdvisor User Conference, where product leaders, strategy managers and ChannelAdvisor leadership shared the latest platform updates and best practices. Participants got inside tips from specialists and super-users on pricing more competitively, gaining greater visibility, stretching ad dollars further and putting even the most complex tasks on autopilot through automation.

2. ChannelAdvisor CEO David Spitz’s Keynote

The annual keynote by CEO David Spitz is always a must-attend recap of the state of e-commerce. But because the industry is growing at such an incredible rate — and there are SO many topics to cover — David decided to mix it up this year and let the audience choose the topics he covered.

Using the Catalyst mobile app, the audience took four different polls throughout the session, settling on Amazon, Blockchain, Data, and Voice Commerce. David didn’t miss a beat and probably could have kept churning out topics for the rest of the week (he really loves e-commerce).

David finished up the morning by announcing the highlights from ChannelAdvisor’s 2018 Spring Product Release, including:

  • Demand Forecaster to more accurately predict upcoming sales volume
  • Performance-Based Pricing to create dynamic pricing based on current demand
  • First-Party Order Support for wholesale and drop shipping
  • Profitability Reporting that turns mission-critical data into review-ready reports…

…plus expansion to new marketplaces including Houzz and Walmart Canada, as well as integration with Google Shopping Actions and new fulfillment capabilities following ChannelAdvisor’s acquisition of HubLogix.

3. Keynotes, Cont’d.

One of the highlights of every Catalyst is the diverse lineup of informative and entertaining keynote speakers. We kicked off the conference on a high note with none other than Bozoma Saint John, chief brand officer at Uber.

Melissa Sargeant, ChannelAdvisor’s chief marketing officer, sat down with “Boz” to cover a variety of topics, including her favorite brands, the future of Uber, diversity, business and our culture at large. The key themes that emerged? Urgency, intentionality, and authenticity — traits that Boz lives out daily in both her personal and professional life.

But that was just the beginning…

Over the next two days, attendees were able to learn from industry leaders across the e-commerce spectrum, including: Doug Stephens, aka the “Retail Prophet”; Scott Harkins, senior VP of customer channel marketing at FedEx; Maureen Mullen, L2’s chief strategy officer; Scott Stratten, president of UnMarketing; Kara Swisher, executive editor at Record; and Lila Snyder, executive vice president, commerce services at Pitney Bowes.

From deep dives into retail data to future industry projections and common sense approaches for online brands, each speaker gave new insight and perspective into what it means to sell (and buy) products in 2018.

4. Caution: Sellers At Work

The workshops are when everyone rolls up their sleeves and dives into nitty-gritty details of e-commerce.

It’s impossible to highlight only a few of the sessions, because there was something for everyone across the three simultaneous tracks: brands, retailers, fulfillment, automotive, social commerce, Amazon, eBay and customer journey strategies — just to name a few.  As expected, every session was filled with eager audiences, probing questions and lots of takeaways, and the speakers often had a line of audience members waiting to ask even more follow-ups after the session had ended (always a great sign).

5. Expert Communication

Every year, we hear stories about a single conversation an attendee had that made the trip more than worthwhile for them. Between the Ask the Expert room, Commerce Connect tables and the Catalyst Pavillion, those kinds of conversations were buzzing all week.

Attendees scheduled time to talk through pressing e-commerce questions with ChannelAdvisor experts, forged new partnerships at sponsor booths and solved problems with fellow retailers and brands.

6. USS Catalyst

After an intense two days of learning and networking, attendees were able to kick back and socialize at the highly anticipated Catalyst party. This year, we boarded the USS Midway, a decommissioned aircraft carrier with amazing views of the San Diego skyline, multiple decks, plenty of airplanes and even a few flight simulators.

From the opening keynote to the final workshop session (and everything in between), retailers, brands and industry experts from all over the world immersed themselves in everything e-commerce for two and a half days.

If you joined us in San Diego, we hope that you walked away with an array of new connections, new strategies, new anecdotes and new ways to optimize your e-commerce operations in 2018 and beyond.

For more pictures from Catalyst Americas 2018, check out our Facebook gallery. And don’t forget, Catalyst Europe is coming quick: May 9, 2018 in London. Register today and start packing!

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