March 14, 2017

Etail West 2017 Recap

Carina Powers

The PartnerCentric team enjoyed spending the first week of March at Etail West, in Sunny Palm Springs. The drive out was absolutely stunning, with green grassy hills lining the desert (yes, green grass!) and snow-capped mountains framing the valley.     

A few highlights from the show:    

Speaker Sessions:

You guessed it … Amazon is a concern for many retailers. In fact, there was an entire speaker track dedicated to the subject. My takeaway from these sessions was, “Make it easy for your customers to work with you.” In our space, we are primarily focused on making our own customers’ experience as easy as possible. From our first exploratory call with them to setting up a communication cadence that meets their needs, we provide full transparency. Our goal is always to make the choice to stay with us an easy choice for them. An equally important piece of the puzzle is making sure affiliates and performance marketers enjoy working with us. We ensure that our programs are set up in a way that makes it seamless for them to promote our customers. Another general theme, mentioned by Charlie Cole of Tumi, was, “Not all growth is good growth...you’ve got to look at margin folks!” We fully agree, and with our brand promise of faster ROI at every phase, we’re always growing while improving ROAS and protecting margin. In fact, we like to focus on driving sales to higher margin products and categories.

Attendees:

Wow, what a great mix of brands and an incredible attendee list! Companies ranged from retailers like eBags, Tumi, Target, Cabela's, and Guess, to niche brands across all verticals like Bouqs (love their flowers!) and Virgin America. Attendees were generally categorized as Director, VP or above. This enabled us to have some great conversations as we like to discuss the performance marketing channel in the greater context of the marketing mix.  

Evening activities:

Well done, eTail West! What fun we had … unfortunately it rained (remember, I mentioned the greenery!) during the outdoor Carnival - but everyone moved inside and had a great time. The following night, there were four themed eTail-sponsored parties, food and drink on the house. We made the rounds and collected themed souvenirs from all four, taste-testing and cheers-ing new friends along the way.  

The Vibe:

I would say that most people I spoke with were quite optimistic about 2017 and the future. It was great to see so many conversations around optimization, and getting to that next level. Kudos to the eTail group who put on a great conference, making sure attendees were sugared up (cupcakes everywhere), well fed, and primed with liquid motivation (at all times). In all seriousness, they did a great job putting together a relevant speaker series, and creating an environment for both productivity and enjoyment.

Hot tip when in Palm Springs:

Go check out “The Nest” for drinks, happy hour or dinner, and some unmatched people watching. The Nest is a locals hangout, frequented by Palm Springs senior residents … the ones who know how to have a good time. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you walk in the door!

Next up: ShopTalk! Let’s get together …

Contact me at Carina.Powers@partnercentric.com to set up a meeting time!