eCommerce Conferences?

I have not attended any sort of eCommerce conference in several years.

I was curious if anybody here attends any and if you have found any value in doing so?

I never have, but have considered it before.

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My boss wants to send me to some.- I’ve never gone.

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Ricardo asked me last year if I would go to the Amazon convention (can’t remember the name now) he was all proud (deservedly) because he had been invited (he didn’t live in the continental), and he wanted to meet some of the posters that he enjoyed…
Crazy the turn that the forum took in such short time

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Never done it before. I think you get the most bang for your buck attending the main US trade shows of the industry related to the products you sell.

Most ecom conventions are folks whacking each other off and parties - you won’t get industry insights but it is a networking hub - how useful that is depends on the phallus of the beholden

Since many people are selling products and services around ecom - its good to meet and see who the competition is

But really, how much has the game really changed besides new ad strategies and audience targeting?

I wanted to go a few times before the pandemic but haven’t considered it now.

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Years ago, I went to Amazon’s womens owned business conference in Seattle. I don’t think I learned what they were selling so to speak, but I am glad I went. Stayed with a friend, free airline miles, so car rental was my only expense and it was winderful to see my friend from Alabama.

Then went to one of their FBA boost conferences in New Orleans. Five hour drive, one night in a hotel for me. After that, I was done. Rah rah, go Amazon is how I felt.

In Seattle, I did get a waiver approved because I have bleached white products. Got into a huge argument in General about it. Had the email in writing, etc. Thought it meant something. FF, the bots don’t care, and I found a work around.

In New Orleans, I asked about waiving long term storage fees for Handmade one of a kind items. Got told basically that if it doesn’t sell in 6 months, it should not be FBA. Hmmm…lots of handmade is one of a kind. But his point stuck.

In New Orleans there was little to no A/C in June in the facility. Poor choice of location. I left early and was home by 6 pm.

I won’t ever go again.

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You should have gotten the name of that Amazonian. He was right.

I am sure that artists and craftsmen find order fulfillment tedious and an inferior use of their time and talent. So do some of us who sell other items. I sell in order to seek, buy and temporarily possess things which interest me. Fulfillment and dealing with customers is a distasteful requirement, and many of the things I buy stay with me for years.

Booksellers used to have a storage fee waver for a single copy of any book, and there were many more booksellers using FBA than there are today. Amazon removed that waver and improved their revenue and profit, because a great many booksellers pulled their product which was effectively dead stock.

Even some Antiquarian and Used Booksellers with prestigious retail spaces, have some grungy cheap warehouse space as well.

In the closed forum, and this was back when handmade was younger, we all learned a lot that day because others were complaining as well.

Some handmade items never gain traction to be found.

So the better sellers on Amazon will be something (handmade for us) that can be repeated.

By the way – I do remember that you were one of the few allowed in IN the beginning to try and help us. Thank you for that.

Iris

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The Amazon moderators selected a few of the more experienced posters to participate in the early closed Handmade forum while the community of Handmade Sellers gained experience.

It was my privilege to offer some help with the mechanics and philosophy of selling on Amazon. As well as some business advice for some sellers who were having their first experiences in actually selling their work at retail.

Darren and Susan and the other mods really gave a damn about seller success, and understood what the goals of the team that created the Selling on Amazon program intended.

It was a different time.

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Yes, it was. And Matthew helped us out a lot.

Story to share…when I sent to the Women Owned Amazon conference in Seattle, I rode a train into downtown. I sat next to a woman/girl and she had her black dachsund with her. We chatted and I realized she was taking her dog to work with her. I asked “Where do you work?” She said Amazon. I said oh really, I’m going there to a conference today and told her more about me and Handmade. She actually worked in the vetting office for Handmade and when I mentioned Matthew she knew him at work. I said I was sorry to see him go even though he got a promotion. She understood. They have a dog park on one of the roof tops of their buildings downtown and I saw other dogs at work that day as well.

There’s more to that adventurous day…another time.

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The plan for vetting for Handmade was far more stringent than it evolved to be. It was watered down prior to the launch in order to have sufficient critical mass to justify the launch.

It was intended to be a tight as the Fine Arts Category was, but the craftsmen they truly wanted, who met those qualifications, would not put their products on the Internet, in general, and Amazon, in particular. It was not intended to compete with Etsy, but was forced to. Since I am not a Handmade seller, I do not know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

At the Women’s Conference they mentioned that the Fine Arts Category – or at least Fine Arts was a failure on their part. Amazon customers are not “Fine Art” customers.

I can sorta attest to that.

My higher end handmade items don’t move at all on Amazon or on-line anywhere. They move at craft shows where a customer can hold it and see the craftsmanship. I kept the listings up just to keep me unique – like if you searched across a pattern for a different size, you’d see some unique to me items. BUT I decided last week or two to simply take them down. They don’t sell. I’m not saying Amazon customers are “cheap” but the middle to low end does sell better.

Saw similar complaints from others…

Jewelry seems to be an exception…maybe because on a normal spectrum, customer accept that there’s costume jewelry and diamonds on the other end. For table linens…not so much.

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I do not think there is anyone on the planet who believes any of the categories which are designated Fine Arts and Collectibles were anywhere near successful.

They have been ignored for years. The category manager and team have been MIA,

Imagine an Advertising Collectibles Category where the Suspected IP Violation Bot runs and authorization from the brand holder and invoices are collected.

There is an attempt to revamp the sports collectibles category which has been going on for 6 months or more which will further restrict what can be offered there.

Handmade may not be what Amazon wanted, but it is more successful than what Amazon wanted would have been,

The people who I know who buy high end crafts and designer made jewelry do not buy online. They buy in person from artists at shows and from galleries.

It is hard to buy anything which requires an aesthetic judgement on Amazon or the Internet in general.

My eldest daughter, who is a fabric artist, is launching her new career in the traditional way, with her works in galleries. Not for lack of Internet skills, she buys all sorts of things on the Internet, but she does not buy art or crafts, and will not sell here…

I cannot imagine buying expensive linens or handmade fabrics online where one cannot feel the texture of the product. Maybe it is because I am old, or maybe it is because some of my other senses are failing with age, but I require more than the Internet provides.

As for average sale prices, with some effort I have brought my Ebay sales back to $35 on average, where my Amazon sales used to be. The number of high end media sales I make online is declining, high end collectibles sales became non-existent, and the collectibles categories had fee incentives for higher priced sales and disincentives to lower priced sales which were not in collectibles categories.

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