Ecommerce Conferences Canceled, What Do We Do Now?

Ecommerce Conferences Cancellations Continue

We were all set to publish this week’s post when fate intervened. The topic: Countdown to Shoptalk. With its all-women speaker lineup, Tabletalks and Founding Funders events, Shoptalk 2020 really promised to be a spectacular show. But due to the Coronavirus, organizers postponed it until September.

Two days prior, Adobe canceled its Adobe Summit 2020/Magento Imagine in Las Vegas for the same reason (although it will present parts of Adobe Summit 2020 online). Adobe has no plans to reschedule. As of this writing the company plans to go forward with Adobe Summit EMEA from May 13-14, 2020 in London, but warns it too may be canceled.

On February 28, Shopify announced that it “made the hard but necessary decision to cancel the in-person element of Unite 2020. For the same reason, we will also postpone Shopify Pursuit, our international conference tour.”

It’s not just the ecommerce sector that’s changing plans however; Google canceled its I/O 2020 event and Facebook canceled its upcoming F8 Developers conference. Meanwhile, Twitter, TikTok, Mashable, Intel, Vevo, Amazon and many others have pulled out of the South by Southwest festival planned for later on this month and has since been canceled.

(Click here for a list of tech conferences that have been canceled, rescheduled or moved online.)


At this point it’s impossible to say what the summer will hold. Flu viruses tend to subside in the summer months, and we certainly join the CDC in hoping the coronavirus will follow the seasonal flu’s trajectory, but at this point we just don’t know what’s going to happen.

The Role of Conferences in Technology Decisions

There’s no denying that these cancelations are a major bummer. Conferences are incredibly important to ecommerce businesses that are considering or actively planning to make investments in technology, as these stats clearly quantify:

  • 92% of tradeshow attendees come to see and learn about what’s new in products/services.
  • 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended.
  • 51% of trade show attendees requested that a sales representative visit their company after the show.
  • 90% of expo attendees have not met face-to-face with any companies exhibiting at the show in the 12 months prior to the event.


In addition to hands-on demonstrations and face-to-face meetings with vendors, conferences provide decision makers with the opportunity to discuss user experiences, share best practices with their peers, be inspired by thought leadership talks, and hone their skills by attending highly specialized talk tracks. For many, the COVID-19 induced cancelations means putting a hold on near-term plans for optimizing their ecommerce tech stack.

Now What?

The tech world is scrambling to find alternative ways to provide users with the information they need to make decisions and plan for growth. As mentioned above, Adobe is moving much of its Adobe Summit 2020 online, and Shoptalk has already rescheduled to later on in the year.

Something Digital also offers some valuable resources that can help you make decisions and move forward:

  • SD Office Hours: Live and on-demand webinars that give retailers, technology partners, and fellow developers the opportunity to ask questions about integration suggestions, training, UX design, or any issues they’ve had or are currently having with their commerce platform. The live webinars allow you to pose specific questions to an SD specialist. You can access past episodes here free of charge.
  • BULLSEYE: BULLSEYE is a tool Something Digital designed to help merchants understand where to invest in their website: onsite features, UX, new customer acquisition, or retention marketing. The process will also help you understand how your ecommerce operation stacks up with other merchants. We offer BULLSEYE for B2B, B2C, and DTC brands. All BULLSEYE assessments are free of charge and come with no obligations.
  • Merchant-to-Merchant Retail Podcast. Although you won’t have the opportunity to meet with peers at the ecommerce conferences this Spring, Something Digital’s Merchant-to-Merchant Retail Podcast provides plenty of inspiration. Each episode features a panel of online retailers sharing their experiences and strategies for overcoming challenges and thriving in the world of ecommerce.
  • Future Commerce Podcast. Future Commerce is a podcast hosted by my Something Digital colleague, Brian Lange and I. Its mission is to help brands manifest vision and create goals which lead to future-altering impacts for their customers, and for the world around them. Our guests are literally the stars of ecommerce, and many were scheduled to speak at one of the canceled conferences.


Make Sure You’re Future Ready

One last piece of advice: the Coronavirus may have slowed your business down, but it can’t slow it down forever. Make sure you’re ready for the pent-up demand. For instance, plan what you’ll tell your customers if your supply chain has been affected, and be ready to suggest alternatives.

For anyone that’s been directly affected by COVID-19, we wish you a swift recovery.

Phillip Jackson

A multi-instrumentalist, Phillip is an avid collector of vintage guitars, keyboards and amplifiers and has a home studio located in West Palm Beach.