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Etail Asia: in-person conferences are 34x more effective than virtual



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April 26, 2022 | 6 min read

What if you could enjoy deep conversation with Gucci’s director of e-commerce or Yves Rocher’s chief marketing officer and hear first-hand how they overcame challenges in the luxury landscape? What if you could convince your CMO to transform the entire enterprise following a 20-minute conversation? What if we told you that face-to-face meetings are 34 times more effective than virtual?

Live events will always beat virtual – that’s what retailers throughout Asia told us when we asked how they prefer to meet, learn and do business in today’s times. And since news broke that eTail Asia will be live in Singapore this June with over 400 retailers - there is a lot of excitement brewing in anticipation for this year’s largest industry gathering of retail heads of e-commerce and digital marketing.

Doing things a bit differently

Etail began the conversation in 1999 as the first to launch a marketing and e-commerce conference specifically for retailers and has remained the leader ever since. They conduct a whopping six months of in-depth research, more than any other retail summit, co-creating an agenda that’s tailored specifically towards Asian retailers’ current opportunities and concerns.


Face time is one reason retailers can’t wait for eTail Asia but content is also key to its success.

Danny Levy, managing director of eTail told us: “We've been fortunate to collaborate with tens of thousands of retailers – from massive Fortune 500 institutions to small, scrappy start-ups – to deliver tangible and lasting growth to over 20,000 retail leaders. And they keep coming back.”

As restrictions lift, it’s expected that retail’s top 250 brands will return to network with world leading brands (otherwise unreachable, in hiding even), a sentiment echoed by Walmart who told us, “eTail has great content and outstanding networking.”

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The power of face-to-face time

Next, let’s look at the facts. Research shows in-person requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email. MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab spent hundreds of hours tracking performance drivers across industries, collecting data from electronic badges that recorded everything from tone of voice to body language.

Their research proved unequivocally that the best form of communication is face-to-face – typically 35% of the variation in a team’s performance was explained by the number of times team members engaged in person.

The moment is right now

Face time is one reason retailers can’t wait for eTail Asia but content is also key to its success. The future was brought forward as the industry underwent rapid change during pandemic, as though digitization had been put on steroids and very few retailers were prepared for the digital shift that took place.

Now as we enter the next frontier in e-commerce, brands know only the fittest will survive. So it’s imperative to get clued up on the latest technology innovations, current insider knowledge and of-the-moment takeaways geared towards actionable outcomes rather than pie in the sky ideals.

Puma and Sony drive the conversation into the future in their keynote panel, ‘How can you leverage intelligent technologies like automation and prediction engines that tightens the link between your CX and EX to demonstrate business value in crowded markets?’, while big hitters Lazada, BigBasket, Tata Digital, Love Bonito and Payments Network tackle ‘How to combine data with the human touch to capture online and offline consumer behaviours and create ‘WOW’ experiences of the future’. This promises to make the conference an unmissable event for retailers looking to reimagine their enterprise following the recent acceleration of trends and behavioural shifts.

“Etail is the one conference I try to make every year. It has the right balance of retailers and vendors and nothing beats the quality of in-person meetings we have here” – John McDonnell, managing director international, Tito's Handmade Vodka

“Etail Asia is one of best conferences for both offline retail and e-commerce. Best of the brands and stalwarts will be part of this amazing conference. The conference provides excellent opportunities for learning from the experts and networking with the best minds in the industry. I am very excited to join the eTail Asia conference in Singapore.” – Dr AngShuMan Ghosh, head of data science at Sony

“Etail is unmissable – nowhere else do we get to meet so many retailers in one place. The quality and networking are second to none with private meetings, interactive roundtable discussions, think-tanks as well as the keynote speaker sessions which are usually packed with people” – Deepak Tomar, country general manager and director, Thailand of MAP Active.

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