New York City / Thursday September 27th 2018

100% Dedicated to Cross-Border

and International E-Commerce

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We’re back in New York for our tenth Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum! GELF NYC ’18 will be Sept 27th and we’re looking forward to having the biggest and best GELF yet.

The Global eCommerce Leaders Forum (GELF) community returns to New York City for our 6th GELF NYC. Building on the momentum from GELF LA ’17, GELF NYC ’18 brings together leaders from online retailers and global brands selling direct-to-consumer.

International ecommerce experts will share insights and best practices as the growing GELF community networks throughout the day. Join us on Thursday September 27th as we explore how digital innovation is disrupting and transforming the retail world.

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GELF speakers will deliver a mix of global ecommerce strategy and tactical cross-border To Dos. Spend the day discussing proven and emerging international ecommerce entry and growth models, learning how customer experience management and deep localization drive international customer acquisition and engagement and how to prioritize the key operational aspects of your global commerce plan.

Together we’ll explore how:

  • Direct to consumer retail brands and branded manufacturers are balancing traditional retail distribution models with emerging direct-to-consumer ecommerce opportunities
  • Ecommerce leaders can use lessons learned from top online retail executives to prioritize and speed up market entry and growth strategies in maturing, emerged and emerging markets
  • Social media and influencer sites provide insights and demand signals that help gloabl ecommerce innovators connect with a fast-growing new generation of cross-border and international online shoppers
  • Top retailers use retail stores/omnichannel partners and international shipping innovations (dropshipping, multi-carrier software, etc.) to refine and deploy global fulfillment operations
  • Brands and leading ecommerce companies are relying on traditional and niche marketplaces and other emerging international ecommerce platforms to acquire new customers
  • Localization, personalization and AI are helping leading global brands engage and retail international shoppers across digital touchpoints
  • A booming global ecosystem of global cloud commerce solutions, international site builders, commerce agencies and systems integrators are leading start-up ecommerce brands and experienced omnichannel retailers into new global markets
  • And much more!

Our morning and afternoon breakouts are back as are GELF’s popular roundtable sessions.  The program offers internationally ambitious ecommerce leaders deep dives into how experts are tackling their top cross-border challenges and helps show you make the case for investing in global retail growth.

Bring your experiences and questions. Leave with insights and answers.

Look Who's Attending GELF NYC

Approximately 300 global e-commerce professionals are expected at GELF NYC '18. Below is a sample of the brands and retailers that are registered so far.


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  • Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Keynote Fireside: Global Ecommerce Evolution
  • Executive Leaders Keynote Panel
  • Global Growth Showcase
  • Morning Break
  • Morning Breakout Sessions: Three Concurrent Tracks
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Keynote Panels
  • Afternoon Break
  • Afternoon Breakout Sessions: Two Concurrent Tracks
  • Tech Talks Global & Roundtables
  • GELF Networking Reception
8 to 9AM
9 to 9:30AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Welcome and Audience and Sponsor Thanks
  • GELF Recap
  • How Key Global Ecommerce Trends Frame the Day’s Program


9:30 to 10AM
Opening Keynote: Dancing with Devils and Angels - The Pros and Cons of Marketplaces as Strategic Global Sales Distribution Partners

Our keynote  opens GELF NYC ’18 by tackling the pros and cons of international marketplaces as strategic global distribution partners.

Blending perspectives from the worlds of luxury and fashion apparel, our keynote will explore why luxury brands continue to shy away from global marketplaces as other ecommerce leaders embrace them as strategic sales and marketing partners.

We’ll explore the tradeoffs regarding the ownership of the customer data and the evolving role of digital in global wholesale and distribution strategies.

10 to 10:30AM
Executive Leaders Keynote Panel

Reflecting on GELF’s latest research study, leaders from online retailers and branded manufacturers share & compare global POVs regarding next-gen global sales and distribution models & practices.

Our morning panel of brand execs will explore the 2018 GELF / NRF research on how the global growth of ecommerce/ mobile is impacting the incumbent, regional sales and distribution partners of retailers and brands selling internationally – and the evolving expectations of these regional distributors and sales channel partners in terms of digital expertise and ecommerce capabilities.

We also examine emerging digital-first sales channel partners and platforms vying for this business and the innovative technologies and go-to-market practices disrupting traditional global go-to-market models.

10:30 to 11AM
Global Growth Showcase: The Future of Ecommerce in Greater China

China continues to be the #1 topic of interest among global retail brands expanding into new international markets. This September, GELF updates its China Ecommerce research study Catching the China Ecommerce Wave with the latest insights and learnings from leaders within the GELF community.

We look beyond the huge China ecommerce opportunity and focus on lessons learned from initial market entry forays into China and how both brands and retailers are adapting their China ecommerce strategies to the realities of today’s retail environment.

Although Chinese marketplace platforms operated by Alibaba and continue to dominate the market, direct-to-consumer ecommerce brands selling multiple brands can also thrive in the marketplace-centric China market.  Regardless of company size or market entry strategy, being an early mover and building a local sales and marketing team in China are key drivers of success in China.

Our panel tackles strategic issues that include:

  • What else is required to thrive in China today?
  • As brands expand beyond the Alibaba ecosystem, what are the opportunities and risks for which they must prepare?
  • What are the best practices for cross-border ecommerce brands that successfully sell direct-to-consumer into China?
  • How are retail brands of all sizes and shapes leveraging influencers and unique opportunities like WeChat and Weibo to connect with Chinese shoppers?
  • How can consumer connections built in markets outside China drive cross-border sales in China?

Nowhere are digital commerce leaders seeing the future of retail closer up than in Greater China. Join our panelists as they continue to challenge assumptions and push the envelope regarding what works and what doesn’t work in the fast-growing economies of China and Greater China.

Come see what the future of global retail looks like!

11 to 11:15AM
Morning Break
11:15 to 11:45AM
Global Technology Breakout: From Vision to Execution

Our breakout session takes a deeper dive into how leading organizations are transacting globally across ecommerce, mobile, in-store and other distributed commerce touchpoints as they fulfill orders from their expanding network of global operations.

Take a look under the hood at the technologies and innovations running the engines of global ecommerce growth.

Hop aboard as this breakout session takes the strategic  conversation from the opening sessions and dives deeper into the  technological underpinnings powering next gen cross-border ecommerce strategies.

11:45 to 12:15PM
Global Technology Workshop: Going Deep into Localization to Optimize Cross-border Revenue Growth

Are you wondering how the world’s leading retail brands are most effectively localizing their offering to grow their international B2C sales?

Looking for a primer on how best practices in cross-border localization can boost conversion rates and bring the international shopper back for more? Sit back and enjoy the deep dive!

11:15 to 11:45AM
Customer Experience/Engagement Breakout

The cross-border shopping experience has improved significantly since GELF’s first forum in 2014.  But there is always room for improvement!

Learn how leading brands are tackling top of the funnel challenges via innovative commerce, content and UX/CEM strategies (and technologies) that engage international online shoppers by localizing and personalizing the cross-border ecommerce experience.

11:45 to 12:15PM
Customer Experience/Engagement Breakout #2: Order and Post Order Fulfillment

The customer experience doesn’t stop once a cross-border shopper decides it is time to buy. In fact, the biggest challenges international shoppers face have always centered around understanding the extra fees, tariffs and taxes that they will get hit with once an online order ends up on their doorstep.

The other major cross-border hurdle has been the high cost of international shipping and the long order delivery times.

Spend some time with GELF’s executive panel learning more about how to significantly improve conversion rates by streamlining international checkout practices and by deploying the latest fulfillment strategies and technologies.

11:15 to 11:45AM
Strategy Fireside: Optimizing Cross-border/International Operations

One of the headline findings from the 2018 GELF / NRF  study is that optimizing digital commerce operations to scale global distribution and sales is Job #1.

We open our strategy track with a fireside track featuring emerging leaders in the cross-border ecommerce space.  Our panelists explore how leading retailers and brands are focusing on getting the basics right.

Whether your brand is relatively new to cross-border ecommerce or revamping your global retail strategies, this session has insights and take-aways for you and your team.

11:45 to 12:15PM
Strategy Workshop: International Digital Media Strategies

Shoppers in China and other fast-growing emerging markets are redefining the future of retail.

What is the best way to connect with these next gen shoppers? What are the right media strategies to reach and engage with the rising global middle class?

Our panel starts by exploring how leaders are connecting with Chinese consumers via WeChat, Baidu and other marketing and messaging platforms. Then we expand the conversation to other key markets where the future of retail is unfolding before our eyes.

12:15 to 1:45PM
Lunch and Networking
1:45PM to 2:15PM
The International Customer Journey

We open the afternoon program by taking a world tour of how today’s customer journey crosses  borders and shopping channels. The opening keynote session highlights findings, observations and key take-aways from Worldpay’s thought leadership research on how global shoppers buy on mobile and how customer journeys between markets compare and contrast.

The presentation will highlight how transactional data can help customer experience experts to craft different paths for international shoppers as they seek and discover popular products and then checkout and pay.

We explore evolving expectations for pre-purchase and post-purchase experiences and how shoppers are blending digital and real-world retail environments.

2:15PM to 2:45PM
Keynote Panel: Ecommerce’s Evolving Role in Internationalization - Leading Retailers’ POV

Our panel of pureplay and omnichannel retailers will explore key findings from GELF-NRF research on evolving global sales and distribution strategies, and share their own perspective on how they expect digital’s role in global retail sales to change over time.

What are the roles of emerging, innovative digital touchpoints in global markets and how do they compare/contrast with more established ecommerce channels? How are local partnerships changing? What technological innovations are the priority?

Leading digital-native pureplays are leveraging customer data-centric strategies, flexible org structures and an intrinsic willingness to test new international business models / partnerships to build on their early mover advantages.  As they explore evolving digital partner ecosystems in new global markets, some are also looking to add stores and other physical touchpoints to build their brand and engage new and existing customers across channels.

Retailers with physical store networks, including local joint ventures and licensee stores, are using ecommerce and digital revenue channels more prominently than in the past. International store expansion has often lead market entry, with ecommerce development as a “next channel.” The GELF-NRF research findings indicate this store-first mentality is changing, and the use of ecommerce and international marketplaces is changing regional partnerships and distributor relationships.

Panelists will share their experience in developing international channel strategy and executing in key local markets.

2:45 to 3:15PM
The "CEO" Showcase: Boosting Cross-Border Conversion with Next Gen Customer Experience Operations

Sustainable cross-border ecommerce growth almost always requires tackling a complex combination of transactional and operational challenges head-on. Yet far too often the heavy lifting associated with global ecommerce expansion falls on the shoulders of the cross-border shopper. Not surprisingly, conversion suffers when the cross-border shopping experience fails to meet expectations.

GELF’s new “CEO” Showcase shows how prioritizing “customer experience operations” can solve the behind-the-scenes issues that drive down cross-border conversion. Our panel shows how retail brands can take an operations-first approach to solving some of the top “going global” challenges such as fraud detection, payment issues, border delays, high shipping costs and long delivery times.

Solving what we once called “back office” challenges are now a top-line priority – and can make the difference between profitable and unprofitable international growth.

3:15 to 3:30 PM
Afternoon Break
3:30 to 4:00PM
Global Growth – A Product Category View: Session 1 CPG

We explore the rise of CPG (including food and nutrition) from an international ecommerce perspective as global brands invest more heavily in digital-first, direct-to-consumer sales and distribution strategies in mature and emerging countries.

4 to 4:20PM
Global Growth – A Product Category View: Session 2 Specialty Retail

In the second session, our panel explores next-gen strategies for cross-border and global ecommerce growth from leaders in specialty categories including active/sports fashion, mom & baby and home.

We circle back to key findings from the GELF / NRF research study, TRANSFORMING GLOBAL SALES AND DISTRIBUTION IN THE DIGITAL RETAIL AGE

3:30 to 4:00PM
Consumer Insights Breakout: The Americas

Our consumer insights breakout kicks off with Cross-Border Ecommerce in the Americas: Selling into Canada and Mexico.

Panelists explore consumer insight data on our neighbors to the North and the South.

Panelists explore social and consumer research as well as transactional data-based insights profiling the shopping behaviors of shoppers in Canada and Mexico.


4 to 4:20PM
GELF Solution Showcase: Where Tech Talks Global

Curious about solving a specific cross-border ecommerce challenge? GELF’s Solution Showcase returns this September as Global Tech Talks where tech leaders talk about how they are executing global ecommerce expansion strategies.

4:20 to 4:45PM
GELF Roundtables


Looking for a deeper dive into an international retail/ecommerce topic the GELF program covers during the day?

Join our popular roundtables where the experts provide guidance and share insights.

4:45 to 5:30PM
GELF Networking Reception

Join Leading Global Ecommerce Executives as a GELF NYC '18 Speaker on Sept 27th!

If you are an executive at an online retailer or brand selling direct to consumer and would like to share your cross-border and international ecommerce experiences, please email us at!

Thomas Davis

International Director of Ecommerce & Digital Services, Cartier

Jose Nino

VP of Global Digital Strategy, USPA Global Licensing Inc.

Jessica Lesesky

VP, Online Channels & Int'l, Charles & Colvard

Guido Campello

CEO & Creative Director, Cosabella

Sherry Shi

Head of Greater China, Shopbop | East Dane

Mark Batty

Head of International Development, Boden

Lee Senderov

EVP & GM, Richline Digital

Hayne Shumate

SVP, Internet Business, Mouser Electronics

Ethelbert Williams

Head of eCommerce, The Boston Beer Company

Carrie Fischer

Internationalization Manager, Subway

Na'Im Mckee

Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Paid Media, Arrow Electronics

Jeff Kessler


Amanda Bourlier

Euromonitor International

Anthony Khedaywi

CEO, Indestructible Dog and Logistical

Joel Palix


Daniel Wallace

CEO & Co-Founder, NutraClick

Amy Morgan

Vice President, Product — Global Trade & Cross-Border, Avalara

Jon Azrielant

Director of Marketing, Richline Digital

Frank Lavin

Chairman & CEO, Export Now

Daniel Head

Director, Digital Marketing and CRM, TOMS

Katerina Cai

VP, Operations, Export Now

Jim Okamura

Co-Founder, GELF

Kent Allen

Co-Founder, GELF

Convene NYC Midtown West

117 W 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

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