100% Cross-Border and International Ecommerce

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Encore Encore! On February 13th, the Global eCommerce Leaders Forum (GELF) community returns to West Hollywood for our 11th Forum. Grab your popcorn and join us in Los Angeles at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for another full day of cross-border and international ecommerce!

After successfully celebrating our 10th GELF at GELF NYC ’18 on September 27th 2018, we look forward to kicking off 2019 with our second February in Los Angeles.

GELF LA ’19 will bring together leaders from retail brands of all shapes and sizes.  Global manufacturers and consumer brands selling direct-to-consumer will join digital native start-ups and some of the world’s most iconic brands for a full day of education and sharing. GELF LA ’19 will showcase digital commerce innovators and cross-border ecommerce experts from the fashion and apparel world, health and beauty, consumer electronics and many other product categories.

Get a jump on 2019 sales by joining the fast-growing GELF community as we learn together, meet new friends and network throughout the day.

We’re thrilled to be returning to GELF LA’s new home in West Hollywood at the Director’s Guild of America Theater, 7920 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90046!

Start making your plans now to join us as we explore how cross-border and international digital commerce innovation is disrupting the world of retail.

Are you a retail ecommerce leader interested in speaking at GELF LA ’19? If so please contact speak@globalecommerce.co

If you are a marketplace operator or a solution provider that would like to sponsor and attend GELF, please contact sponsor@globalecommerce.co 

As always, GELF speakers will deliver an energetic and engaging combination of global ecommerce strategy and cross-border tactics and best practices. Spend the day exploring how the latest digital commerce innovation can accelerate your market entry plans or help you grow sales in global markets where you already have a presence.  Share with other leaders which global growth models work best where – and what new ideas can help you jumpstart your international journey.

Together we’ll explore:

  • Prioritizing Market Entry. Whether you’re pursuing hot markets like India and China or emerging mega-opportunities in SE Asia, GELF will help you connect with leaders that have been there and done that. If you’re looking to ramp up sales in Canada or maturing markets in Europe and Asia, GELF has you covered there too.
  • Branded Manufacturers Go Global. Direct-to-consumer brands of all shapes and sizes are coming to GELF to learn how to balance traditional B2B retail distribution with emerging direct-to-consumer ecommerce opportunities around the world.
  • International Marketplaces. We open the day diving into why and how international marketplaces are driving the future of retail growth! Amazon sets the pace globally and the smart leaders closely follow.  But Amazon isn’t the only game in town.  Global brands, merchants and marketplace sellers increasingly see international marketplaces as the hub of global distribution and the place to be to connect with the next generation of online shoppers.
  • Social media and influencer sites are proven ways to acquire and engage consumers around the world. Our GELF September Forums looked at how influencers are driving ecommerce sales in China. In LA, we’ll learn how marketers are working with cross-border innovators in China and other hot markets to connect with global millennials and others in the rising global middle class.
  • Omnichannel Fulfillment on a Global Scale. Cross-border is not just about US outbound international shipping anymore. Instead retailers, brands and digital entrepreneurs are using dropshipping and hybrid fulfillment operations to service their global consumers. In LA, we will explore how brands and retailers are also using stores and other physical points of presence to offer new international delivery and customer service options.
  • Localized Customer Experiences. The more global we go, the more local we must become. Learn how localization, personalization and AI are helping leading global brands improve the cross-border shopping experience and engage international shoppers.
  • Evolving Cross-Border Platforms. Looking for a one-stop spot to shop for a cross-border ecommerce solution partner? There is a booming international ecosystem of cloud commerce solutions, commerce agencies and best-of-breed software providers boldly leading global ecommerce brands, experienced omnichannel retailers and start-up commerce ventures into new markets. Meet them at GELF LA in February!

GELF combines breakout sessions and deep-dive workshops with our morning & afternoon keynotes and showcases. Our program offers retail professionals strategic insights and actionable take-aways about how ecommerce leaders are tackling their top cross-border challenges and how they are making the case for investing in global retail growth.

Networking starts during breakfast, extends into lunch and wraps up during our late afternoon reception that follows our popular roundtables and mentoring sessions.

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

Look Who's Attending GELF LA

More than 200 global e-commerce professionals are expected at GELF LA 2019. Below are some of the brands and retailers are already registered.


We are pleased to announce the updated program agenda for GELF LA '19 on February 13th. Thanks to all our speakers!

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  • Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Morning Keynote
  • Executive Leaders Keynote Panel
  • Global Growth Showcase
  • Morning Break
  • Concurrent Morning Breakout Sessions/Workshops
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Keynote Fireside
  • Afternoon Keynote Panel
  • Strategy Showcase Panel
  • Afternoon Break
  • Afternoon Breakout Sessions/Workshops
  • GELF Networking Reception
8 to 9AM
9 to 9:30AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks

The GELF producers welcome our West Coast audience and thank our sponsors!

We will explore how key global ecommerce trends frame the day’s program, recap our GELF China research and look back on the 2017 holiday season with a global perspective.


9:30 to 10AM
The GELF Opening Keynote: Optimizing Across Different International Marketplace Models

Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart and in-country marketplaces are building strategic relationships with a growing number of global brands.  Although some brands continue to avoid working directly with large international marketplaces, other brands increasingly view these partners as valuable global distribution platforms that are driving significant international sales. Others welcome the sales, but remain wary of what’s coming around the corner next.

The GELF community welcomes Charlie Cole, Global Chief eCommerce Officer of Samsonite as the keynote speaker for GELF LA ’19.  Charlie will open the day by discussing the evolving role of international marketplace channels and what to watch out for as opportunities to grow relationships with Amazon and Alibaba grow.

Charlie will touch on how

  • Evolving pay-to-play models
  • Amazon’s private labels strategy,
  • Data ownership
  • “Marketplace self-cannibalization” and
  • Using data across the brand portfolio for back-end customer service, warranties and repairs

all drive international sales and build loyalty with the next generation of cross-border and international shoppers.

Charlie’s opening keynote sets the tone of the day at GELF LA ’19 where over thirty speakers will discuss how their firms view digital’s role in global retail distribution and the steps they are taking to diversify their global ecommerce strategies so as not to become overly dependent on partners like Amazon.


  • Charlie Cole, Global Chief eCommerce Officer of Samsonite
10 to 10:30AM
Disrupting International Retail: How the Rise of Global Distribution Platforms Impacts the Future of Ecommerce

Segueing from the opening keynote examining the pros and cons of brands working with leading global marketplace operators like Amazon and Alibaba, we examine how ecommerce is driving the evolution of international “marketplaces” into global distribution platforms. Our panel explores how the rise of global ecommerce platforms are transforming international retail distribution – and how this evolution impacts brands selling direct-to-consumer and via traditional wholesale and retail distribution partners.

Our panel will discuss how the growth of digital is impacting the incumbent, regional sales and distribution partners of retailers and brands selling internationally; international retail partners that aren’t always savvy about ecommerce.

We’ll debate how the traditional value-adds required of global distribution partners are broadening from regulatory and operational/logistical support to actively enabling digital commerce growth.

Hear first-hand from leading retail brands and “next gen” distributors about how expectations in the global distribution ecosystem are evolving in terms of digital expertise and ecommerce capabilities.

Learn more about the digital commerce skill sets — selling via marketplaces, managing digital content and the customer experience, social selling and managing data/insights – that separate the leaders from the laggards. Explore why brands must take the lead educating distribution partners about digital commerce and help balance “the load” between enterprise and locals.


  • Jennifer Glover, Global Ecommerce Leader at 5.11 Tactical
  • Na’Im Mckee, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Paid Media, Arrow Electronics
  • Jacob Uhland, Sr. Dir Digital Multi-Channel Development, VF Corp
10:30 to 11AM
"When They Win, We Win": Empowering International Distribution Partners with Global Ecommerce Knowhow

Join us for a live GELF Global Case Study that profiles how global brands blend a mixture of international marketplace selling and direct-to- consumer ecommerce to help their international distribution partners grow global sales.

Our panelists from Crocs explore when to work with partners and when going solo makes the most sense. We discuss how to help less savvy distribution partners up their ecommerce game and highlight how brands can learn from partners who are already killing it online.

We explore who has ecommerce rights in global markets and who doesn’t; and what to do when there isn’t clarity about who can sell what where.


  • Kelly Spehar, Director, Global eCommerce Marketplaces, Crocs
  • Ben Newson, Sr. Manager, Etail & Distributors, Crocs
11 to 11:15AM
Morning Break
11:15 to 11:45AM
Localizing the Cross-Border Experience: Engaging, Acquiring and Retaining International Shoppers

Worried about whether your domestic site translates globally? Ready to make sure your international shopping experience is on par with your U.S. ecommerce experience?

Our panel explores how to make sure your cross-border shoppers get the same TLC as your local ecommerce shoppers. We also discuss how to connect with the next generation of global shoppers by exploring how the digital marketing mix differs from country to country.

Learn more about how site localization strategies boost conversion and which localized content marketing, social/influencer and search marketing strategies can jumpstart or accelerate your international customer acquisition and retention programs.


  • Matthew Merrilees, CEO, North America, US, ‎Global-e
  • Emma Lawson, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, Tarte Cosmetics
  • Jim Okamura, GELF Co-founder



11:15 to 11:45AM
Globalization Strategy Breakout: European Cross-Border Best Practices

By the end of 2018, ecommerce sales in Europe will total over $600 billion Euros, with shoppers in the UK, Germany and France driving a majority of sales. As more US retailers and brands ramp up ecommerce operations in Europe, how are they leveraging the best practices of seasoned cross-border ecommerce operators?

Navigating ecommerce expansion into the European market requires balancing costs with market reach objectives. Although many US brands start with cross-border ecommerce; fulfillment options vary significantly – as does the ecommerce sophistication of European retail distribution partners. We examine how brands like Specialized and ASOS have ramped up ecommerce in Europe by understanding how consumers in each country have unique sets of expectations, especially regarding choice of delivery. While some prefer pick-up & drop-off, others desire home delivery.

Learn what is takes to succeed in Europe.


  • Alex Banys, Director, Global eCommerce and Digital Marketing, Specialized Bicycle Components
  • Bruce Fair, Chief Revenue Officer, MetaPack Group
11:45 to 12:15PM
Localizing the Cross-Border Experience: Building Customer Loyalty via Operational Localization

Led by millennials and older Gen Z shoppers, “flat world shoppers” expect the same digital experience whether they are shopping around the corner or around the world.  Brands selling cross-border are faced with an increasingly urgent need to remove points of friction from the ecommerce shopping experience.  The goal must be to deliver an equal or better customer experience than domestic competitors. This objective is becoming even more challenging as global trade dynamics remain volatile.

In this session we focus deeper into the sales funnel to explore how leading brands are enhancing the site experience – and especially the order and post-order experience. All-inclusive pricing transparency while shopping and an all-encompassing confidence level at checkout are key pillars to an improved cross-border shopping experience.

Long-time GELF speakers Kai Li and Amy Morgan will share their unique perspectives about how retail brands are testing and investing to improve the cross-border shopping experience.  Learn how ecommerce leaders are optimizing cross-border site operations to convert first-time customers while also helping these shoppers feel confident when buying products that aren’t yet global brands.

Amy and Kai tackle head-on one of the nagging realities of cross-border ecommerce; conversion rates that significantly lag domestic rates.  One major challenge is the sticker-shock cross-border shoppers encounter at checkout once tariffs, taxes and fees are added to the basket. Another major concern is a lack of comfort with the ability to easily return cross-border purchases.

Join us to learn more about:

  • How retail brands are more effectively communicating the total landed cost of an order throughout the shopping experience
  • What it takes behind the scenes to plan and execute all-inclusive cross-border pricing strategies
  • The math behind offering free international returns – and the upside to look for
  • How to lower international shipping costs to offset the costs of reduced cost or freereturns


  • Kai Li, VP, International, REVOLVE
  • Amy Morgan, VP, Product, Global Trade & Cross Border, Avalara
11:45 to 12:15PM
Globalization Strategy Breakout 2: China Not for You? Think Again

Retail brands – enterprise-scale and SMBs alike – can be skeptical about their ecommerce opportunities in China.

Some are overwhelmed by the perceived complexity and question whether China is right for them. Others simply think of China as being “a bridge too far.”

Join us as we explore why everything you think you know about China is only part of the story – and why China should be part of a broader global strategy.

Learn why you can do well in China even if you are currently not aware of of how big the opportunity can be for you.


  • Frank Lavin, Chairman & CEO, Export Now
12:15 to 1:45PM
Lunch and Networking
1:45 to 2PM
GELF's Afternoon Kickoff: Global Expansion. Cultural Implications.

Kick off the afternoon sessions with insights from Marwan Forzley’s book about why and how cultural considerations should drive global retail expansion strategies. Learn how TOMS shoes takes a stand with its new social cause campaign.


  • Marwan Forzley, Author, Small Business in a Big World: A Comprehensive Guide to Doing International Business
  • Daniel Head, eCommerce Marketing and Operations, TOMS
2 to 2:30 PM
Afternoon Keynote Panel: How Leading Retail Organizations Plan and Execute Global Ecommerce Strategies

GELF’s recent study with the NRF focused on how organizations are embracing global operating models and executing on international ecommerce strategies by building global playbooks and centers of excellence.

Join our panel as they provide insights and tips about how their organizations plan and implement cross-border and international ecommerce strategies.

Learn more about

  • How organizational design for international ecommerce growth differs between large global brands and digital native startups
  • When brands should embrace strong centralization or empower local country teams
  • Programs where digital teams take the lead  integrating digital and traditional teams
  • Tips and best practices for getting a global organization on the same page!


  • Aaron Zagha, CMO, Newton Baby
  • Jordan Bass, Senior Director, eCommerce, FIJI Water
  • Jim Okamura, Co-founder of GELF
2:30 to 3PM
Strategy Showcase: Digital Native Brands Take the Lead

It’s not just branded manufacturers that are working more closely with Amazon and Alibaba to grow global sales; so too are Digital Native brands.

GELF’s recent research found that in addition to working with (or working around) international marketplace platforms, these nimble, fearless new brands are doubling down on investments in their own global DTC ecommerce operations. Many do not follow traditional go-to-market paths that include working with traditional distribution and wholesale partners

Our panel will discuss how Digital Native brands are taking the lead by prioritizing the customer experience and managing operational data sets and investing in digital, customer-centric innovation.

Learn about the leadership practices of “Fearless” Digital Natives as they pursue cross-border ecommerce opportunities – and how their global-first mentality that can help your entire global distribution ecosystem grow and prosper.


  • Kristel de Groot, Co-Founder & CMO, Yoursuper.com
  • Jacob Rokeach, VP, Growth & E-commerce, ANINE BING
  • Nic Marlin, VP, E-Commerce, Thoughtfully
  • Indranil (Indy) Guha, VP Growth Marketing at Signifyd
3 to 3:15 PM
Afternoon Break
3:15 to 3:45 PM
GELF's Global Tech Talks

Wondering how to reach your next 2 billion customers; 800 million of whom don’t pay with credit cards? Learn how to reduce friction by offering the right payment choices and transparent pricing throughout the cross-border shopping experience. Improve conversion by clearly stating exactly what it will cost to have an order delivered to any customer’s doorstep in the world.

Join our GELF Tech Talk presenters from Avalara and Rapyd as they discuss why and how investing in operational aspects of cross-border ecommerce can help retail brands tackle some of their most critical cross-border and international ecommerce challenges.


  • Amy Morgan, VP, Product, Global Trade & Cross Border, Avalara
  • Eric Rosenthal, Managing Director, Rapyd
3:45 to 4:15PM
Ecommerce Models Breakout: Cross-border or Localized Country Sites – What Model to Choose When and Why?

This session explores two primary international growth models: Cross-border ecommerce and Localized in-country sites supported by regional operations. It’s no secret that many brands are debating whether to invest in cross-order ecommerce operations or build in-country local sites.

Our panel explores how brands facing this decision balance the key consideration factors that are required to optimize international sales.  Our panel compares how the key drivers of growth can differ between organizations – and how decisions about the desired customer experience, inventory positions/staging, merchandise assortments/SKU counts, customer data and the post-order experience all factor into the decision.


  • Jennifer Brownell, Global Director, Strategy, Solutions & Planning at KEEN
  • Daniel Head, eCommerce Marketing and Operations, TOMS
  • Ahmed Naiem, Chief Commercial Officer at eShopWorld
4:15 to 4:45PM
Global Market Showcase: Emerged vs. Emerging Markets - How to Balance the Opportunities

Global ecommerce sales opportunities beckon in emerging markets, prompting global leaders to ask “Where to go next? What to avoid?”

Meanwhile operations are in place and humming along nicely in their top tier international markets. Growth is often good, but maybe not great. Leaders ask,  “Now what? Is it time to explore our next investment here?”

Join our panel as they explore what’s next for global ecommerce leaders in both emerged and emerging markets.

Get the lowdown on the Down Under. Debate whether the next big thing is SE Asia, India or the Middle East. Learn more about whether Brazil is making a comeback and whether China will own LATAM markets in 10 years.

Ponder what your near-future growth priorities should be in emerged markets.  Get the scoop on other digital channels and omnichannel strategies

Join a lively discussion about where leaders are placing their bets for the next leg of international growth.


  • Lily Varon, Analyst – Digital Business Strategy, Forrester Research
  • A.J. Hernandez, President & CEO at SkyPostal
4:45 to 5:30PM
GELF Networking Reception

Thanks to all the global e-commerce leaders who have shared their expertise, insights and experience at GELF Forums in recent years! Thanks to all the GELF LA 2019 speakers listed below!

If you are an experienced executive from an online retailer or brand and are interested in speaking at GELF LA 2019 on February 13th, please email Kent, Jim and Scott at speak@globalecommerce.co

Charlie Cole

Global Chief eCommerce Officer, Samsonite

Emma Lawson

Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing, Tarte

Kai Li

VP, International, REVOLVE

Jennifer Glover

5.11 Tactical

Na'Im Mckee

Marketing Director, Arrow Electronics

Kelly Spehar

Director, Global eCommerce Marketplaces, Crocs

Mike Hornigold

VP, Global eCommerce, Kids II

Alex Banys

Director, Global eCommerce and Digital Marketing, Specialized Bicycle Components

Kristel de Groot

Co-Founder & CMO, Superfood

Jacob Rokeach

VP, Growth & E-commerce, ANINE BING

Daniel Head

eCommerce Marketing and Operations, TOMS

Lily Varon

Analyst - Digital Business Strategy, Forrester Research

Ben Newson

Sr. Manager, Etail & Distributors, Crocs

John Melchek

SVP Global Ecommerce, Fam Brands (formerly)

Jacob Uhland

Sr. Dir Digital Multi-Channel Development, VF Corp

Aaron Zagha

CMO, Newton Baby

Indy Guha

VP, Enterprise Marketing, Signifyd

Amy Morgan

VP, Product, Global Trade & Cross Border, Avalara

Jordan Bass

Senior Director, eCommerce, FIJI Water

Nic Marlin

VP, E-Commerce, Thoughtfully

Frank Lavin

Chairman & CEO, Export Now

Matthew Merrilees

CEO, North America, US, ‎Global-e

Bruce Fair

Chief Revenue Officer, MetaPack Group

Marwan Forzley

Author, Small Business in a Big World: A Comprehensive Guide to Doing International Business

Eric Rosenthal

Managing Director, Rapyd

A.J. Hernandez

President & CEO at SkyPostal

Kent Allen

Co-Founder, Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum

Jim Okamura

Co-Founder, Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum

Scott Silverman

Co-Founder, Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum

DGA Theater

7920 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90046

West Hollywood

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