New York City / Thursday September 19th 2019

100% Dedicated to Cross-Border

and International E-Commerce

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The GELF community returns to New York City on September 19th for our biggest and best Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum yet! We’re looking forward to a full day of keynotes, panel discussions and workshops – and of course, GELF’s fabulous networking.

Building on the momentum from GELF LATAM and GELF LA ’19, leaders from online retailers and global brands will share data, insights and best practices about their global retail expansion strategies and tactics. International ecommerce experts will conduct workshops and host panel discussions detailing the latest dos and don’ts pertaining to cross-border and international ecommerce.

Join us on Thursday September 19th as we explore how digital innovation is disrupting and transforming the world of retail.

Interested in being a sponsor? Please contact

Throughout the day, GELF speakers will deliver a mix of strategic insights and tactical cross-border To Dos.  Come prepared to spend the day discussing different market entry and growth models and learning how customer journeys differ country-to-country – and how these different journeys can impact your customer acquisition and engagement programs.

Learn how to prioritize the key operational aspects of your global commerce plan and how to organize your team to execute it successfully.

Together we’ll explore how:

  • Traditional and digital native retailers are working with upstream brand partners to balance incumbent retail distribution models with emerging direct-to-consumer ecommerce opportunities
  • Global ecommerce titans like Amazon and Alibaba are following different paths to become crucial global distribution partners across digital and physical touchpoints
  • Leaders are revisiting digital selling rights and updating global distribution policies to reflect the new realities of a digital-first retail ecosystem
  • China continues to dazzle – and bedazzle – brands; both iconic global ones and brand new startups
  • Social media and influencer sites are evolving to help gloabl ecommerce innovators connect with a rising global middle class that expects one-touch ordering and fast delivery regardless of distance (and duties)
  • Retail stores and omnichannel partners are investing in the latest generation of international shipping innovations (dropshipping, multi-carrier software, etc.) to meet the delivery expectations of today’s demanding shopper
  • Personalization engines and AI advancements are becoming the “front-end” of localization as they help leading global brands engage international shoppers across digital touchpoints
  • A booming global ecosystem of cross-border cloud commerce solutions, international site builders, commerce agencies and systems integrators are leading start-ups and experienced omnichannel retailers into new global markets
  • And much more!

Our morning and afternoon breakout sessions are back as is GELF’s Tech Talks.  Our program offers internationally ambitious ecommerce leaders deep dives into how experts are tackling their top cross-border challenges and helps show you how to return to the office and 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

Below is a sample of the brands and retailers registered for GELF NYC 2019


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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
  • GELF's Global Tech Talks
  • GELF Networking Reception
8 to 9AM
9 to 9:30AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Welcome and audience and sponsor thanks
  • GELF LA ’19 and GELF LATAM Take-aways
  • How key global ecommerce trends frame the day’s program


9:30 to 10AM
Opening Keynote: The Rise of Global Ecommerce Platforms

Global ecommerce platforms are driving international sales growth for the world’s most iconic brands as well as for specialty retail and fast-growing digital native brands.  Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart each offer unique ways to help their brand partners identify and execute on cross-border ecommerce opportunities in both emerged markets (China) and in emerging markets (India).

The GELF community is thrilled to welcome Walmart’s new SVP of cross-border ecommerce, Ben Hassing. For the past four years, Ben Hassing has led the ecommerce and technology divisions in China as Walmart moved aggressively into omni-channel with partners Tencent,, Dada and others.

As the “headwaters of retail innovation” China’s retail ecosystem continues to inspire retail transformation at home and abroad.  In addition to providing an overview of Walmart’s cross-border ecommerce ambitions, Ben will share insights from his recent tenure in China. He will set the tone for the day by discussing lessons learned from serving Walmart’s Chinese consumers alongside Walmart’s brand and technology partners – and how these takeaways will help drive Walmart’s next stage of growth in markets around the world.

Join us to learn how US retailers can tap into emerging and proven international ecommerce best practices to grow their digital sales globally – and help lead their retail partners, associates and consumers into the next generation of global retail.

Keynote Speaker:

Ben Hassing, SVP, Cross Border Trade, Walmart

10 to 10:30AM
Executive Leaders Keynote Panel: How Digital is Transforming Global Distribution

Following Ben’s lead, GELF’s executive leaders’ panel will offer their own perspectives on how their companies are re-imagining ways that digital commerce can drive strategic and tactical growth initiatives at home and abroad.

We pick up on themes from GELF’s recent keynotes that have explored how brands are balancing the pros and cons of working with established international marketplaces and emerging digital platforms. As communication platforms like WeChat join Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart as next gen global sales and distribution partners, brands and retailers alike are revisiting how these ecommerce titans are transforming traditional wholesale distribution practices.

At the same time, more and more global ecommerce leaders are also working with exciting new niche and vertical marketplaces; innovative international platform partners that are also disrupting traditional retail distribution modes and methods globally.

Our panel also probes deeper into the dynamics facing brands as they increasingly sell direct to consumer while also working with traditional and emerging global ecommerce platform partners.

One hot topic at GELF LA ’19 was the need for brands selling DTC globally to revisit their global distribution agreements to clarify who has the right to sell what where when and how – and who owns operational and customer data from digital commerce.

Experience a fresh perspective on global distribution as we also tackle questions like:

  • Are brands becoming overly reliant on large global ecommerce platforms as the primary source of cross-border and international retail sales? If so, how can they diversify their global ecommerce growth plans?
  • How should brands work differently with new vs. traditional global distribution partners? How should expectations differ?
  • How should retail brands organize and build teams as digital disrupts global distribution?
10:30 to 11AM
Global Growth Showcase: What's Next for China Ecommerce?

China continues to be the #1 topic of interest at GELF gatherings. This September, GELF updates its 2017 China Ecommerce research study Catching the China Ecommerce Wave with new consumer data and additional insights from leaders within the GELF community.

Alibaba and often dominate the China Ecommerce conversation, but WeChat is the topic du jour. As WeChat’s commerce offerings emerge, we explore new opportunities in China for global retail brands.

Our panelists discuss how they are prioritizing known ecommerce opportunities in China vs. other fast-growing platform opportunities like Little Red Book and ByteDance’s TikTok content platform.

Our panelists also debate:

  • Whether DTC ecommerce is approaching a tipping point in China.
  • What are the ramifications from the ongoing global trade talks?
  • What adjacent SE Asian ecommerce opportunities are emerging?

Come learn what’s next in China!

11 to 11:15AM
Morning Break
11:15 to 11:45AM
Selling into China? A Playbook for Next Level Success

Are you ready to ramp up your China ecommerce growth now that your international ecommerce operations are growing nicely in Western markets? Is it past time to take your 1.0 China Ecommerce Strategy to the next level? This breakout session is for you!

Join Citcon’s COO Wei Jiang and global ecommerce leaders as we introduce Selling into China: The Definitive Guide to Cross-Border E-Commerce.

Citcon’s playbook spells out eight key steps for taking your cross-border ecommerce journey into China to the next level of success.

China isn’t a fit for everyone; step one is making sure that China is right for you and your products. Consider for instance that Tmalls’ sales of beauty products jumped over 60% last year!

Learn the latest about  Taobao, Tmall, JD and Kaola as well as the latest commerce sensation WeChat. Make sure you’re ready for China ecommerce success by adopting the latest mobile strategies and by offering Chinese shoppers at home and abroad the innovative payment systems and logistics/delivery options they cannot live without.

Interested in connecting with new Chinese consumers by better understanding the Chinese digital marketing landscape? Gain insights and best practices from case studies about successful marketing and social media programs  fueling  ecommerce growth in China.

Change is a constant in China; learn what it takes to succeed when it comes to rules, regulations, customs and cultural dynamics in China.

11:45 to 12:15PM
The Dawn of New Retail. What it Means. Why it Matters

GELF updates its 2017 “Catch the China Ecommerce Wave” study with new perspectives from leaders in the GELF community about how markets like China have emerged as the “headwaters of retail innovation.”

Our second global omnichannel breakout session looks at how global ecommerce innovation is ushering forth the dawn of integrated selling concepts like New Retail.

Leaders from Greater China’s technology community join GELF to discuss how the latest tech trends in Asia and emerging omnichannel practices are driving the adoption of integrated New Retail practices. Learn how Digital Native brands and “rain makers” from China are shaking up the global status quo.

11:15 to 11:45AM
Guaranteeing that the Cross-Border Customer Experience Exceeds Expectations and Delivers Results

What does an internationally renowned brand – one that has been investing diligently in growing its cross-border ecommerce operations – do when its cross-border ecommerce solution provider suddenly goes out of business? How does it continue to provide its international customers a smooth online shopping experience while transforming this unexpected change in plans into an opportunity to grow international conversions and revenues?

Matthew Schiff, Marc Jacob’s VP of Ecommerce, looks back on the company’s international growth in markets around the world in recent years – and recounts how the smooth migration to a new cross-border platform was completed in just three weeks; enabling the brand to provide its international customers with a seamless online shopping experience consistent with the brand’s name and reputation.

GELF’s cross-border customer experience fireside session explores how Marc Jacobs’ international strategy has evolved in recent years – and how the company has grown successfully via a blend of cross-border ecommerce strategies in Western markets and an extensive network of retail stores throughout Asia including a dedicated operation in Japan.

Discover how enabling shoppers to transact in their local currency, providing them with a tax and duties calculation at checkout, supporting a variety of alternative payment methods and offering competitive shipping options has helped the brand to increase international sales and improve customer satisfaction.

Matthew will explain how working with Global-e’s team enables Marc Jacob’s to improve its performance in international markets by optimizing their online offering, tailoring it to the brand’s business strategy, including its local in-store pricing strategy, in key markets worldwide such as Canada, Australia, Germany, France and the UK.

11:45 to 12:15PM
Fulfilling Cross-border Customer Expectations by Overcoming Global Trade Complexities

Capturing demand is one thing; fulfilling the order is a whole another adventure – especially in today’s dynamic global regulatory environment.

Compelling order and post-order experiences complete the engagement cycle – at home and abroad.  But too often, this cycle breaks down for cross-border shoppers due to unexpected fees, tariffs and taxes that are due once an online order ends up on at an international shopper’s home or business.

Another persistent cross-border hurdle is the high cost of international shipping and the long order delivery times. The resulting customer experience-related cross-border challenges often boil down to the tough work of making sure sought-after products comply with the latest regulations and are correctly classified for import and export.

GELF’s executive panel shares insights about how retail brands are improving international conversion rates by embracing automation and innovations that leverage machine learning and AI to ease cross-border compliance-related hurdles.

Learn more about how the latest software and process advancements can address tax reform initiatives, the dynamic state of border tariffs, and the increased scrutiny of imports and exports as the global ecommerce growth drives an ever-increasing volume of cross-border sales and deliveries to shoppers around the world.

11:15 to 11:45AM
International Marketplace Strategies

As international marketplaces grow in strategic importance in every global ecommerce market, new enablers and value-add solutions are emerging to extend and streamline marketplace connections.

Join GELF’s newest strategy breakout track that focuses on how marketplaces are helping brands expand their reach internationally – and how marketplace operators differ in the countries around the world.

Hear different POVs about how and why Amazon and Alibaba differ – and which alternative marketplaces need to be considered part of a broader global ecommerce expansion strategy.

Learn from experts why its increasingly important to work with smaller marketplaces and vertical marketplace channels.

11:45 to 12:15PM
Marketplace Strategy Workshop: Global POVs on "Marketplace Math"

International marketplace channels help retail brands extend their global customer reach by “fishing where the fish are.” But its not always easy to understand where and why the fish are biting.

Our international marketplace workshop brings together global ecommerce leaders to discuss how they are making the “marketplace math” add up. What are they prioritizing (and avoiding) as marketplaces of different shapes and sizes offer a growing array of digital advertising and media opportunities.

At GELF LA ’19, the demand was clear for more conversation about, and understanding of, how leaders are building and measuring the effectiveness of the ad campaigns they’re running on marketplaces.  Join our panel as they provide insights into how they are working with partners to develop marketplace strategies that deliver more than just international sales growth.

Learn how to make the right decision about how your digital media investments can provide the data and insight necessary to accelerate your global digital growth strategies.

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

We open the afternoon program by taking a world tour of how today’s customer journey crosses borders and devices.

Join us as we open the afternoon keynotes with the latest international consumer research.

2:15PM to 2:45PM
Executing the Plan: Translating Global Ecommerce Strategies into International Sales

When it comes to putting the plan into action, what principles and practices drive cross-border and international ecommerce sales growth?

Our keynote panel provides insights from both digital native and omnichannel retail leaders who share how their execution differs from country-to-country. Our experts touch on how planning and organizational design must adapt to the new realities of evolving global sales and distribution ecosystems.

We explore different perspectives about how digital’s role in global retail sales is changing and how this evolution requires companies to rethink who they are and how they’re organized for global success.

Learn more about balancing corporate objectives with the needs and opportunities that local partnerships provide. Get a grip on how organizations of the future need to handle innovation and inspire new leaders to take hold of the reins.

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

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.


3:15 to 3:30 PM
Afternoon Break
3:30 to 4:00PM
Markets Breakout #1: Optimizing Growth Strategies in the Americas

Canada remains the #1 export market for US retailers and brands. But what about digital commerce opportunities south of the border?

Our panel explores market opportunities and growth strategies in Canada and the top markets in Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

We also explore the best way to connect with online shoppers in Canada and in fast-growing markets throughout Latin America.

3:30 to 4:00PM
Global Ecommerce Models Breakout: Cross-border or Localized Country Sites?

Although the buzz about international marketplace strategies continues to build, cross-border ecommerce and localized country sites are proven international ecommerce growth models.

This breakout session explores when, where and why ecommerce leaders invest in cross-border ecommerce and localized in-country sites with  regional operations. Sometimes the choice of models is obvious; other times the decision is not so clear cut. Some leaders consider hybrid approaches.

Our panel explores how brands facing these decisions balance the key consideration factors  required to optimize international sales.

GELF’s panel compares how the key drivers of growth can differ between organizations – and how decisions about the size of the prize, desired customer experiences, inventory staging, merchandise assortments, customer data constraints and the post-order experience all influence strategies and priorities.

4 to 4:30PM
Markets Breakout #2: Next Gen Ecommerce Opportunities

Many retail brands invest first in English speaking countries followed closely by Western European and Scandinavian markets.

Join our panelists as we explore which markets come next when it comes to cross-border and international ecommerce investment.

After we explore LATAM ecommerce opportunities in Breakout #1, GELF’s experts focus on the state of ecommerce in the Middle East and Eastern Europe/Russia.

4 to 4:30PM
GELF Solution Showcase Breakout #2: 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.

4:30 to 5:30PM
GELF Networking Reception

Thanks again to all the global ecommerce executives listed below for speaking at GELF NYC '18! Look for GELF NYC '19 speakers to be listed later this spring and into the summer!

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! Although GELF speakers are primarily retailers and brand executives, we are able to include select leaders from our sponsor partners in the program as well. If interested in sponsoring GELF NYC '19, please contact

Ben Hassing

SVP, Cross Border Trade, Walmart

Nathan Isaacson

Digital Sales & Emerging Channels, New Balance

Emma Lawson

Director of Global E-Commerce, Huda Beauty

Martin Suter

Global VP, Marketplace

Ensell Lee

Director, Product Management, Macy's

Jose Farinas

Presidente Latin America & Global Manager, Wahl Clipper

Buffy Sash

SVP, Ecommerce, The Collected Group

Abby Whitmer

Executive Director, Digital, ReVive Skincare

Alex Richardson

CTO, Fekkai/Bastide Beauty

Joshua Rockoff

Sanctuary Clothing

Wei Jiang

President & COO, Citcon

Sherry Shi

Head of Greater China, Shopbop | East Dane

Amy Morgan

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

Indy Guha

VP, Enterprise Marketing, Signifyd

Matthew Merrillees

Managing Director, North America, Global-e

Frank Lavin

Chairman & CEO, Export Now

Duncan Licence

VP, Global Product, Metapack

A.J. Hernandez

President & CEO, SkyPostal

Jim Okamura

Co-Founder, GELF

Kent Allen

Co-Founder, GELF

Scott Silverman

Co-Founder, GELF

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