I try to attend at least one Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum (GELF) event every year. It’s a great event for brand and retail leaders in charge of global strategy to catch up on the latest and greatest, share woes, and celebrate successes. Here are three things I took away from the event in LA a few weeks ago:

  • Customer data is currency. Brands are keenly aware of the quantity and quality of the data their partners are sharing with them. More than one brand spoke about weighing this criteria more heavily in who they choose to do business with, both with online marketplaces (e.g., Alibaba or Amazon) as well as with their wholesale retail partners.
  • Wholesale retail partners’ digital maturity is all over the map. Putting aside the challenges with their direct-to-consumer businesses, more brands discussed the inconsistency in their wholesale retail partners’ digital maturity as a barrier to business growth and the challenge of determining when to help or, in some cases, clamp down on wholesale retail partners whose outdated strategies may end up hurting the brand overall.
  • There’s a new guard of cross-border shipping solutions. GELF isn’t generally a sponsor-heavy event, but there were quite a few new-to-me names in the cross-border shipping space. In fact, it’s spurred me to take a renewed look at the cross-border shipping solutions space (I last published on it in 2015). I’m in the process of collecting data. Stay tuned!