The Electronic Retailing Association

Photo Report from the Venice Conference 2017

Spectacular journey to the hotel by vaporetto

by Julian Oberndörfer

The 2017 €lectronic Home Shopping Conference in Venice can only be described as special.

Arriving in style from the water

It all started with travelling to the conference venue as the only means of transportation in Venice is by boat! So, once you arrive on the mainland by train or airplane, to reach the island and the hotel you have to take a water taxi.

Everybody agreed that no matter whether you chose the public boat transportation, the 'vaporetto', or were lucky enough to enjoy a trip in the 'Grace Kelly-like' wooden speedboat taxis, the journey across the water made the arrival at the hotel very special.

Conference attendees were brought by boat directly to the Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky entrance on the Giudecca canal

Almost 400 conference attendees from more than 40 countries enjoyed that trip. Venice is simply a fabulous conference venue and it was great to welcome even more attendees than last year.

If you would like to see all the photos from the conference see the gallery on our conference website

The highlights

The opening reception was held in a small courtyard between the Nutella Pavilion and the show floor and cold drinks and snacks were served at the end of the first conference day. The event was also used to explain some special aspects of the location. As Venice is packed with tourists every day in the summer, there are very strict rules on night opening hours for restaurants and bars. Even commuting from one Island to another can be a challenge.

The opening reception took place on Tuesday evening in one of the hotel courtyards.

To ensure networking opportunities for our attendees who came from all over the world, ERA Europe organised a private after hours event at the rooftop bar of the the Hotel Molino Stucky. Named one of the best bars with definitely the most spectacular views in Venice, the bar was ours from midnight until four in the morning! Already on the first night, the hotel staff were overwhelmed by the incredible number of attendees wanting to enjoy that extraordinary location. (No surprise that the farewell drinks on Thursday evening were also celebrated at this magnificent site.)

Professor Klaus Goldhammer (Goldmedia), presenting the 2017 Multichannel Home Shopping Study at the MCMS

MCMS Congress

The second day started with the MCMS congress (Multi-Channel Money Streams). For some of us, it started earlier with an email to check the PR coverage of ERA Europe that morning regarding the pre-publication of the Goldmedia Study on the European Multi Channel Home Shopping industry to be presented that day. The study was presented by Professor Goldhammer later that day.

The MCMS congress again addressed topical and critical issues. While blockchain is still hot, we also looked at the most recent opportunities regarding virtual reality and AI.

Guy Bisson, (Ampere Analysis, MCMS Speaker) and Maria Rua Aguete (IHS Markits) who moderated the MCMS Virtual Reality panel.

We touched on data protection and especially the European GDPR which will be in force by May 2018 and learned what science is doing beyond data to explore “shopping-emotions”. Self-Regulation and Product Piracy had their share and we also addressed BREXIT.

All these learnings were summarised in our regulatory panels and Christopher Peterka rounded off the day with his comments and observations of the discussion which you can see here.

2017 EMMAs

Meanwhile the rehearsal for the 2017 EMMA´s was underway. The setting was right at the canal between Giudecca Island and the Venice Main Island.

A massive cruise ship passes the EMMA award venue

While the team prepared for the event, cruise ships (far higher than the Hilton Hotel) passed directly by with their passengers taking pictures of the scene.

The dresscode for the EMMAs was “glamourous evening attire” so we all left to get changed for the evening's festivities.

Astrid van der Staaij, our MC for the evening, stepped onto the stage in a fantastic blue evening dress and lead us through the ceremony in her charming way.

Astrid van der Staaij was our fun and charming host for the 2017 EMMA Awards

Read a short interview with Astrid

As last year, the award ceremony was held in a short and entertaining form to hold the attention of our attendees.

Read more about the winners and to see photos of the event.

Awards were given for the ERA Europe Ambassador 2017, the Best Innovation 2017,  Best Consumer Orientation, Best Communication, and Multi-Channel Champion.

Sandi Češko received the 2017 EMMA Lifetime Achievement Award

The highlight of the evening was the Award for Lifetime Achievement which went to Sandy Češko of Studio Moderna.

In a remarkable speech by Maja Umek of Studio Moderna, newly elected chairwoman of ERA Europe, we learned more about his personality and character and that actually all the odds were against such a lifetime story of success. Sandi then told us, that the Home Shopping business was actually a side business of his and that he really tried to avoid it as his heart belonged, at that time, to his computing company. Lesson learned – with such an outstanding character, devotion and personality, he turned Studio Moderna into the market leader in Central and Eastern Europe and is a more than deserving awardee for the EMMA Lifetime Achievement Award.

See Maja Umek's speech for Sandi Cesko here.

The sun set over Venice at the end of our conference. It will rise again next June for the next ERA Europe conference in Sevilla, Spain

Not wishing to spoil the evening, St. Peter had mercy on us and it only started to rain lightly towards the end of the ceremony, so that everybody could rush to our amazing and covered roof top bar.

Sevilla 2018

That night we also disclosed our new conference location: the 2018 Multi-Channel Home Shopping Conference will be held in Sevilla in the very south of Spain. We are already in the middle of the preparation to once again organise a great conference with exciting events.

Interview with Sandra Weiser, ERA Europe's Conference Director

ERA Europe's Conference Director Sandra Weiser and her team from Corde Concepts: (L-R) Franziska Siebald, Sandra Weiser and Lena Steinbüchel.

Once again our thanks go to Sandra Weiser and her team Franziska Siebald and Lena Steinbüchel at Corde Concepts for organising a wonderful conference. We caught up with Sandra shortly after the conference to ask her a few questions.

ERA: Sandra, how did the conference go this year from your perspective?

Sandra: After the good feedback I assume that the conference was a great success. The attendees enjoyed beautiful Venice, great food and the networking opportunities. I know that we had some issues with the wi-fi, but when we checked on the hotel beforehand, this was not a problem. The good side effect is that we will always learn for the next conference, (also our survey was very productive) and we will of course do our best to address the issues raised by the attendee feedback for next years conference.

ERA: What was your personal highlight?

Sandra: My personal highlight were the EMMA Awards, especially Majas speech about the Lifetime Award winner Sandi Češko. A very personal and emotional speech.

ERA: This is the third conference you have organised as ERA's Conference Director. How did Venice work as a conference location?

Sandra: I was a little concerned about all the shipments and also transfers from the airport/city to the hotel, but everything went very smoothly. Venice was a great location and everyone enjoyed the boat rides and the beautiful weather and views at the skyline bar.

ERA: What can we look forward to in Seville 2018?

Sandra: Seville is a charming city and in my opinion a great match for the conference attendees. The city offers a lot of amazing restaurants and bars for the after-conference program. -END-