My appreciation for entrepreneurship is deeply rooted. Growing up as the child of two small business owners, their journey and hard work gave my family stability and opportunity. As we experienced the different facets of building a business, the aspect I remember most vividly is the joy my parents derived from building deep relationships of trust with their customers. This certainly brought financial rewards but more importantly, there was something fulfilling about bringing a personal touch as they catered to a customer’s needs.

In recent years, commerce has become more transactional. As customers increasingly chose to engage with businesses online, many merchants flocked to marketplaces and aggregators like Amazon to take advantage of seemingly instant demand. Unfortunately, these merchants found themselves getting commoditized and in the worst cases, having to compete directly with the very marketplaces that they sell on. The biggest downside of all however, was losing control over a direct relationship with their customer.

Here's the good news: we’re seeing a renaissance of a seemingly “old-fashioned” approach—building direct, personal relationships with the customer online. In fact, 2020 was the first year where we saw a decline in Amazon’s share of U.S. eCommerce at 31%, down from 42% in 2019. eCommerce platforms and enablement providers are giving control back to merchants and enabling them to gather insights about their customers and sell directly, in a much more personal way. 

While this desire to go Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) has been a long-term trend, we’re entering what we believe is the golden-age of D2C eCommerce enablement, in large part due to the following factors:

1. COVID-19: The pandemic year caused a step function evolution from “omnichannel” to digital-first strategies. In 2020, eCommerce globally grew almost 28% to $4.3 trillion, adding almost $1 trillion in spend in just one year

2. eCommerce technology: Platforms, like Shopify and Nuvemshop, and enablement software providers, like Klaviyo and Shogun, are empowering brands, large and small, with powerful technology and data

3. Data privacy: Regulation and the movement away from 3rd party cookies has driven brands to move towards “owned” channels such as email and SMS 

We at Accel have been fortunate to support many innovators throughout the evolution of eCommerce, including companies such as Algolia, Bonobos, Braintree, Etsy, Diapers.com, Flipkart, GOAT, goPuff, Jet.com, Squarespace, Webflow, and many others. But in many ways, we are just at the beginning of this D2C wave. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce eComm Connect 2021, our first conference that will talk about the future of D2C eCommerce, featuring some of the most important experts, brands and players in the space. 

eComm Connect 2021

Join us virtually on Wednesday, June 16th 2021 as we explore various topics across five different panels: eCommerce Platforms, Social Commerce, eCommerce Enablement, Brands, and P2P eCommerce & Delivery. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from some incredible executives from Athleta, BigCommerce, Ebay, Facebook / Instagram, Kering (Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga, Bottega Venetta), LikeToKnowIt, Lego, Magento, Pinterest, Salesforce CommerceCloud, Shopify, Stitch Fix, Spanx, Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman), and more. 

Browse the agenda and register for free at our website: ecommconnect.accel.com. New speakers will be unveiled on Accel’s Twitter and LinkedIn weekly.

Leading up to the conference, we’ll also be publishing the Accel eCommerce Enablement Marketscape, as well as other content focused on major trends in eCommerce. 

Look forward to seeing you there!

–Ethan Choi & the Accel team