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Meet the Ecommerce Unlocked Main Stage Speakers!

Say hello to the industry experts taking to the main stage at our inaugural Ecommerce Unlocked event on Friday 10th September 2021.

Written By
Han Dickson

Having been postponed on numerous occasions due to the Covid pandemic, we couldn’t be more excited that the South West’s largest ecommerce conference, Ecommerce Unlocked, will finally be taking place on Friday the 10th of September 2021 at the University of Exeter.

There’s lots to look forward to, with a jam-packed schedule of learning and networking, not to mention the impressive line-up of main stage speakers who are ready and raring to go.

Taking to our main stage, Forbes 30 Under 30 member Ben Parr, author and podcast host Chloë Thomas, and our very own optimisation expert Sean Clanchy will be revealing their extensive knowledge and strategies to help you grow your business online. Let’s meet them!


Ben Parr: Co-Founder of Octane AI and Award-Winning Tech Pundit

As one of the top 10 tech journalists in the world and one of 10 people to know in Silicon Valley, even making it onto the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, our keynote speaker certainly knows his stuff when it comes to ecommerce, tech and entrepreneurship.

Say hello to award-winning entrepreneur, author, investor and journalist, Ben Parr.

Ben is the Co-Founder & President of Octane AI, an innovative zero-party data marketing platform which increases conversion rates, drives revenue and improves relationships by personalising every step of the customer journey. Named as the Best Storefront App at the 2020 Shopify Commerce Awards, and with thousands of ecommerce merchants using it to fuel growth, Octane AI is revolutionising the way retailers collect and leverage owned data.

Before his time at Octane AI, Ben led the editorial team at digital media platform Mashable. In his role as Editor-at-Large, he penned an impressive 2400 articles on social media and technology, and interviewed a variety of business leaders from Mark Zuckerberg to Ashton Kutcher.

He is also the author behind the 2015 best-selling marketing book Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention, which has been featured in publications such as the Harvard Business Review and USA Today.

Ben, what’s the most important bit of advice you’d give to an entrepreneur just starting out with an ecommerce store?

Test all your assumptions. Too many founders think they have a great idea, but don’t talk to prospective customers or don’t run A/B tests to see if their theory has legs. Nothing hurts an entrepreneur more than spending time on something that does not have real market opportunity. So talk to your customers; talk to your prospects; test new changes; and gather lots of data.

What can retailers do to try and differentiate their brand from the competition in today’s market?

Invest in data for personalisation – and stop renting your customer relationship from Facebook and Google. What will differentiate you from your competition will be the feelings your customers have with your brand, and that is built by having a truly personalised experience. You accomplish this by collecting data directly from your customers (zero-party data or customer-first data) and you leverage that data to send more personalised emails, SMS messages, and give personalised product recommendations on your website.

Are there any ecommerce trends you think we should watch out for during the rest of 2021?

The #1 trend every ecommerce brand is talking about is the rapidly-changing data privacy landscape and the upcoming “cookiepocalypse”. In the past, ecommerce brands would use data from Facebook and Google to power retargeting and prospecting ads. But consumers can now opt out of tracking in Apple iOS 14.5, and that has broken ad conversion rates in a major way – some brands are seeing 50%+ decreases in their return on ad spend.

Data privacy changes will only accelerate over the next few years. We are never going back to the way things were. Brands will be forced to develop new strategies to adapt to these changes and move away from the rented relationships they’ve relied upon until now.

Catch Ben’s keynote speech at Ecommerce Unlocked on Friday 10th September. He’ll be taking to the floor for the first speaker session of the day, discussing how to grow from £1-100 million online and beat the cookiepocalypse! 


Chloë Thomas: Globally-Recognised Ecommerce Problem Solver

Best-selling author, international and keynote speaker, award-winning ecommerce and marketing podcast host … our next speaker sure knows a thing or two about the world of online retail!

Chloë is a globally-recognised ecommerce marketing problem solver who has worked with a wide variety of retailers throughout her 18 years in the industry, from highstreet omnichannel operations to fresh online-only start-ups. Her career has seen her delve into all areas of ecommerce strategy and marketing, from international launches and subscription solutions, to B2B and marketplaces.

Author of several best-selling ecommerce books, Chloë currently hosts the award-winning eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast, as well as the brand new Keep Optimising Podcast. With these regularly appearing in lists of top ecommerce and marketing podcasts in the world, it’s no surprise that Chloë was named a Top 30 Ecommerce Influencer 2021 by Scurri!

She also regularly speaks at new business events, client conferences and webinars, and will be taking to the stage at Ecommerce Unlocked this September to share some of her favourite bricks and clicks success stories, along with the tactics you can use to achieve your own ecommerce growth in 2021 and beyond.

Chloë, what’s the most important bit of advice you’d give to an entrepreneur just starting out with an ecommerce store?

Get your software systems right. Adding an ecommerce store is just as much work as adding a second shop – but you can massively reduce the headaches and the boring workload if you implement software that works together.

After that, it’s about replicating the customer experience across both stores – think email welcome sequences, content, and customer services responses.

What can retailers do to try and differentiate their brand from the competition in today’s market?

Make sure your brand and your message is out there – you may know what it is, but is it being explained to your customers? Are the key messages on the homepage? In your shop window? Across all your communications channels? Customers buy your products because of what you stand for and how that’s replicated in your product – so you’ve got to tell them, and keep telling them.

And then once someone’s bought, give them a great delivery and post-purchase experience.

Are there any ecommerce trends you think we should watch out for during the rest of 2021?

I think we’re going to see a continuing growth in the trends that the pandemic has accelerated – so buying online, seeking emotional connection, looking to do good with purchases etc.

I’m also really interested in the brands who are growing fast because they’ve found a fresh new channel where their customers are, but other retailers aren’t. The most obvious would be Tik Tok – but I’ve also heard exciting things about Pinterest and Livestream selling recently.

Don’t miss ecommerce expert Chloë taking centre stage at Ecommerce Unlocked this September


Sean Clanchy: Shopify Specialist and Conversion Rate Optimisation Connoisseur

Adventure-loving Aussie Sean Clanchy is no stranger to the fast-paced world of ecommerce, with years of experience as both an online retailer and agency expert. Armed with first-hand experience running an ecommerce business, he’s perfectly poised to help online retailers get ahead by delivering exceptional, data-driven customer experiences.

Sean, who hails from the edge of the Australian outback and currently resides in the Southern Queensland city of Toowoomba, has built up an enviable portfolio of clients during his time at here at Swanky. As Managing Director of our Australia office, he’s worked with a myriad of brands across all sorts of industries, from pharmaceuticals to wearable tech, fast fashion to haute couture, onto million-dollar jewellery, digital downloads and made-to-order DIY products. As well as high-profile Aussie brands like McKinney’s Jewellers and Silk Oil of Morocco, just some of the UK household names he’s worked with include Huel, GAME, and the South West’s very own Saltrock.

Specialising in conversion rate optimisation, Sean enjoys digging into the challenges and opportunities of ambitious brands and helping them transform the way they sell online. Having delivered successful talks at several international ecommerce events, including sharing a stage with consulting giants McKinsey, we’re delighted that Sean will be taking to the stage at Ecommerce Unlocked (albeit virtually – thanks Covid!) this September.

Sean, what’s the most important bit of advice you’d give to an entrepreneur just starting out with an ecommerce store?

Don’t get distracted by Return on Ad Spend. Profitability is, and always will be, your primary measure of success and it’s easier to track for an online store than bricks-and-mortar.

If possible, try to understand the correlation between online and offline buying behaviour. When you run ads online, do you see more sales in store? As much as this can be hard, there are multiple indicators you can track to establish a correlation between digital marketing spend and in-store traffic and sales volumes. Clicks for directions and in-store collection both lead to in-store experiences and opportunities for customer-service-driven upselling.

What can retailers do to try and differentiate their brand from the competition in today’s market?

Make it personal!

When people are feeling more isolated than ever due to extended or recurring lockdowns, they really want to feel personally involved with a brand. Tell the stories of your staff and yourself in your marketing. Be approachable and raw.

Leverage video content or even video concierge, selling through platforms like Caazam to make the most of your bricks-and-mortar store staff’s knowledge of your products even when customers can’t physically come into the shop.

Are there any ecommerce trends you think we should watch out for during the rest of 2021?

Hmm … I continue to believe in augmented reality as a big area for growth for homeware and DIY brands in a Covid impacted world.

I also expect to see the rise and rise of video concierge sales. We’ve already seen it adopted across our merchants selling apparel and accessories, but are now working to roll it out for consumable food and supplement brands to allow for tailored subscriptions to reach muscle building/weight loss and other performance goals. Throw it in as a feature for premium fashion labels (as a VIP “win a concierge shopping experience with the designer behind your favourite brand!” type of thing) and I can’t help but expect it will drive increased conversion rates, increased loyalty sign-ups and engagement, extended subscription cycles and higher conversion values.

Sean will be joining us virtually for the second speaker session of the day, where he’ll be discussing the must-have mindset of the modern ecommerce manager and diving into the importance of the test-and-learn approach. 

Book your tickets to Ecommerce Unlocked now!

Want to hear more from our esteemed line-up of speakers about hot topics like ​​zero-party data, A/B testing, and omnichannel selling? Join us at Ecommerce Unlocked this September!


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