September 18, 2018 2018 Recap

Tim Ahlenius, Chief Experience Officer for HawkSearch, recently attended the conference last week. Check out his thoughts on the conference below! I’m on the flight back from Vegas after spending 3 days at’s 2018 Conference. It was a jam-packed experience, with a lot of great information. As an exhibitor, we were excited to talk with attendees about the insight engine and onsite search optimization skills that HawkSearch can deliver.

Having demoed to over 20 different companies, we were excited to hear feedback from marketers and merchandisers, about how HawkSearch fills a void or can improve on their existing search experience. From the benefits of relevancy tuning, to visitor targeting, to the choice of integration method, there was a lot of excitement about the possibilities of their ecommerce store and having their search powered by HawkSearch.


The show itself kicked off with a welcome party on Wednesday night at the TAO nightclub. A full room, with DJ, drinks and an incredible light show got us started for the conference. also had tours earlier that day of the Zappos headquarters and the feedback I heard was that it was an interesting culture and office setup, which is what makes Zappos unique. There were other events such as the Global eCommerce Leaders Forum and other pre-show sessions as well.


The day kicked off with a rise and shine breakfast, which allowed for networking and getting to know fellow attendees. We then kicked off with incredible sessions from Lorena Garcia from Chica Las Vegas, Sean Captain from Fast Company, and Kieran Mani from Google. Lorena discussed leadership, entrepreneurship, and more, while Sean and Kieran lead discussions surrounding two perspectives on AI in commerce. Great points were made and the AI conversation will continue heavily in the coming months and years as it constantly improves.

There were a lot of different sessions to choose from, and some of the most exciting ones for me were centered around data. Without a strong understanding of data, decisions are hard to make that will impact optimizations for conversions. A particular session that I was unable to attend but was intriguing was one about Sleeping giants - lessons from brands quietly winning. There are so many companies out there making a true impact with the marketing strategies and optimizations, we need to encourage everyone to share their stories about what they see working in the marketplace.

The Break the Ice Lunch was a great time to get to know other attendees and discuss different topics happening in the space. Conversations stemming about startup companies and into different technologies that are gaining traction were just a few of the discussions at my table.

We wrapped up with a great final session of hearing from Fast Company about the CMO of tomorrow, The Consumer Marketing Officer.


After another rise and shine breakfast, the day kicked off with a wonderful future discussion about what key technologies and mindsets are coming. This is an area that really excited me, as we build our own roadmap of future innovations for HawkSearch, and the capabilities that will impact the search experience for B2C ecommerce and B2B ecommerce companies, as well as content focused sites.

HawkSearch sponsored a table at the Retail Power Lunch, and enjoyed wonderful conversations about customer growth, optimization opportunities and more. Meeting several international companies and learning about their audiences was a takeaway that I felt was very important.

We wrapped up the conference back at the American Express Main Stage, where we heard from Snapchat’s Marni Shapiro, and Jeremy Siegel from Essence. A key snippet from that presentation was how to look at stats for plays and not impressions. Discussing the engagement aspects of some of today’s marketing efforts and not just vanity metrics that have been used for years. The big conclusion was then Serena Williams discussing her tennis career, going through fashion school, and overcoming insurmountable odds to become a global icon.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, we had an incredible 3 days in Las Vegas at 2018. It was a show that un-fortunately not everyone could attend due to Hurricane Florence, and our thoughts are with those affected. For those that weren’t able to make it, let’s plan to meet next year, and for those who were able to make it, thanks for a great time and great conversation. Remember, data driven is the key to starting your optimization success.


Latest blog posts