Johnny Russo Success Story

Building the Future of Canadian Retail:

My eTail Canada Story by Johnny Russo

Johnny Russo,
AVP of Digital Marketing & eCommerce,

Johnny’s eTail Story At a Glance

First Year Attended: 2010

How He’s Participated: Attendee, Speaker, and Advisory Board Member

eTail Highlights: Johnny enjoys the chance to create relationships that continue to grow year over year, as well as the chance to bring Canadian ecommerce forward through cross-industry collaboration.

eTail Canada is where Canadian retail moves forward.

I went to my first eTail event 5 years ago, and had the opportunity to attend some of the US events as well…When I first walked into eTail Canada, I immediately noticed how Canadian ecommerce is behind the US at the digital level, but at the same time is ready and able to move forward. Since I first attended the conference 5 years ago, I’ve continued to think about how we could match the influence of the US event. Technology evolves so quickly, there’s no reason why that isn’t the case. From my own observations, I know there is interest in getting to the next level; we just have to get all of the right people there. The possibility of expanding the event is what made me so excited about being involved as a board member for eTail Canada 2015. Every year eTail has gotten better, from the people attending to the content the conference provides. Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen significant improvement across the board.

eTail Canada gave me a chance to connect to the best and brightest of my peers.

I’ve continued to attend eTail for the past 5 years because of the intimate networking opportunities. Through these relationships, I’m able to learn from some of the best minds in the industry. It’s exciting walking around the venue because there’s exclusive knowledge everywhere you turn, with so many different industries represented—it doesn’t matter if you’re in fashion, sporting goods, or in travel—someone will be able to address a problem you’re having. I always note that you’re not only learning within the sessions, but also when you’re sitting at lunch or taking a quick break. When you’re surrounded by people who are seriously thinking about the things you are, you’re bound to find some answers.

I think eTail is in an excellent position to evolve, the organizers are ready to take the next step. One way is to work on getting some US companies involved so they can workshop some ideas on how to approach the Canadian market. Today, it seems we have around 60 – 70 percent of the major brands represented. However, I believe more work can be done to get all of these brands to participate. Especially since the talent at eTail is the best out of any Canadian conference.

My professional network has grown thanks to eTail,

On a personal level, I have and continue to benefit from the social media and email connections I’ve made on site. eTail has given me the opportunity to create a network of close contacts of whom I look to for advice and conversation. We typically like to talk about the state of our industry, but those conversations always turn into best practices, technology updates, exciting vendors and more! It’s great—we share our perspective and important information but don’t ever look for anything in return. In fact, these relationships continue on social media where we constantly show each other love, by either retweeting each other on Twitter or through reading and commenting on their blogs. I’ve been fortunate enough to have developed these relationships at eTail.