Next Big Thing: Austin 2019 Recap

Next Big Thing: Austin 2019 Recap

Published February 25, 2019 in Classy Llama
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Two weeks ago, the Classy Llama team loaded up their bags and travelled to the Lone Star State for Next Big Thing: Austin. This merchant-centered workshop brought more than fifty eCommerce professionals from the Austin area together. The core of the event was expert-led sessions on topics like customer retention and email segmentation. Throughout the day, merchants shared their pain points and frustrations with each other. They discussed and debated platforms and tools available. Hands-on product demos showed attendees personalized solutions to their challenges. By allowing eCommerce experts to facilitate merchant to merchant discussion, Next Big Thing: Austin helped dozens of merchants get inspired and grow in a value-packed one day event.


Next Big Thing: Austin was a collaborative event with our partners BigCommerce, ShipStation, and Klaviyo. We centered the day around merchant-to-merchant collaboration and expert-led roundtable discussions.

This format, and the entire concept of a collaborative event, was born from our recognition that iron sharpens iron. Merchants need to connect directly with their peers and share their successes and failures. Clients often come to Classy Llama frustrated and blocked by a specific aspect of their eCommerce experience. Many companies are struggling with the same roadblocks and some have already found solutions. By coming together, they can share their experiences and work together to find a solution. The attendees formed a community to navigate these waters together.


Austin is a quickly growing hub for many incredible eCommerce solution providers and merchants. Two of our sponsors, BigCommerce and ShipStation, are based in the Austin area. The Classy Llama team has brought this format to other cities over the past year, and we plan to continue in the future. We are passionate about meeting merchants where they are and guiding them to a solution.


When it came time to determine which partners we would ask to sponsor this event, there were three obvious choices.

In our final session, industry experts from each sponsor gathered together for a panel discussion. The panelists shared their experiences and best practices for their respective areas of eCommerce. They offered advice about products, customer acquisition strategies, and revenue channel management. They discussed the need of confronting industry challenges while maintaining business objectives.


Each merchant walked away with a prioritized list of actionable items. They established a network of fellow business owners and eCommerce experts. The discussions were led and fueled by the attendees themselves, so each person was able to create their own custom experience.

“I highly recommend the Next Big Thing for all merchants, whether you're starting out, in the middle or already an established large store. There was something to learn from my peers as well as the expert group facilitators. It was very helpful and encouraging!”-Jen Evans, AlenCorp

“The interactive group style was conducive to participant interaction. No one was being lectured AT. Excellent format, rarely do I get a takeaway, but this event was worth it.”-Scott Drawdy, Wellica Nutrition

Not only did we have a successful turnout, but those merchants were able to work through major roadblocks to define a clear path forward. The event would not have been such a success without the support and participation of the attendees and our awesome sponsors. We are grateful for everyone’s contribution! We loved seeing our team, partners, and guests leaving re-energized for what’s to come.


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