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ChargeX 2022: Unpacking The Annual Subscription Industry Conference


We’re still reliving the incredible events of ChargeX22, which took place last week in Santa Monica. Our goal for the conference was to bring together the best minds in ecommerce, from thought leaders and industry-leading merchants to tech innovators and creative agencies. Our collective focus: unpacking the future of ecommerce and how we can prepare for it.

Couldn’t be there for the event? Or do you, like us, want to keep replaying all you experienced over the course of the week? Don’t worry—we’re sharing a recap full of highlights and key takeaways.

Day 1: Welcome to Santa Monica!

Part of the beauty of ChargeX lies in its scope: Attendees came from around the world to convene in Santa Monica and meet in person. After traveling from near and far, we kicked off the conference on Monday with a breezy opening reception at The Bungalow for a beverage and bite to eat—grateful to connect with old friends and make new connections.

Day 2: Diving into the future of ecommerce

Refreshed and ready to get started, we started Tuesday strong by tackling the heart of the conference: the future of ecommerce. Our first general session, moderated by Recharge’s own CEO and Co-Founder Oisin O’Connor, brought together a panel of industry experts to share their insights on ecommerce trends and forecasts.

One of the top takeaways was emphasizing that the best businesses of the future will be those that focus on brand. Several of the panelists spoke about the importance of understanding that consumers are attracted to deep brand experiences, especially brands with whom they share personal values and enjoy a sense of community with.  

“The best brands are building communities. They understand the importance of that relationship. It’s about more than their products. It’s about the feeling and experience they provide to their customers when they interact with the brand.” — Routing Sun, Recharge’s VP of Product Marketing

To close out the first panel, Oisin spoke to the audience about the importance of coming together and sharing knowledge with one another in the spirit of collaboration and lifting each other up:

“The future is here. Please talk and connect with one another. Learn from each other. This is an amazing time to start a brand and scale a business.”

Oisin O’Connor, CEO & Co-Founder of Recharge

Oisin O'Connor, CEO and Co-Founder of Recharge hosting a panel on stage
Oisin O’Connor, CEO & Co-Founder of Recharge spoke to the audience about the importance of collaboration and learning from one another.

From there, we heard directly from some of the most innovative brands in the DTC space: Bite, Verve Coffee Roasters, Bumpin Blends, and Blume. They shared their strategies for thinking outside the box and standing apart in a competitive market.

Lindsay McCormick, CEO and Founder of Bite, spoke about how she dedicates time every Friday to get on the phone with customers. “It’s the perfect opportunity to figure out where their biggest pain points are.” She also added that her favorite question to ask her customers was, “What do you think of when you think of Bite?”

That question allows her and the Bite team to immediately understand right from their customers what resonates from the brand the most. She added she was often delighted by their answers, especially when they spoke about their shared values towards sustainability and how Bite is a part of their everyday routine. 

Lisa Mastela, CEO and Founder of Bumpin Blends, shared that 99% of her business is through subscription. Her business has found tremendous success by providing new customers with an onboarding quiz that leads right to checkout with personalized products suited to supporting a customer’s specific symptoms and dietary needs. 

Along the way, the quiz also captures valuable email and personal data that allows the brand to better understand and communicate with their customers. 

Lisa also added that subscriptions provide opportunities to grant loyalty perks to longtime subscribers to boost retention and allowed Bumpin Blends to create a robust refer-a-friend program (with the referrer getting money back towards their own subscription) that has become one of their largest customer acquisition channels. 

After that panel, attendees got to choose their own adventure with a series of breakout sessions falling into three different topics: partner panels, merchant spotlights, and product dives. 

Over the course of the afternoon, guests took in topics like best practices for optimizing subscriptions, must-haves for every merchant tech stack, and the importance of conversational commerce, as well as deep dives from Bokksu and Who Gives a Crap on their incredible success stories.

We ended the day’s sessions on a high note: Daymond John’s much-anticipated keynote speech. The star of ABC’s Shark Tank, Founder and CEO of the FUBU group, and CEO of the Shark Group shared his story of how he became a self-made multimillionaire with over $6 billion in global product sales, as well as the strategies that continue to bring him financial success.

Daymond emphasized the importance of knowing what drives you, whether as a brand or an individual, and boiling down that sentiment into no more than two to five words. Knowing so succinctly what you stand for allows you to stay in alignment with your goals and easily share with others what you’re about.

“Recharge is all about “empowering merchants through recurring commerce.” What are your two to five words?”

ChargeX keynote speaker, Daymond John

After taking it all in, we capped off Tuesday with a happy hour to toast to the end of a successful day of sessions.

Daymond John standing on stage presenting to the audience in front of the ChargeX branding.
Daymond John, Founder and CEO of the FUBU group, and CEO of the Shark Group, spoke passionately about his career and life journey and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Day 3: Fine-tuning & future-proofing 

Our last day at ChargeX was packed with key takeaways on how to grow and scale. After gathering for breakfast, we convened at our first general session of the day to tackle one of the most important questions ecommerce merchants face: What do investors look for in DTC merchants? A panel of longtime investors shared their secrets for what they look for in an investable business and the strategies merchants can use to attract investment talent.

“The pandemic was a huge pull-forward for ecommerce that drove customer acquisition. Now is a great time to focus on retention and raising AOV.”

Aaref Hilaly, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures

Next, we covered how API-first development can empower valuable customer experiences—one of the main priorities of any ecommerce brand. Recharge’s Senior Product Manager Jordan Bluhm shared how to design an API-first foundation for your store through the Recharge API + webhooks.

Wednesday’s breakout sessions ran the gamut, covering everything from owned marketing optimization, going headless in the DTC world, and improving acquisition through subscriptions and payment solutions to optimizing your subscriptions for the holidays and supporting the merchant experience on Recharge. 

Recharge Senior Product Manager Cody De Vos also shared a sneak peek at two updated pages in the customers section of the merchant portal, the new Order Details and Subscription Details sections, which will be rolled out to all merchants later this month.

We closed out our sessions with a conversation with Recharge leaders Oisin O’Connor, Lindy Crea, and Samir Said, who answered audience questions on everything like…

  • What product innovations are the panel excited about?
  • Anything surprising you heard from merchants or partners this week?
  • What is the best way for merchants or partners to bring feature requests or problems to the Recharge team?
  • Who are your mentors?
  • What resonated most with you from Daymond John’s presentation? 

From there, local food trucks arrived for lunch in the beachside Pacific Garden with views of the Santa Monica pier. After that, attendees were able to choose their own adventure with afternoon activities ranging from wine tasting at the Rosenthal Winery, a private tasting of craft beers at Santa Monica Brew Works, or complimentary bike rentals to enjoy all the boardwalk has to offer. 

Two blue bikes with ChargeX branding on their front baskets standing with their kickstands on some grass ready for attendees to ride.
There were a variety of afternoon activities for attendees to choose from including complimentary bike rentals to take a ride by the beach.

We’d like to take a moment here to say a big thank you to our incredible tech and agency sponsors. We appreciate your support so much for helping us throw such a wonderful event.

A variety of logos from the various tech and agency sponsors that supported ChargeX.
Thank you to our incredible tech and agency sponsors for their support.

Save the date: ChargeX 23 in Washington, D.C.!

Can’t wait for next year’s event? You’re in luck—it’s already in the works, taking place in Washington, D.C. from April 26–28, 2023!

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for updates—we can’t wait to see you there!

Special thanks to our friends at ReCharge Payments for their insights on this topic.
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