Our annual ChargeX conference is always a high point in the year, and 2023’s event last week was no exception.
ChargeX Beyond was all about looking ahead and reimagining a more robust future with the best and brightest minds in ecommerce. Hundreds of merchants, partners, and colleagues came together in Washington, D.C. for three days of storytelling, learning, and in-person connection.
Missed the conference this year—or just want to relive the details? You’re in the right place. We’ve got the full event recap, including speaker highlights, industry insights, and details on next year’s event.
Merchants that go beyond
We kicked things off on Wednesday evening with a welcome reception. A highlight of the night was our Merchant Gallery, a museum-style showcase spotlighting eight Recharge merchants whose purpose goes beyond their products.
All of the featured brands—Blueland, Bobbie, Bite, Who Gives a Crap, Early Majority, Blume, Tea Drops, and Bird&Be—are dedicated to making a difference in both their customers’ lives and our society as a whole. And each one embodies the spirit of the beyond event theme—helping us set an intention for the rest of the conference.
Opening remarks & the Recharge product roadmap
After we recounted moments from the previous evening and reconnected with old friends, Thursday’s sessions began with a welcome keynote address. Recharge CEO Oisin O’Connor walked us through the three stages of ecommerce our world has seen thus far: The Start, The Scale, and—our present state—The Mature Phase.
In today’s world, Oisin noted, being a resilient business reigns supreme. Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to streamline their operations, foster loyalty among their customers, and create sustainable practices.
Oisin was joined by Erin Carey, Recharge’s Senior Director of Product & Customer Marketing, who spoke about how brands can incorporate “cornerstone moments” into their shoppers’ journey to increase engagement and retention.
Jordan Bluhm, Recharge’s Principal Product Manager, then walked through the Recharge product roadmap, announcing several major upcoming releases—Bundles, Memberships, and Rewards—that will enable merchants to maximize the value of their customers.
Finally, Wesley Magness, Research & Development at Recharge, walked us through Flows, the glue that holds Bundles, Memberships, Rewards, and Subscriptions together with automations for surprising and delighting customers throughout their journey.
From sign-up to staying power: Strategies for retaining subscribers from Chris George
Next, Chris George, Co-Founder of the acclaimed SubSummit subscription commerce, talked through his strategies for retaining subscribers in today’s market.
These days, Chris noted, many customers don’t feel loyal to brands due to factors like poor product quality, negative customer service experiences, and lack of personalization. The key, he said, is to focus on listening to your customers and what they’re obsessing over—then bring this back to your brand to do something about it. For subscription brands, he observed, the stakes are especially high, as you’re not just competing within your own vertical, but also with other subscription brands.
Insider expertise from merchants & partners
Thursday afternoon brought a wealth of breakout sessions organized around different themes.
On the partner track, Brandon Amoroso, Founder of Electriq Marketing (a DRINKS company) kicked things off on the main stage with a talk on building a retention program for your merchants. Afterward, Adam Pearce and Peter Gardner of Blend Commerce discussed agency and tech partner strategies to help merchants grow LTV and better understand their customers.
On the merchant track, attendees could choose from a multitude of sessions. Topics ranged from psychology-based advertising techniques to strategies for personalizing the buying experience with customer data.
Lending their expertise to each session were industry leaders from PrettyLitter, Bokksu, Vegamour, Blueland, HelloBello, KnoCommerce, Friendbuy, Chelsea & Rachel Co., Open Farm Pet, Absolute Web, Rebuy, Sticky Digital, Wandering Bear Coffee, Primal Kitchen, Uqora, Churn Buster, Alpha Omega, Praella, and Scoutside.
Merchant & Partner award winners
ChargeX 2023 marked our first ever Merchant & Partner Awards, where we honored exceptional members of our ecommerce community. And the awards went to…
Partner Rising Star Award: Vaan Group
Our Partner Rising Star Award recognizes a Recharge partner who is investing in growing their subscription business with Recharge and taking the steps to proactively build their business for both immediate and long-term success. Congratulations to our winner, Vaan Group!
Amplifier Award: Gorgias
The Amplifier Award recognizes the Recharge technology partner whose integration and engagement has added significant value for Recharge merchants. Congratulations to our winner, Gorgias!
Agency Partner of the Year Award: Electriq Marketing
The Agency Partner of the Year is our top partner award, recognizing the Recharge agency partner who led the pack over the last year in terms of engagement, merchant focus and execution. Huge congratulations and appreciation to Electriq Marketing!
Merchant Rising Star Award: ModifyHealth
The Merchant Rising Star Award recognizes a new(er) Recharge merchant who experienced a high level of growth in 2022. Congratulations to ModifyHealth!
Holiday Highlight Award: Clearly Filtered
The Holiday Highlight Award recognizes the Recharge merchant who achieved the most impressive results over Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Congratulations to Clearly Filtered!
Merchant of the Year Award: Crunch Labs
The Merchant of the Year is our top merchant award, recognizing the merchant who exhibited best overall performance in 2022. Congratulations to Crunch Labs!
Beyond Award: Bobbie & Presidio Creative
And finally, The Beyond Award recognizes both a Recharge partner and merchant who implemented a program or project within Recharge that goes above and beyond out-of the-box capabilities. A huge congrats and thank you to Bobbie & Presidio Creative!
To innovation & beyond with Matthew Luhn
An expert at crafting narratives and creating vibrant characters, Matthew Luhn is a Pixar-credited author and storyteller whose credits include the Toy Story films, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Monsters University, Ratatouille, and UP.
His keynote speech focused on how merchants can use storytelling and narrative techniques—like the hero’s journey narrative arc—to center customers, engage audiences, and foster an environment of innovation.
Closing out Day 2
Throughout the conference, guests could stop by our office hours in between sessions to chat one-on-one with Recharge product experts about our Early Adopter Program, Product Roadmap, and any specific product-related questions.
After the sessions, we capped off Thursday with wine and whiskey tastings, followed by a party at D.C.’s stunning LINE Hotel to chat with our new connections over music, food, and drinks.
Minimizing risk & maximizing return through experimentation with Prismfly
We began the final day of the conference with a talk from Prismfly’s Co-Founders and Managing Partners, Yaseen and Yusuf Shurbaji, on how to maximize return and minimize risk through ecommerce experimentation.
They walked us through how to focus on high-impact, low-effort tests, leverage different types of experiments, and contextualize your conversion rate performance with the right supplementary metrics.
Building a brand with individuality & community at the forefront with Jonathan Van Ness
Friday’s keynote with Jonathan Van Ness was one of the most anticipated talks of the conference—and it did not disappoint.
While Jonathan is beloved for his role on Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning reboot series, Queer Eye, his expertise goes far beyond TV. In his talk, he shared insights from his experience launching his acclaimed DTC haircare brand, including his rigorous testing process and priority to help people feel comfortable in their own skin rather than buying into a specific, pre-set beauty standard.
Jonathan also shared valuable insights for growing a successful business with the crowd. When asked what his one piece of advice would be for the audience full of entrepreneurs, he said, “Hire slow, fire fast,” emphasizing the need to invest in your team for long-term, sustainable growth.
From innovation to authenticity: How Sahara Lotti turned Lashify into an international success story
Our final merchant-led talk of the conference featured Lashify’s CEO and Founder Sahari Lotti. During this fireside chat with Oisin, Sahara shared the importance of building a brand that is not only authentic to you, but also helpful to your customers. Centering your customers in this way, she explained, cultivates resilience in your brand, as well as loyalty in your customer base.
Sahara noted the importance of customer feedback to Lashify’s success, and how channeling this feedback into action has been paramount to the brand’s growth.
Join us next year in San Diego!
And that’s a wrap on ChargeX 2023! We’re so grateful to the merchants, partners, and team members that made this year’s event possible. We loved connecting with you in person and hope you had a chance to build valuable connections with fellow industry leaders.
Stay tuned for updates on next year’s conference, which will take place in San Diego. We hope to see you there!