Ahead of ‘The Science Behind Ecommerce’ run by Awin next week, we caught up with Edwyn McFarlane, the company’s business innovation director, to find out more about the agenda, some of the sessions on offer and what else to look out for on the day.

The Science Behind Ecommerce is the first of Awin’s annual series. First of all, Edwyn, could you tell us where the idea for the event came from? 

Edwyn McFarlane: E-commerce has always prided itself in being measurable and the almost scientific approach we all take when running marketing campaigns is prevalent. We wanted to take the opportunity to unite everyone together and show off just how brilliant e-commerce is.

We want to demonstrate what best-in-class affiliate marketing insight looks like, what you can do with it and how it might change in the future. The affiliate industry has always been a human one and yet this year more than any other, science has most definitely made its mark through increased data insight, dynamic consumer offers and all manner of new technologies. The Science Museum is the perfect place to explore these ideas further and we’re really excited about the content we’re presenting. 

Why do you think it’s important to talk about e-commerce in this context?

EM: I think a lot of us still hold assumptions about e-commerce and it is not until we break down the components of marketing in an almost scientific manner that we can really understand what’s going on, and most importantly, extract as much value as possible from business partnerships.

Who would particularly benefit from attending this event?

EM: Honestly, everyone with an interest in the affiliate industry. There will be a fantastic mix of sector insights for fashion, travel and telco but these sessions will also appeal to wider audiences on the basis that they cover data’s evolution, future gazing and consumer behaviour.

And how does the agenda reflect the current issues and opportunities of the industry?

EM: There’s a growing “to-do” list for e-commerce: layering in artificial intelligence, personalised cashback and discounts, post view tracking and remuneration and, of course, in-app linking and tracking. All of these topics are covered throughout the day which is what makes it so exciting.

In your opinion, what are some of the most unmissable sessions? 

EM: The tech panel is hugely exciting as our moderator is primed to ask the questions that advertisers and publishers really want to know. The fashion session will be interesting for data enthusiasts, and the travel talk will appeal to innovators. We also touch on the human elements of e-commerce with an inspiring keynote and a career talk from a man who has been part of e-commerce’s development for the last decade.

Looking at some of the sessions on the cards in particular, what issues are we likely to hear raised in the keynote from Nathalie Nahai? 

EM: Nathalie will explore the psychological principles that underpin the decisions we make online. We recently conducted an interview with her which is live on our site and you can get a sneak peek on what she’s going to cover there.

The “Consumer Behaviour in a Telco World” session also caught our eye. What can we expect from this session?

EM: The team over at Hitwise will demonstrate some of the capabilities of their powerful new audience tool. You will understand how age, gender and demographic impact shopping behaviour. This is particularly interesting when you overlay that insight with purchasing trends from the telco sector as a whole; you can expect to find a whole new perspective that any web marketer will be intrigued by.