Awin’s first ever Science Behind Ecommerce event turned South Kensington’s Science Museum into a hub for key members of the digital and performance advertising industry on Wednesday (June 14), in a day geared around marketing innovation and the future of the affiliate channel.

With over 300 guests in attendance from the likes of publishers, brands and agencies – including Monotote, Uniqodo, NMPi and Button – the museum’s grand IMAX theatre played host to a forward-thinking agenda, while the conference floor was home to a number of Awin-lead “Clinics”, offering advice on how to maximise programme revenue, international expansion and more.

Following opening remarks by the affiliate network’s UK country manager, Ian Charlesworth, web psychologist Nathalie Nahai took to the floor for the event’s keynote speech, exploring the “digital application of behavioural science”, and why we (consumers) make the decisions we do when buying online.

It was a fascinating and unique insight into consumer behaviour; Nahai shared insider tips on how marketers can gain trust among their audiences and how “cognitive load” can affect purchase decisions –  a fitting start to a day that repeatedly circled back to a growing need to put customers and their experience at the forefront of everything marketers do.

It’s a testament to the importance of putting consumer experience first that Mike Van Geldorp (CEO of Monotote) and Michael Jaconi (CEO of Button) – two companies bringing exciting new and disruptive dynamics to the world of affiliate innovation – were intent to devote a session to the topic.

Moderated by Awin’s head of publisher services, Paul Stewart, the two dived into the technical aspects of their pioneering products, taking questions on universal shopping cart technology.

Later, two of affiliate’s biggest sectors were taken on in separate Awin-led sessions. Jessica Thomas, Awin senior team leader, set out to question existing commission benchmarks of new and existing customers in the fashion industry and whether new metrics could change perceptions and strategy, summing things up with the statement, “‘Forget basic KPIs such as sales volume and devices and ask yourself where you get the most value.’”

Meanwhile, Awin’s Rob Davidson looked forward at travel in 2020; on brand with the Science-devoted venue, he highlighted the impact of up and coming technologies on the industry, highlighting the new potential of VR for customers to preview holiday destinations, as well as the use of robotic “butlers” by Starwood Hotels.

Self-confessed “data geek” Emma Moorman (Hitwise) helped us on the way to understanding what prompts consumers to buy and what we can learn about purchase behaviour from segmented search data, citing a growing tech-savvy portion of sim-only searchers, and ultimately demonstrating how this data points to a wider decline in contract users. The final session of the day, it was sure to be a valuable snippet for the telcos in attendance.

Ending the hot summer’s afternoon with cold drinks and networking, the venue proved to be a fitting home for a day focused on the advancement of the industry for the benefit of all involved. As evidenced by the expertise and insight on display in the IMAX theatre, and by the new technologies touted by the companies in attendance, Science Behind Ecommerce was proof that performance marketing continues to thrive and innovate.

PerformanceIN had the opportunity to speak to leaders from  Awin, Button, Monotote, Uniqodo and NMPi; you can watch the interviews again over on our Facebook Page.