In 2005 we were getting officially acquainted with the e-commerce market through the launch of the first print magazine in Romania dedicated exclusively to e-commerce. It was called Link magazine and its supplement was named suggestively Link 2 eCommerce.
At that time, almost everybody believed we were a bit crazy :-) for choosing to write about online commerce – an insignificant industry in Romania. The only people who believed in us were those directly involved in electronic commerce and they were the ones who decided to support us with our initiaive, although many times we got asked: “still, I don’t get how you guys support yourselves on such a small market. How do you do it?”… The answer is easy to sense: with the help of friends, young and enthusiastic friends such as ourselves, some of them still part of what has become later GPeC.
Television stations and central media didn’t even have journalists dedicated to new media. Out of the few e-commerce news, most of them were about hackers and fraud. Our goal at Link 2 E-Commerce was to present readers with market analyses, success stories of the first Romanian online shops and tips and tricks on how to build an Internet business.
Only 1 year after launching Link 2 eCommerce, we realised that the future of media is online as well as the future of shopping. So, after some nights of having read the market trends in all the European countries and realizing that Internet access in Romania was also becoming cheaper and cheaper, we decided to close our print edition and focus on online and that was also the time when we decided to start an event dedicated to e-commerce.
That’s exactly how GPeC E-Commerce Awards Gala was born in 2006 – an event meant to reward the efforts of the few existing online shops and the few e-commerce companies in order to encourage a market with huge potential that was just at the beginning.
From idea to the first edition of GPeC E-Commerce Awards it was less than 2 weeks. In just 2 weeks we asked online shops to register with the Competition and we managed to prepare the event logistics. Of course, we then had no experience in event organising so it wasn’t the best edition, but it was a good start: we started one hour and a half later, we had many logistical and technical issues but it was the beginning of what is now GPeC.
It was our personal ambition to make every edition better than the previous one, both from the organisation point of view and from the event complexity point of view. We built a set of jury evaluation criteria for online shops registered with the competition and tried to be as transparent as possible right from the start, giving the final jury evaluation reports to the participants.
As the market and the event grew, we felt the need of information and inspiration. More and more participants asked us to organize a conference along with the Awards Gala because there were very few e-commerce resources at the time.
So the 5th edition of the GPeC E-Commerce Awards Gala was the first to be accompanied by a half-day Conference module whose special guest was none other than Bryan Eisenberg. Over 300 participants attended the first GPeC E-Commerce Conference and Bryan was absolutely excited by the audience and its level of knowledge – he never imagined it to be possible in Romania (a country he probably never heard about before).
Ever since then, we’ve been using more and more often the GPeC acronym (short for E-Commerce Awards Gala in Romanian) because the event had developed and no longer meant only an Awards Gala, but also a Conference full of premium Content.
In 2011 we launched GPeC under the concept of “E-Commerce Academy“, the first Romanian event taking place over a 6 months period and being composed of other stand-alone events: Online Shops Competition, Conference, Workshops, Trainings, Awards Gala.
Ever since then we kept the concept every year, we added the GPeC E-Commerce Summer School – the first intensive e-commerce training program in Romania – and we still strive to bring new things every year, to bring premium content and renowned international e-commerce specialists and more and more advantages and tools for online shops registered with the GPeC Online Shops Competition, keeping in mind the participant and market feedback.
Writing Together the History of Romanian E-Commerce, for 13 Years
In 2015 we celebrate the first 10 years of GPeC, and because of you GPeC has become the pole of Romanian E-Commerce, the place where you find everything in e-commerce: your e-commerce one-stop-shop. This is what GPeC means, 10 editions later:
The only online event in Romania happening over a timespan of 8 months every year;
- 2 editions of GPeC Summit every year: Conference, Workshops, E-Commerce Expo, Investment Day, Networking and Party;
- Some of the best and most well-known international speakers, brought by GPeC for the first time in Romania: Bryan Eisenberg, Neil Patel, Chris Goward, Craig Sullivan, Geno Prussakov, Gary R. Beal, Matthew Woodward, Ivan Mazour (Ometria), Simo Ahava (NetBooster), Daniel Dubin (ClickTale), Andre Morys (Conversion Summit), John Ekman (Conversionista!), Caroline Hey (FACT-Finder), Julian Harris (Google UK), Todd ‘Turbo’ Watson (IBM), Manfred Stadler (IBM), Jacob Kildebogaard (WebJuice), Grzegorz Wojcik (Naspers), Jerzy Warchalowski (Google Poland);
- The biggest and most complex Online Shops Competition taking place over a time span of 8 months every year: over 120 jury evaluation criteria, 2 evaluation stages, over 20 jury members, 2 rounds of E-Commerce Consultancy Meetings with the jury in order to get explanations and recommendations about the jury evaluation reports – shortly, specialised consultancy on conversion optimization and sales growth;
- The only serios of intensive e-commerce trainings in Romania – GPeC E-Commerce Summer School (5 days of workshops and networking in the mountains area of Romania with some of the best e-commerce specialists);
- GPeC Romanian E-Commerce Awards Gala – the Awards Gala that has become a landmark for the Romanian E-Commerce industry;
- The biggest e-commerce community: 6000+ online shops representatives, e-commerce specialists, e-commerce companies;
- The launch of the Trusted.ro National Program for Online Shops Certification – the first Romanian trust mark for online shops (launched together with Legi-Internet.ro and the Romanian Association for Consumer Protection);
- The first national e-commerce studies (2008 – requested by ANCOM and 2012 – update);
- The provider of the main market figures, statistics and evolution trends for the Romanian e-commerce market – the figures are issued yearly in January;
- 750+online shops registered and evaluated during the GPeC Online Shops Competition for the last 10 editions;
- 300+ top speakers at GPeC events;
- 5.000+ participants at GPeC events;
- 90% participant positive feedback;
- Last generation technologies brought for the first time in Romania by GPeC in order to evaluate online shops’ performance: Eye-Tracking, NeuroMarketing, UX Tools (ClickTale, Morae, Voice of Customer, Commerce Sciences).
It’s tough to sum up all we’ve done during the first 10 years of GPeC… The important part is that you’ve been here with us, you are part of GPeC and together we write the History of Romanian E-Commerce! We thank You!
The GPeC team
CEO & Founder GPeC and Co-Founder TRUSTED.ro
andrei.radu [at] gpec.ro
Strategy & Marketing Manager GPeC
contact [at] legi-internet.ro
Co-Founder Ecompedia & Community Manager GPeC
liviu.taloi [at] gpec.ro
George Hari Popescu
Communication Specialist & Online Editor GPeC & TRUSTED.ro
george [at] trusted.ro