In 2004 I was writing my first articles and market analysis regarding the Romanian electronic commerce. At the time, the domain was still fresh and revolutionary (how mind-blowing it is to buy online and have the products delivered to your house!), that I became obsessed with everything that has to do with online trading.
I read thousands of articles on the topic, followed international market trends, became circumspect to the field when I read what happened to the “Dot-Com Bubble“, but I regained my optimism seeing the return and spectacular rise of Amazon from $7 during the crisis to $700 per share thereafter.
The huge adoption rate of the Internet at a global scale, the online migration of the printed press, the statistics showing annual increases in e-commerce in surrounding countries such as Poland or the Czech Republic – all made me think that the Internet is the future, and E- Commerce will be an essential part of it.
On a May 2006 Wednesday morning, I came up with the idea of organizing an event exclusively dedicated to the e-commerce market in Romania. I envisioned an industry representative event to give a common voice to the market, bring together the entire community and award the best local players. That’s how the eCommerce Awards Gala was born. Today GPeC.
It only took a few hours from idea to implementation: we published the evaluation criteria and launched the registrations for the Online Shops Competition. 35 of the approx. 400 e-shops existing at that time welcomed our initiative and entered the Competition.
Without any experience in event organizing, all preparations lasted only three weeks. On the evening of June 8, 2006, the first edition of the eCommerce Awards Gala was held. There were delays in the schedule, sonic and logistics problems, but we also experienced the joy of bringing together the industry representatives for the first time ever – 140 participants representing the major online stores starting with eMAG, banks, payment processors, web development agencies and so on.
Marius Ciocan, the owner of FunGift.ro (one of the most respected online stores at the time), summarizes best the first edition of the eCommerce Awards Gala: “The event was OK. Apart from the natural pain of delivering a first edition, GPeC managed to bring together all those who matter in this industry and made a step towards maturing e-commerce in Romania. Congratulations!”.
Unhappy with the technical issues we faced at the first edition, I wanted an exemplary organization for the 2007 edition. We spent over 1 year training and personally checked everything (from sound to toilets :)) and the results came as expected: 200 participants who congratulated us for our attention to detail and for a worthy event representing the e-commerce industry.
The Transition From the Awards Gala to GPeC
Starting with the third edition, you – dear friend of the eCommerce Awards Gala – have asked for more than just an Awards Gala, more than just one evening per year in which we gather. You wished for relevant information and helpful resources on how to grow your business. You wanted to learn about success stories and what problems other business owners have faced. And you mostly wanted to learn from the best international experts.
We listened, so in 2010, for the 5th GPeC annual edition we organized the first Conference to accompany the Awards Ceremony. It was then that Bryan Eisenberg – International Online Marketing and Conversion Optimization Expert took up the stage to deliver his keynote speech for the first time in Romania.
The audience addressed Bryan dozens of questions, which made us realize the deep need for relevant know-how among the Romanian e-commerce community. It was then when we realized that the event I had originally thought of as an Awards Gala, had to become much more. It was supposed to be a mix of Content, Community, Networking, Competition and Awards.
Ever since, with every new edition we wanted to contribute more to the e-commerce market. Our goal was and remains to be the number one place where you found everything about E-Commerce and Online Marketing.
Since the Awards Ceremony has only become one of the components of the whole event, we decided to make the transition from “eCommerce Awards Gala” to the “GPeC” acronym (short for E-Commerce Awards Gala in Romanian). Everything we do today runs under the GPeC umbrella.
GPeC Today, 14 Years Later
Starting from the beginning, in 2006, up until today, GPeC has brought with every new year something more, something extra in its quest to become the e-commerce one-stop-shop, the place where you find everything important about E-Commerce and Online Marketing. You and only you can tell us whether we made it or not – without your precious feedback we would not be here!
This is GPeC today!
- We are believed to be the most important E-Commerce and Online Marketing event in Romania and Eastern Europe – the only one that runs for 8 months each year (from April to November);
- Under the GPeC umbrella we organize two annual GPeC SUMMIT editions (in May and November) – Conference, Masterclasses, E-Commerce Expo and Networking with the industry elite (over 1.000 participants attended the November 2018edition);
- Over the years, some of the best international experts in the field have keynoted on the GPeC SUMMIT stage, most of them for the first time in Romania: Nir Eyal, Peep Laja, Bryan Eisenberg, Neil Patel, Brian McBride, David Meerman Scott, Chris Goward, Craig Sullivan, Oli Gardner, Larry Kim, Karl Gilis, Ross Simmonds, Brad Geddes, Brian Dean, Brian Massey, Talia Wolf, David Darmanin, Geno Prussakov, Alex Langshur, Daniel Waisberg, Marie Polli, Viljo Vabrit, Matthew Woodward, Ivan Mazour, Simo Ahava, Daniel Dubin, Andre Morys, John Ekman, Julian Harris, Amy Harrison, Todd ‘Turbo’ Watson, Manfred Stadler, Jacob Kildebogaard – are only a few of them;
- We provide the most detailed website audit (both for Desktop and for Mobile) for online shops choosing to enter the GPeC Competition: over 25 E-Commerce and Online Marketing experts evaluate each website following over 200 criteria essential for an online business: from Usability, Design, Customer Experience, SEO, Security, Mobile, Social Media, Legal Aspects, to the quality of the Shop’s Services and Customer Loyalty;
- For 9 years, we organize the GPeC E-Commerce Summer School – the only series of intensive e-commerce trainings and team-building in Romania (5 days of practical workshops and networking in the mountains area of Brașov County, together with some of the most beautiful people in online);
- Every year we give the Awards of the Romanian E-Commerce Industry at the eCommerce Awards Gala;
- We have gathered the largest e-commerce community in Romania (25.000+ online shops top management representatives, e-commerce specialists and e-commerce companies);
- Together with Legi-Internet.ro and the Romanian Association for Consumer Protection, we launched Trusted.ro National Program for Online Shops Certification – the first Romanian trust mark for online shops certifying legal and e-commerce good practices compliance;
- Almost 3 years ago we launched the Trusted Opinions feedback program powered by Trusted.ro which encourages the online shops’ customers to leave their reviews in relation to the quality of the shops’ services, in order to increase confidence in e-commerce;
- We are the provider of the main market figures, statistics and evolution trends for the Romanian e-commerce market, and we publish the Official Romanian E-Commerce Market Report at the beginning of each year;
- We offer Premium Content and useful e-commerce and online marketing resources on our blog and in social media, and we are active in the Facebook Group Comerț Electronic run by Ecompedia.ro;
- We regularly organize e-commerce and online marketing courses and internal company trainings. In 2017 we have launched the GPeC Trainings event series.
GPeC Is You
If we were to summarize what GPeC means in a few figures, it would look like this:
- 14 years since we are considered the E-Commerce and Online Marketing reference event;
- Over 1,100 online shops evaluated in the GPeC Competition;
- 500+ top Romanian and international speakers keynoting at GPeC events;
- Over 12,500 participants attending GPeC events;
- 4,9/5 quality rating for the GPeC events, according to participants feedback;
- 25.000+ members forming the GPeC Community.
None of these figures would have been achieved without your feedback, without the GPeC Jury’s efforts, without the companies that support us every year in our approach, without our bloggers and media partners, without the online shops that wish to improve and provide consumers with better shopping experiences, without our GPeC Friends’s advice, without the extraordinary team behind GPeC that made one idea come true!
Thank you! GPeC is you!
CEO & Founder GPeC
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