- 2004 -
In 2004 I was writing the first articles and market analysis on the Romanian E-Commerce sector. This seemed to me so fresh and revolutionary (it seemed so WOW to buy things on the Internet and have them delivered at your door!) that I've become passionate about everything that meant online transactions.
I've read thousands of articles on the subject, I have followed the International market trends, I've become reluctant on this field when I saw what happened “Dot-Com Bubble”, but I've regained my optimism witnessing the comeback and the spectacular growth of Amazon shares from 7$ during the crisis to 700$/share afterwards.
The huge Internet adoption rate at global level, the switch of the most important publications from print to digital, the statistics and data that showed annual growth of the E-Commerce in surrounding countries like Poland or Czech Republic – all of these made me believe that the Internet is the future and that E-Commerce will be a vital part of it.
- 2006 -
On a Wednesday morning in May 2006, I came up with the idea of organizing an event dedicated exclusively to the e-commerce market in Romania. I saw it as the representative event of the industry, bringing the whole community together, rewarding the best players and the giving the market a common voice. This is how the eCommerce Awards Gala (Gala Premiilor eCommerce), today GPeC, was born.
From the idea to the implementation, it took only few hours: I published the evaluation criteria and opened the registrations for the Online Store Competition; 35 of the approx. 400 existing digital stores, at that time, welcomed our initiative and entered the Competition.
Having no experience in organizing events, all the preparations took only three weeks, and on the evening of June 8, 2006, the first edition of the eCommerce Awards Gala took place. We had delays, sound and logistics problems, but also the joy of bringing together market representatives for the first time – 140 people from among the main online stores led by eMAG, banks, payment processors, web development agencies.
Marius Ciocan, at that time the owner of FunGift.ro (one of the most popular online stores at the time), best summed up the first edition of the eCommerce Awards Gala: "An ok event, which besides the difficulties of any first edition, managed to bring together all those who matter in this industry and took another step towards maturing of e-commerce market in Romania. Congratulations!".
Unsatisfied with the technical problems we faced at the first edition, I wanted a seemless organisation for the 2007 edition. We allocated more than 1 year for preparations and personally checked every element (from the sound system to the cleanliness of the toilets :)), and the results were as expected: 200 participants who congratulated us for our attention to detail and for an event worthy of representing the e-commerce industry.
- 2010 -
From eCommerce Awards Gala towards GPeC
Starting with the third edition, YOU – dear friend of the eCommerce Awards Gala – have asked us for more than just an Awards Gala, more than just one night a year where we gather together. You wanted relevant information and useful resources on how to develop your business, you wanted to find out the success stories and problems that other business owners faced and, above all, you wanted to learn from the best international specialists
We listened to you, and for the 5th annual edition, in 2010, we organized the first Conference that preceded the Awards Festivities. That's when Bryan Eisenberg - International Expert in Online Marketing and Conversion Optimization - went up the stage and spoke for the first time in Romania.
The many questions from the audience addressed to Bryan made me aware of the acute need for tangible information that was in the e-commerce community in Romania. I then realised that the event that I had originally thought of as an Awards Gala, had to become much more, it had to be a mix of Content, Community, Networking, Competition, Awards.
Since then, with each edition we wanted to bring more and more know-how to the market, and our goal was to become the place where you find everything about E-Commerce and Online Marketing.
Because the Awards Gala had become only one of the components of the whole event, we decided to make the transition from the title "eCommerce Awards Gala" to the acronym "GPeC", which encompass every project we do in the present.
- GPeC today, la 17 years from the start -
Who we are and what we do today, with your input!
Ever since we started, in 2006 until today, every year of GPeC has added up something extra and made us the place where you can find everything important about E-Commerce and Online Marketing. Only you can tell us if we succeeded or not - the fact is that without your precious feedback & input we wouldn't have gotten here!
We are said to be the most important E-Commerce and Online Marketing event in Romania and Eastern Europe – the only one that takes place for 8 months every year (from April to November);
Two major annual events take place under the GPeC umbrella - GPeC SUMMIT in May and GPeC SUMMIT Autumn – both encompassing Conference, Masterclass, E-Commerce Expo and Networking with industry elite (over 1,000 participants for the September 2022 edition);
Over the years, some of the best international specialists in the field have spoken on the GPeC stage, most of them for the first time in Romania: Avinash Kaushik, Nathalie Nahai, Robert Craven, Nir Eyal, Peep Laja, Bryan Eisenberg, Neil Patel, Michael Aagaard, Erin Weigel, Els Aerts, 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 – these are just a few of them;
We supply the most complex E-Commerce Benchmark for the online stores (both Desktop and Mobile) that choose to join the GPeC Proficiency Programme: 30 E-Commerce and Online Marketing experts perform a complex audit for each store registered in the program taking into account over 200 essential criteria for an online business: from Usability, Design, Customer Experience, SEO, Security, Mobile, Social Media, Legal Aspects, to the Quality of Store Services and Customer Loyalty;
For 10 years, we have been organising the GPeC E-Commerce and Online Marketing Summer School - the only series of intensive e-commerce & online marketing and team-building courses in Romania (5 days of applied courses and networking in Brașov county, in the fresh air of the mountain, with the beautiful people from the online industry);
- We award the Annual Romanian E-Commerce Awards during the eCommerce Awards Gala Celebration;
We brought together the largest e-commerce community in Romania (29,000+ top management representatives of online stores and othe companies that provide services for e-commerce & digital marketing);
Together with Legi-Internet.ro and the Romanian Association for Consumer Protection, we launched Trusted.ro – the Trust Mark through which we certify and offer recognition to online stores that comply with the legislation in place and apply the good practices in e-commerce;
For almost 4 years, we have launched the Opinii de Incredere Trusted.ro (Trusted Opinions System) - a feedback system that encourages the publication of reviews by customers of online stores in relation to the quality of their services, to increase trust in online commerce;
We are the provider of the main market data/value, statistics and market trends, publishing The State of the E-Commerce Market at the beginning of each year;
We regularly organise e-commerce and online marketing courses and internal trainings for companies, and since 2017 we started the GPeC Trainings series of events.
You are GPeC!
Should we sum up what GPeC means in figures, it would be like this:
the benchmark event in E-Commerce & Online Marketing
at GPeC events
for the quality of the GPeC events, based on the participants feedback
individually evaluated within GPeC Proficiency Program
both Romanian and international have taken the stage at GPeC
in GPeC Community
Either one of those figures couldn't have been reached without your feedback, without the efforts of GPeC Jury, Mentors & Auditors, without the tens of companies that offer their support, without the media partners that promote us, without the online stores that want to improve constantly their business and to provide the best shopping experiences possible for their clients, without the advice from our friends from the GPeC Community, without the extraordinary team behind GPeC that made an idea turn to reality.
Thank you! You are GPeC!
CEO & Founder GPeC