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8 things you need to know about Merch '12

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Next week, online merchandising professionals from around the country will be heading to San Diego to soak up the California sunshine while they learn from and mingle with some of the best in the business at the Online Merchandising Workshop.

This show is known for its tactical focus, friendly, intimate atmosphere, practical takeaways, energetic attendees—and, of course, its fantastic California location. For those of you making the trip, here's what you need to know.

1. Get the mobile app now! You can go ahead and start planning out your days at the Workshop with the mobile app (for Apple and Android devices), which lets you access all the sessions, speakers and networking events, gives you a map of the grounds, and lots more. Take a couple of minutes to play with it now, and you'll hit the ground running at the show. Insider tip: You can take notes in the app and email them to yourself—a great feature, especially for tablet users.

2. Tweet with us! We're already talking about the workshop on Twitter. Just follow @shoporg, and chime in with the #merch12 hashtag. We'll be posting photos and blog posts on our Facebook page, too.

3. Get to know the agenda and speakers you'll be meeting—especially some of our most recently added content, like our keynote: Merging Content and Commerce: A Digital Deep Dive with Kate Spade New York with Johanna Murphy, VP of eCommerce, and Kristina DiMatteo, Digital Marketing Manager at Kate Spade New York; and the 25-minute session: Crate and Barrel User-Centered Product and Home Page Website Redesigns with Mary Schueler, Senior Merchandising Manager and Heather Brandner, eCommerce Manager of Merchandising Projects at Crate and Barrel.

4. Come to the poolside Opening Night Reception on Monday to enjoy the cocktails, great food and fabulous networking. You'll need to pick up your badge at the La Costa Del Sol Ballroom (where the sessions will also be held) before you head up to the Edge Pool for the reception. Insider tip: It's a short, lovely stroll up to the Edge Pool, but you can hop on a golf cart shuttle if you need to.

5. There are still a few slots open for the Doctor is In one-on-one website critiques. Online registration is now closed, but you can sign up at the show. Insider tip: Go to the Dr. is In room, Las Palmas 1 & 2, at 1 p.m. on Tuesday to see if you can secure a spot.

6. The La Costa Resort and Spa is about 30 minutes from the San Diego International Airport. Insider tip: You can reserve a shuttle in advance here.

7. The weather is forecast to be California-perfect in the mid 70s. The resort is beautiful, but expansive. Bring comfortable shoes so you can enjoy the short walks from your rooms to the sessions and networking events.

8. Read the blog posts. Check out our recent posts related to the event, and follow the blog during and after the conference for show coverage.

We'll see you in California!