By Mike Monocello, chief editor
With RetailNOW 2010 right around the corner, you might be wondering what this year's event will provide attendees. As a prelude to the conference, I had an opportunity to sit down with RSPA President Joe Finizio and get the inside scoop on this year's RetailNOW.
BSM: What's new and exciting at this year's RetailNOW?
Finizio: If resellers are spending their valuable time to attend our show every year, we need to step it up so each attendee gets an ROI. Therefore, even though we're at the same venue as last year, we first wanted make sure the venue was optimized. This year, 99% of the show is on one floor so attendees can get to the education sessions, show flow, meetings, etc. without running around wearing themselves out.
Additionally, we optimized the schedule so that education, show time, and dealer meetings aren't crashing into one another. Simply, everything is scheduled to allow you to partake in all aspects of RetailNOW without having to sacrifice something else. Concerning the networking opportunities, we put the lunch and closing party on the show floor and we'll have some creative ways to promote networking during those times.
BSM: What's new from an education perspective?
Finizio: Because Mandalay Bay hosts many events throughout the year, we asked them what other shows are doing to draw people in and "wow" their attendees. Mandalay Bay said it's the education and networking events. Even though our education gets better every year, we wanted to kick it up a notch. We spent a lot of time creating an education schedule that was meaty and would give everyone information that would help their business and help them personally. We want attendees to learn how to maximize today's technologies to make more money. As a dealer, are you bringing in security, digital signage, and other technologies to maximize your sales opportunities? Are you prepared for cloud computing and SaaS and the world transitions from a client-server model to SaaS and mobile computing? This show can help.
Simply, we want people to leave Vegas feeling that, between the products they saw on the show floor (which sold out more than a month ago) and the education, they have new ideas and methods to make some money in the next 12 months.
Editor's Note: One example of the great education is an industry leader panel discussion. Moderated by Business Solutions' President Jim Roddy, panelists include Mike Baur (ScanSource), Ray Carlin (HP), Ed Chapel (MICROS), Steve Cuntz (BlueStar), Ted Clark (IBM), John Soumbasakis (Ingram Micro) and Mike Webster (NCR). The purpose of the discussion is to have industry leaders share their visions of where our industry is heading. As chief editor of BSM, I attend a lot of conferences throughout the year. This has to be one of the more impressive panels assembled. Assuming you've been in the POS business for a while, when's the last time you remember seeing these companies sharing the same stage?
Another education session worth highlighting is "Real Life PCI." While there've been a lot of discussions on PCI, this one will stand apart as the panel will discuss what's really going on in the payments industry and how your merchant customers are affected. Panelists include myself Dave Matthews (NRA), Bob Russo (PCI-SSC), Gray Taylor (NACS), and Carla Yarbrough (Spanky's Seafood Grill & Bar – you might remember Carla from the RSPA's popular PCI video).
BSM: How can those attending make the best of the show?
Finizio: With this show, we tried to lay out a full buffet. Between the education, show floor, and networking, it's all there for people to take in. It's up to the attendee to take advantage and get involved. Don't just "go to the show." Go to everything. Don't just sit at the bar. Talk to every vendor at the show because you never know what's new or where your next revenue-creating opportunity could lie.