Next week’s OneShow promises to be a knockout experience. Attendee and exhibitor registration are ahead of last year.
This year’s show will showcase even more exciting technologies than last year’s show, which was the most exciting show in more than a decade, thanks to all the video touchscreens, self checkout micro markets, social media applications and other promising features. This year, even more exhibits will feature interactive media, anonymous video analytics and video intense graphics. Some of the top name technology companies in the country, such as Google, Intel and Cisco, will be in attendance.
I’ve spoken to lots of operators planning to attend just to have a chance to hear from colleagues in other, non-competing markets. Operators want to get feedback on how other operators are doing with these new tools. Particularly self checkout micro markets.
It’s amazing how many vending operators have gotten the message that a handful of industry leaders have been hammering for some time: the only way to survive and prosper in the current operating environment is to invest in new tools and learn how to use them. Despite the recession, there is a lot of investment taking place in automatic merchandising. This is an exciting time.
But at the same time, there are operators out there who still don’t understand times are changing. They won’t be at the OneShow. These are companies that insist on ignoring the future and doing things the same old way.
Just a couple of days ago, a vending operator in Greeley, Colo. sent out a press release on PR news wire announcing it is paying clients a commission of 5 percent to 10 percent, minus sales tax. They claim on their Website that customer service is their number one priority. It turns out that this is a company that doesn’t belong to NAMA but desperately needs to. By attending NAMA seminars, they will learn that customer service has more to do with providing a good value to the consumer than a source of revenue to the location. They will also learn that good service mandates generating enough profit to allow for ongoing training of staff, as well as ongoing investment in equipment, technology and employee benefits.
The commoditization of automatic merchandising, on the other hand, is a losing proposition. The industry’s future lies in positive new types of customer experiences. There will always be a need to protect the industry from negative influences, and that’s what associations are for.
This year’s OneShow challenges the true believers to redefine automatic merchandising. The people who “get it” need to take initiative and let the market know that things aren’t the way they were.
See you there.