As predicted, last week’s National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) OneShow was the most dynamic gathering for automatic merchandising in many years. Some credit the excellent turnout to the show’s move to Las Vegas. But I think the bigger reason is more operators are realizing they need to get on board with the technology revolution that is reshaping their industry and the world at large.
Many operators came to see the interactive media that has emerged on all types of vending machines. They also came to see new products in every product and equipment category. Not that there was any shortage of business management education, which is always important.
NAMA deserves credit for organizing such a powerful event. The education sessions were designed to address every key issue facing operators.
The trade show was just the right size for the number of exhibits. Attendees had enough room to move comfortably among the exhibits and converse with suppliers. Networking events allowed attendees to share notes.
The only challenge was in deciding which seminar to attend where there were simultaneous presentations. At such an event, it pays to bring more than one person.
One of the best attended sessions was the micro market panel. Today’s VendingMarketWatch carries a summary of this session. Micro markets are the rage today among operators. But being new, there are plenty of questions about them. The session did not disappoint.
The most important session in my opinion was “Consumer Engagement Through Social Media,” summarized in yesterday’s VendingMarketWatch. The Coca-Cola Co. has done a huge amount of research on social media, research it is willing to share with vending operators. Last week’s presentation included highlights of this research.
The presenters at this session, which included a Google representative, clarified the way in which smart phones are making social media a more powerful sales and marketing tool. They made it clear that social media will play a big role in vending.
The presentation was right on.
Today’s VendingMarketWatch reports that a new survey of technologists and social scientists holds that “smart” devices will mostly replace cash and credit cards by 2020. That’s eight years from now.
Are you planning to still be in business by then?
The automatic merchandising industry is destined to become part of a “smarter” retail landscape, and that future is coming faster all the time.
Last week’s OneShow gave a glimpse of that future.