We’ve always been believers in the power of networking – and the importance of seeing where the retail industry is headed at any given point in time. Recently, we’ve attended the C-Store Forum in the Algarve and the National Convenience Show in Birmingham as part of our commitment to keeping our ear very firmly to the ground.
As some of you will know, the C-Store Forum involves no exhibition element, but is designed as a ‘speed dating’ format, where retailers and suppliers get to spend 20-minute bursts talking to each other – not to mention the opportunity to network in a social setting outside of ‘office hours’.
The Forum has always been a great event to attend, but the quality of customers this year seemed to have moved up a notch, and we enjoyed highly interesting discussions with a range of existing customers and new prospects alike.
The C-Store Forum is very much a pre-sales event rather than an opportunity to make a sale on the spot, but that said, it’s a hugely important opportunity to build a sales pipeline.
One of the hot conversations that cropped up time and again during our speed dating and networking sessions was the growing move away from a ‘till culture’, moving the sales nerve centre out onto the shop floor via tablet and mobile technology.
And as you’d expect, there was quite a lot of conversation around the possibilities provided by cloud computing. In this regard, the fact that we offer a complete solution – not just POS – earned us some very interested queries and conversations.
There was also quite an extensive level of discussion around the topic of self-checkout, and it seems clearer than ever that millennials simply don’t want to talk to people during their shopping journey.
The NCS in Birmingham
The weather in Birmingham may not have been quite as balmy as the Algarve, but in every other respect, it was a highly interesting event – especially so as it also encompassed The Forecourt Show.
Again, this wasn’t an occasion for making direct sales, but rather about flying the flag and showing off our capabilities through our Stand in the Convenience Area.
Some 600 brands were represented at the Show, and a large and diverse panel of industry experts had no shortage of listeners – and debate – during the 3-day event. On the floor, there were some fantastic ideas for retailers that could impact directly on the bottom line.
Without doubt, this is a show that’s getting better each year, and like the C-Store Forum, it’s one that we’ll be very definitely putting into our diary for 2016.
If you’d like more information on either of these events – or if you’re planning on putting them on your own promotional calendar – you can find out more at the National Convenience Show and CSforum websites