Road Report: What You’re Missing at RSPA RetailNOW 2017

Here's what ISVs missed at day 1 of RetailNOW 2017.

RSPA RetailNOW 2017 kicked off today at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. For those who don’t know, this is the premier show for any tech company (software developer, reseller, hardware vendor, payment company, or distributor) that focuses on retail, hospitality, and grocery.

Having been to the show almost every year for the past decade, I was eager to see what changes the RSPA would incorporate. More specifically, I wanted to see if the RSPA was keeping in step with the many changes and trends affecting this group of companies. The short answer is, yes, the RSPA is keeping up just fine.

Following are some bullet points from my notebook today:

More than 2,100 attendees at this year’s show. An RSPA staff member told me that ~10% are new members. This is great! Walking among the new member reception Sunday night, I was struck by the many new application developers focused on retail, loyalty, engagement, and more. Having new software companies focused on the most significant trends breathes new life into the organization and help the entire ecosystem rise to new levels.

RSPA mission is to connect the POS (point of sale) ecosystem. Software developers who care about retail need to get involved in this organization. Education, member benefits, and networking opportunities more than make up for the very low cost of membership.

Some stats shared during the opening keynote are compelling:

  • Cloud software spending among retailers has increased more than 70% in the last 2 years.
  • Cloud software accounts for 34% of all software spend in retail.
  • The use of mobile POS leads to a 76% revenue increase in resorts.
  • Retailers using mobile POS experience sales increase percentages 92% higher than those who don’t.

A huge trend in IT is security. It’s even more important when you add in payment processing. Because there’s such a need for security knowledge and subject-matter expertise, the RSPA just added as a member benefit, a data security adviser. Nathan Sweaney of SecureIdeas is now an on-call resource for members who need advice on security best practices, liability, encryption, etc.

Negotiation expert Bill Garcia took the stage for a keynote. Garcia has graced the RSPA stage a few times over the past 10 years. He always provides great education on how to negotiate which is useful in both one’s business and personal life. You can find great Garcia videos on Youtube if you’re interested in hearing some of his stuff. However, a couple of my favorite quotes from him today:

  • “Defend your value!”
  • “Expect more, get more. Expect less, get less.”
  • “Henry Ford said, ‘Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right’.”
  • “Expectation impacts outcome.”
  • “We teach people how to treat us.”

Each year at this event, the members vote in new members of the RSPA board. I was excited to see some ISVs win. Jeremy Julian, COO at Custom Business Solutions, a reseller/ISV was voted in, as was Rick Malthanar, director of business development, North America at Como. Peter Storer, VP of client operations at Avero was re-elected to the board. Having software developers on the board ensures that this industry organization is accounting for the needs of its ISV members.

The RSPA’s Strategic Technology Solutions committee hosted a Shark Tank-like session today, which allowed four up-and-coming app developers to get on stage and pitch their solutions to the crowd. The panel asked follow up questions and then the audience voted for the best solution. In my opinion, all four ISVs were winners. First, they all had great solutions that addressed common pain points felt by retailers and restaurateurs today. Second, these companies were able to get on stage for 5-10 minutes each and pitch their products to a room full of potential resellers and distribution partners — for free. Great publicity for them and great for the overall membership to see some cutting-edge solutions. Participating ISVs were Como (customer engagement/loyalty), AfterWords (dynamic customer surveys), Shopic (self-service checkout via your own mobile phone), and TruRating (customer survey with retailer data analytics). They all did an amazing job, but ultimately, TruRating was awarded the prize.

With day 1 behind me, I’m eager for tomorrow’s education. Breakout topics I’m excited about include “How Software is Radically Reshaping Businesses,” “The Ins and Outs of Payment Facilitation,” and “Preparing to Sell Your Business.” 

Datacap Systems
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The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.