Road Report: RetailNOW 2017 Recap in 9 Photos

1. This Organization Is Thriving

Photo via ScanSource POS & Barcode

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.

2. Stats On The Industry

  • There were more than 2,100 attendees at this year’s show.
  • ~10% of attendees are new members.
  • 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.

3. A Focus On Data Security

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.

4. Garcia Talks Negotiation

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:

  • “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.”

5. Shark Tank

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.

6. Building a Reseller Channel

A panel that included three software developers (Vend, Xero, TouchBistro) spoke on Tuesday morning about targeting SMB merchants. A room full of resellers was wondering how they can make money selling SaaS-based products, which are typically sold at a much lower price point than the traditional software packages. Interesting dilemma. SaaS is the future. It’s what customers want. How can ISVs price their SaaS product competitively and yet still have resellers interested in selling it if they don’t stand to make much money?

7. Socialnomics’ Erik Qualman Keynote

Author and speaker Erik Qualman delivered a heck of a keynote full of great concepts pertaining to conducting a business in today’s environment. Here are some quotes:

  • “Technology changes every second, but human nature does not.”
  • “When something is working with your marketing, are you nimble enough to capitalize?”
  • “Our brains can’t multitask. When we try to multitask, our IQ drops 10 points (equivalent to not sleeping for 36 hours).”
  • “If you aren’t getting push-back, you aren’t pioneering.”
  • “Your customers don’t like you because you’re perfect, they like you because you’re human.”

8. RSPA Vendor of Excellence Awards

Each year, the RSPA gives awards to its vendor members. Votes are cast by the members of the organization. This year, the Gold winner in the software category was FuturePOS. The silver winner was NCC, and the bronze winner was MobileBytes. Congrats to these ISVs for their accomplishments!

9. Mark Fraker Inspires

BlueStar’s Mark Fraker became the new Chairman of the RSPA Board. In this speech to the RSPA members, he paints a great picture of how the parts of this ecosystem depend on one another. Fraker is a big believer in the power and value of software developers as part of the ecosystem. This great speech is definitely worth your time to watch.

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Mike Monocello
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.