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    Curtain Falls On NACStech 2006

    This year's show boasted the largest show floor and most exhibitors in the event's history.

    NASHVILLE -- NACStech wrapped up another successful run in Music City yesterday, but not before giving attendees a final opportunity to take in the newest technologies available to help the convenience store industry do business better.

    This year's show featured the most exhibitors and largest show floor ever in the event's history," according to NACStech 2006 Chairman Don Stephenson, president of Cary Oil Co. He told Convenience Store News the end result was "excellent."

    Although the final attendance count won’t be released until next week, Stephenson said, "The early reports are quite strong. We heard the floor traffic was great."

    In addition to the exhibits, the three-day event featured networking opportunities and a host of educational workshops on such diverse topics as the basics of automation, payment methods, loyalty programs, price optimization and technology for independent operators.

    During Wednesday’s "Store Clustering" session, Patti Safford, IT manager of Ricker Oil Co., spoke of the immediate benefits the 34-store chain received since beginning to cluster stores this year. By adding Pinnacle's EPM product, she said they have been able to drill down into the transactional data by timeframe, promotion period, cashier, category or vendor. They use the findings to organize stores into meaningful groups to improve merchandising, marketing and loss prevention efforts and other areas.

    "I felt like our data was trapped before and, now, it's like someone has given us the key," Safford said. "This was the missing link. Just a few months in, this has had the single greatest impact to our company short of scanning."

    NACStech 2006 culminated, rather fittingly, by focusing on the future. Closing general session speaker Dan Hopping, talking about emerging trends in retail, said in the next five years, shopping is going to take a big turn, more so than it has in the past 25 years. The reason: the consumer is changing.

    With their worlds filled with Internet blogs, iPods and wireless mobility -- and new capabilities on the horizon, such as intuitive selling and an Internet 1,000 times faster than the current one -- young consumers are going to demand very different things.

    "These young kids are running around being database managers," he said, referring to iPods. "Their devices have more gigabits than it took to run a corporation years ago."

    When creating the "store of the future," Hopping advised attendees to remember, "Retail success is not about technology, but about making good decisions."

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