The 2016 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) trade show was recently held in Atlanta, Georgia at the World Convention Center. The facility was the perfect size to house a record breaking number of attendees (more than 23,000) and over 1,200 exhibitors. When entering the trade show floor, high ceilings held large, heavy signs to accentuate each booth name. One side of the massive hall had different colored lights flaring to the beat of electronic music streaming from the energy drink and beer booths. The other side was quieter but filled with interesting and new technology. From beautifully lit dispensers, flapping car wash machines and lights from digital displays, this side of the room rang with innovation.
The first day of NACS was the busiest and most awaited. Before the doors opened at 9:00 a.m., vendors ensured every piece of literature and freebie were ready for distribution, booths were organized and staff mentally prepared.
As soon as the doors opened to attendees at 11:30 a.m., the Gilbarco booth was crowded. Salespeople greeted and chatted with NACS attendees for several hours. The movement was never-ending as salespeople moved customers from one product to the next. Retailers were excited to see demos of Gilbarco’s latest offerings, like Insite 360, EMV retrofit kits, Express Ordering, and Impulse.
If you studied the booth through the day, you would have noticed the diverse crowds humming around each of Gilbarco’s products. Whether it was to examine an Encore dispenser, play with Applause TV, test out FlexPay products, review Passport or demo one of Gilbarco’s upselling solutions, retailers were filled with curiosity and interest.
After 5:30 p.m., Gilbarco hosted a popular distributor party at the Georgia Aquarium. Over 600 people attended to network while being surrounded by whale sharks and belugas. Additionally, the Georgia Aquarium exhibits were open to peruse. In the main room, light music provided the background for great conversation, with blue and purple lights skimming the ceiling to create a relaxing atmosphere. It was a great way to end a tiring yet valuable day for all involved.
The second day of NACS was a mirror of the first. Freebies were refreshed, handouts restocked and booths were swiped clean. Again, the Gilbarco booth was well attended through the day. After hundreds of conversations, press conferences, interviews and meetings, the day ended at 5:30 p.m. The third day, although less active, still yielded good conversations and ended at 1:30 p.m. – while some salespeople were still engaged in conversations.
C-stores and retailers gained valuable knowledge on the following:
- Learned about what profitable products/services can be offered in their business
- Gained information on how technology can improve business operations – POS, dispensers, hardware etc.
- Explored upselling solutions inside the store and the forecourt
- Reviewed EMV technology options
- Discovered up-and-coming vendors
- And much, much more!
The next NACS adventure will be in Chicago for 2017. However, retailers will also have a chance to hear about the latest happenings in the industry, and the latest evolutions of technologies and solutions, at Gilbarco’s annual Retail Technology Conference (RTC) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in May, 2017. Don't forget to sign up for updates about Gilbarco's RTC!