Coming to a Food Show Near You
By Jeni Moore
August is traditionally a time when vendors, suppliers and grocery store owners and managers come together for food shows. POS Plus is no exception. We will be visiting a number of food and trade shows in the Midwest and we always look forward to speaking to our friends regarding new products, industry updates and answering questions about their point of sale system.
These shows are just one of the ways that helps us keep the pulse of the grocer throughout the year; and knowing the grocer helps us respond to market forces that the industry may be moving towards now or in the future. That kind of contact is valuable and it is why these shows should not and will not go out of style any time soon.
Recently, according to some of the organizers of these events, attendance is down and that is attributed to an easier online ordering process provided by the vendors or suppliers. However, this simplified ordering process, if it has reduced attendance, can lead to a disconnect weakening the most important link in the chain from farmer to consumer. That link is the one person that has daily interaction with the end user of grocery products, the shopper. The impact that each grocer has in the lives of the consumer is very important and reaching out in various venues for information from grocers about how they are dealing with and for their customers helps us address both parties needs more effectively.
Keep in mind that the value we see in the various food shows is not in direct sales to prospective customers that attend as participants. To the contrary, although we demonstrate various systems to folks that stop by our booth, rare is the occasion that a sale follows a food show demonstration. The real value for us is hearing the stories and real world experiences that drive the grocer or owner to our booth in the first place. Through our conversations we gain their insight on trends, problems they are having, the direction of the industry, improving the shopping experience and improving systems. The grocers that attend these shows have inside and firsthand knowledge that we need, so we tend to ask a lot of questions because their answers are so important. These cues that we get from our conversations reflect needs and desires of the market in general.
On the other hand, the attendees know they can express their concerns and ask questions at not one booth or to one point of sale expert, but to several professionals all in one place. This allows them to compare notes, ask more questions and allow a follow up if they find it necessary. This can benefit the supermarket owner greatly. It definitely makes it worthwhile for us to attend, even though the investment rarely pays off in units sold. But, there is a huge payoff in the exchange of ideas.
So the bottom line is that we will see you at the show. Stop by, get a stress ball or other knick-knack and feel free to ask your questions. We will be looking for you at the following food and trade shows:
Winkler’s Fall Trade Show – August 12 and 13 – Owensboro Convention Center
Laurel Fall & Winter Trade Show – August 18 and 19 – Kentucky Convention Center
Central Grocers Holiday Selling Food Show – August 28 – Tinley Park Convention Center