NASHVILLE - NACStech kicked off yesterday with eight educational sessions that offered key insights into the future of mobile, social media, technology project management and strategies for managing complex point of sale systems.
Mobile coupons have been around for years, but many factors have slowed their adoption into the c-store space. TJ Person, CEO and cofounder of Koupon Media Inc., and Evan Brody, senior manager of the digital guest experience at 7-Eleven Inc. €" at their NACStech session "Mobile Couponing" €" showcased new advancements in technology that have opened up opportunities for brands to use mobile coupons at convenience and gas retail. With mobile coupon use expected to reach 300 million users by 2014, retailers can€™t take a wait and see approach. These kinds of mobile promotions will generate $6.5 billion in sales by 2014.
The conversation is already happening in the social media space, whether you€™re in it or not, shared Victoria Cash, marketing manager at Outsite Networks Inc. at the "Integrating Mobile, Social and Loyalty Marketing" session. The key to messaging is consistency and ensuring that you aren€™t sending multiple messages into the social media space €" whether on Facebook, Twitter or Google + €" that will ultimately erode your brand and confuse customers. For retailers who are still getting started with social media, look no further than the basics: Facebook and Twitter. Chances are, she said, you already have a social media champion in your organization who can get you going. At the end of the day, said Cash, social media is all about engaging your customers and selling more stuff.
The POS is where retailers are more similar than they are different, said Dan Grady, consulting principal of C-Core Consulting Group in the "What€™s Next in POS" session. As c-store formats continue to evolve, from megastores to unmanned kiosks, the demands for technology innovations end with the same goal: sales transactions. "The key is integration," said Grady, who also shared insights from a 2006 NACS technology survey, which showed that many retailer tech needs are the same today. There are new additions to the list, but integration is still the overarching goal. "Customers expect an integrated experience," he added, noting that retailers should do their due diligence when choosing a vendor partner with a solid POS software offer.
Today, attendees are looking forward to more educational sessions and the opening of the NACStech expo, where exhibitors are showcasing the latest technology solutions and services for the convenience and fuels retailing industry. Look for more event coverage in tomorrow€™s NACS Daily and follow the conversation on Twitter (#nacstech).