There’s just a few weeks to go before the NRF 101st Annual Convention & EXPO, and with tens of thousands of attendees, hundreds of speakers, and a keynote from President Bill Clinton, I’m starting to see why the convention is nicknamed “Retail’s BIG Show.”
Part of the BIGness extends to including speakers and attendees from mega-retailers, but the retail industry is not all big names, and neither is Retail’s BIG Show. The top 100 retailers get a lot of attention, but most retailers are small business owners. In fact, more than 95% of retailers in the United States operate just one location.
Independents’ Day, sponsored by Dell and held this year on January 16, provides a full day of programming specifically for these independent retailers. And best of all, retailers can attend for free.
Dave Ratner, owner of Dave’s Soda & Pet City in Agawam, Mass, has been a part of the Independents’ Day program since its inception. He said the BIG Show is a great learning opportunity.
“A mistake many small businesspeople make is that we think the NRF show is just for the big boys, but the NRF does a really good job of having stuff for us,” Ratner said. “Last year, I went to different sessions and learned how to fine tune some ideas, and I got a couple of new ideas for how to market my business. And, not only that, but walking the show floor is great. For a little guy, you would think it would be intimidating because you have all the big vendors, but we found some management tools that work with small businesses as well.”
The EXPO hall gives retailers free access to more than 400+ solution providers, many of which support small- to mid-sized businesses. With technology playing such crucial role in driving the retail industry, even retailers on limited budgets can’t be left behind.
Dell, sponsor of Independents’ Day, thinks that it’s important to bring independent retailers together at Retail’s BIG Show.
“As a company rooted in the spirit of the entrepreneur, at Dell, we understand the power small business retailers hold in fueling the economy and reinvigorating their communities,” said John Yelland, Director, Global SMB Retail Solutions, Dell. “Dell is proud to be the exclusive sponsor of NRF Independents’ Day as technology is a key enabler of helping these incredible businesses grow and thrive.”
Independents’ Day programs include sessions presented by retailers such as Ratner, Linda Hundt of Sweetie-licious Bakery Café, Sarah Endline of Sweetriot, and Allan Reagan of Flix Brewhouse. Other speakers include professionals from KAB Marketing and the Montana, Louisiana and Massachusetts retail associations.
Ratner says he goes to the show each year and never fails to come home with ideas about how to run his business better.
“My advice to the independent businessperson is don’t be intimidated,” Ratner said. “Don’t think the show is just for the Macy’s and the Walmarts of the world because there’s tons of stuff there for us.”
For more information about Retail’s BIG Show and Independents’ Day, visit www.nrf.com/annual12.