Innovative Retail Technologies

MAR 2013

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Editor's Letter Editor In Chief Matt Pillar (814) 897-9000, ext. 319 Managing Editor Michael Thiemann (814) 897-9000, ext. 340 Associate Editors Erin Harris (215) 675-1800, ext. 131 Bob Johns (814) 897-9000, ext. 320 Editorial Board Alan Williams, Ahold Tim Fisher, Best Buy Cy Fenton, Books-A-Million Chris Lienesch, Family Christian Stores Gary Merry, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. Connie Fumich, Things Remembered Patrick Dougherty, Wawa Editorial Director Dan Schell (814) 897-9000, ext. 284 Production Manager Dianna Gross (814) 897-9000, ext. 255 Controller Jim Gwinn (814) 897-9000, ext. 210 Circulation Director Melinda Reed-Fadden (814) 897-9000, ext. 208 Marketing Director Carrie Brocious (814) 897-9000, ext. 288 Corporate Office Address 5340 Fryling Road, Suite 300 Erie, PA 16510-4672 President & General Manager Jim Roddy Contact Information Corporate Office PH: (814) 897-9000 Editorial/Production FX: (814) 899-5584 Sales Department FX: (814) 899-5582 Accounting FX: (814) 899-5580 email: website: Reprints, Eprints, and NXTprints The YGS Group (800) 501-9571 Address Corrections: Send to Integrated Solutions For Retailers at above address, or email Please give old and new address, and enclose or reference your latest mailing label. A Case Study In Being A Stranger To Your Customer Unless you like to hunt or fish, you might have missed this story out of Harrisburg, PA. For as many years as I can remember, more than 1,000 exhibitors and 200,000 attendees have made the annual pilgrimage to the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center there to enjoy the Eastern Sports And Outdoors Show (ESOS). It's the largest hunting and fishing show of its kind in the nation. The show has an estimated $80 million economic impact and attracts everyone who's anyone from the world of outdoor retailing and media. This year, less than two weeks before it was to begin, the event was postponed at the hands of a boycott that reached deep into the pocket book of Reed Exhibitions, the event's organizers. A few weeks before show time, Reed Exhibitions reached out to its exhibitors and asked them to leave Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) and high-capacity magazines on their shelves. Those products wouldn't be welcomed at the show. Cabela's, a major show supporter, was the first to balk, pulling out of the show almost immediately. Within seven days, some 356 exhibitors and 48 celebrities and speakers — many of them the biggest in the business — followed suit. Regular attendees joined the chorus. On January 24, with a third of its exhibition space suddenly vanished, Reed Exhibitions fell on its sword and called the whole thing off. Here's where Reed got it wrong. When show organizers came down on the opposite side of its customers' position on the gun debate, they thought they had calculated their losses. They knew they'd lose a few big names — Smith & Wesson and Ruger for sure, among others. Maybe a handful of retailers would balk as well. But the show would go on, or so they thought. What the exhibition company demonstrated clearly is that it doesn't know its customers. It doesn't know that North American outdoorsmen and -women are among the most loyal and lifestyle-devoted consumers in the world. They're also among the most predictable and easily understood — a retail market segmenter's dream. As such, Reed should have — or at least, could have — seen this coming. When sporting goods giant Dick's made the decision to temporarily pull semi-automatic rifles from store shelves in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook last year, the decision met some anticipated pushback from hard-core Second-Amendment supporters. But Dick's, which knows its (much broader) customer base well, did a far better job of calculating the risk it took with the move it made. It knew the small percentage of customers it would alienate would pale in comparison to those who lauded its sensitivity (guns and fishing rods are a corner of its store, not nearly the entirety of the 520,000+ square feet dedicated solely to hunting and fishing pursuits at the ESOS). None of this is to say that Reed Exhibitions wouldn't have made the same decision anyway, were the decision based solely on its conviction. But it wasn't. A week before it announced the decision to keep MSRs out of the Harrisburg event, the exhibition company wrapped production of the SHOT show in Las Vegas, an event it produces for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF is an advocate of the Second Amendment, a pro-MSR organization, and at its show, those maligned and misunderstood MSRs and high-capacity magazines were on full display. No surprise then that the NSSF is looking at some alternative show production assistance for its events moving forward. Publications Agreement No. 40722524 c/o AIM, 7289 Torbram Road, Mississauga, ON L4T 1G8 Matt Pillar Editor In Chief March 2013 ● 5

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