First off, excited to be here and NorthStar’s first employee guest contributor!
Last week was a whirlwind! And as we start this week off on a high note, I wanted to take the time to recap last week. Last week, NorthStar attended the RSPA RetailNOW 2019 show in San Antonio, Texas, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. After weeks of preparation, we assembled our team on Sunday, packed our bags, flew or drove into town and got down to work.
The team arrived for setup and the show floor was an unbelievable place to be. Everywhere we looked, teams were rolling in materials, building platforms and working hard to prepare their booths for the hundreds of attendees expected over the next two days. Our NorthStar Team was no exception. Booth #115 was set up to its full potential, complete with banner, multiple iPad terminals and Windows-based hardware to display NorthStar in POS, Guest Display, Kiosk and Mobile platform modes.
Day 1 of the RetailNOW Show always has an amazing buzz about it. As a team, we attended the General Session hosted by the President and CEO of RSPA, John Kirk, who is dedicated to motivating top industry leaders and companies to be their best. The general session is always a great kick-off to the show with high energy and a good chance to see some familiar faces from the past years.
After the keynote presentation and multiple educational sessions, it was time to hit the show floor. Over the course of two open floor sessions spanning Monday and Tuesday, our booth received a steady flow of guests. Current resellers, valued vendors and potential partners interested in the latest restaurant technology stopped by to learn all about NorthStar and its features.
We were fortunate to be visited by some of our top resellers and partners, who explained why they continue to work with NorthStar and our parent company Custom Business Solutions. It is always refreshing to get that face-to-face time with partners outside the four walls of the office. It is invaluable to the success of our company and the path we are paving. In addition to reconnecting with our current partners, we met with people who just came by to check on the rumor about NorthStar on Windows and what the next year holds. Our team provided demos and answered questions to the continuous stream of attendees who visited our booth.
After the floor closed on Monday, I had the privilege of speaking on the panel at the Woman 2 Woman event. The topic was “Generational Perspectives from a Female Workforce” and we spoke to a room filled with both men and women. The feedback following this event was amazing. “With regard to inclusion, diversity and equality, predominately male industries tend to progress more slowly than others.” Chris Rumpf from Fyght continued on to say, “The vulnerability, truth and openness that you shared this week were an inspiration for all of us, and your storytelling gave me hope for the future and a better understanding of how to fully support further progress throughout the retail industry. This industry and the world need more Allies.” Hearing that made it clear that although this topic seemed heavy, it was handled in a great manner and left people asking questions and looking to the future.
The team stayed to support me, which made it easier to speak, but after the panel, the team divided and conquered some amazing events put on by some of our partners in the industry such as Epson, Touch Dynamic and Shift4. Overall, a great and satisfying first day to RSPA RetailNOW.
Day 2 started off with the General Session where they spoke about security issues in the industry relating to payments. Nathan Sweaney and others spoke to the group and educated us on how we can do better in the security world and work with our clients to be better.
After the general session, educational sessions began with our COO Jeremy Julian speaking with a group of eager attendees about sales and marketing automation. The room was packed and engaged. One of the key take-aways from his session was that regular marketing helps your customers perceive your value better vs. rarely hearing from you. “Fifteen years ago, our sales team was our marketing force, dropping off flyers. Today is all about digital presence and understanding why prospects are engaging with your emails and content. You should talk with your customers all the time, even when your rep isn’t there. The most economical way to do that is through digital marketing automation,” Jeremy stated. “The goal at NorthStar and Custom Business Solutions is to not sell but to add value to everyone we talk with,” Jeremy said.
After listening to Jeremy, the team kept the energy high and continued to talk with more interested resellers about NorthStar and our direction for this channel. The end of Day 2 was an electrifying one for our team. As the booth closed and we rushed to break down the banners and pack up our hardware, we were filled with eagerness for what we knew was coming next. Angel Melendez, a long-time Custom Business Solutions employee, was being honored with a NextGEN grant, awarded to the Rising Stars in the industry, a well-deserved recognition. This was another excellent opportunity to mingle and discuss the latest trends in restaurant technology. It was an event that left us inspired and energized to keep looking for those younger people eager to learn this industry and fall in love like we have.
All in all, we had four full days of non-stop excitement. From the show floor to the downtown, the team was all in. There are so many people we would like to thank for such an unforgettable week, but we want to give a quick shout out to RSPA for hosting the show and to all our partners for their continued enthusiasm.
If you have any questions about RSPA’s Retail Now, please let us know!
Goodbye for now,
Client Success and Creative Marketing Manager