Almost 300 vendors and about 250 retailers and e-tailers convened at Chicago's Sheraton and Towers Hotel on the Chicago River to attend Fall '99 RetailVision.
Vendors showed off new products in private boardroom meetings and in the What's In Store display area, and all attendees had opportunities to meet at various functions and presentations such as RetailVision University and PowerView sessions. The keynote address by Rich Redelfs of 3Com also drew crowds. RetailVision is sponsored by Ingram Micro, Tech Data and TWICE.
Highlights of the event included the cocktail party sponsored by Polaroid and a gala dinner, sponsored by 3Com, where the Best of RetailVision awards were presented. Dragon Systems, which dominated the awards a year ago in California, won three awards at this year's event, followed by Visioneer with two. Together they accounted for half of the 10 awards. Winners are selected by retailers at RetailVision.
In addition, two new Star Club members were announced: Chris Dohm of Columbia Photo and Tom Freeman of ACP/Cyberswap. Star Club members are retailers who have attended 10 RetailVision events.
But it was an announcement by VisionEvents VP Nancy Splaine of two new events that took the group by surprise. VisionEvents, a GartnerGroup company, is launching its first e-tailVision next year, June 6-9, at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. In addition, RetailVision Europe is being launched as a separate event next year and is slated for October 4-6, 2000 in Barcelona, Spain.
"[E-commerce] is such a different business model, and it is poised for growth," said Splaine. "We also plan to change the format to offer more content for both vendors and e-tailers and will announce Gartner research specifically targeted to these markets at the event. While RetailVision is mostly vendor and retailer meetings, e-tailVision is expected to be about two-thirds buyer and seller meetings and one-third content."
As for RetailVision, Splaine noted that it will continue and will probably contract a bit as e-tailVision separates itself. "RetailVision will continue to be an intimate, useful meeting for retailers and vendors," she added. "I sensed a lot of excitement and energy among retailers at this event that I did not see at the last one."
Meanwhile, the new European event reflects growth. "We have been combining RetailVision with RetailVision Europe for five years," Splaine explained, "but there is so much growth there that it demands an event of its own."
Following the dinner and awards presentation, attendees gathered outside the hotel on the river for a spectacular fireworks display sponsored by Tech Data and a late-night Flashdance party sponsored by Ingram Micro.
The Best of RetailVision award winners for Fall '99 are:
- Best Product Productivity/ Internet Software -- Digital River for EBot
- Best Product Hardware -- a tie between Fuji for the MX2700 and Visioneer for the Onetouch 8600 scanner
- Best Product Peripheral -- Visioneer for the Onetouch8600 scanner
- Best Product Accessory -- 3M for the Notebook Privacy Filter
- Best Product Edutainment/ Entertainment -- MGI Software for Photosuite III
- Best Merchandising -- Dragon Systems
- Best RetailVision Presentation --Boca Research
- Best Retail Strategy -- Dragon Systems
- Best New Technology -- Virtual Ink for mimio
- Best Vendor -- Dragon Systems.