San Antonio — RetailVision, a consumer electronics event with a reputation for offering the fresh and unusual, comes for the first time to this Texas city next week, where the setting — near to what is arguably the most famous spot in the state, the Alamo — is expected to contribute subtly to the conference’s overalltheme and message.
The stage is set April 4-7 at the Marriott Rivercenter hotel here for what has been called the leading event for the consumer technology channel. Attendees have the opportunity to both explore business opportunities, as well as soak up the charm of one of the most vibrant and colorful cities in the American Southwest. This will mark the first time in its 15-year run that RetailVision has chosen this storied venue.
At the heart of this spring’s RetailVison, which is a biannual event organized by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group, is a “successful” meeting format that combines group and one-on-one business get-togethers, scheduled networking activities and “world-class” entertainment that is designed to meet the professional needs of senior-level participants.
Highlighting the entertainment at Thursday’s “Best of RetailVision Awards” will be rock ‘n’ roll artist Eddie Money, whose musical history spans the past two decades, when he accounted for over 12 million in record sales worldwide.
The structure of next week’s business agenda “delivers a proven and successful format that makes it unlike traditional industry trade shows and conferences,” said the organizers.
RetailVision hosts the “top” North American consumer channel executives from the United States and Canada. Participating vendors include major and emerging companies from around the world. Once again, RetailVision will be co-located with Retail-Vision Latin America and its audience of “premier” retailers and distributors for a wide range of Latin American countries.
At RetailVision retailers are able to see the full spectrum of consumer technology products and services in a single venue — including plasma and LCD technologies, wireless networking, mobile electronics, new computer hardware and software, digital imaging, games, accessories and more.
To kick off next week’s event, RetailVision is offering a special grand-opening-for-retailers-early-bird preview of products. Back by popular demand is the Amazing Race, where retailers are offered a new form of fun and excitement for visiting vendors, said Gartner.
A RetailVision University ChannelViews session Wednesday includes participation by vendors The NPD Group, Levin Consulting, K&A and Mosaic Sales Solutions. ChannelViews, where leading industry consultants share their knowledge and experience, are vendor-only sessions that cover a wide variety of topics developed to educate the vendor community on how to maximize sales and return on investment in the retail channel.
A RetailVison PowerViews session on Thursday includes retailers Gateway, Buy.com and MicroCenter. PowerViews, presented by retailer executives, are sessions that educate attending vendors on how to plan programs, sell products and build brand with the most powerful retail chains in the industry.
The overall RetailVisionUniversity is an educational forum where vendors have the opportunity to gain information about the retail channel through ChannelViews and PowerViews. From current channel conditions and the business insight provided by industry experts and visionaries, to the specific business practices of leading retailers presented by company executives, the knowledge shared at University is focused on assisting and in driving channel business, said RetailVision.
The program’s welcome reception is another opportunity for participants to get to know each other in a relaxed setting, while other activities include networking breakfasts and luncheons, as well as the awards program Thursday night.
RetailVision social gatherings include the Wednesday late-night party, the pre-awards cocktail reception and the late-night party following the award ceremonies. The annual golf tournament concludes the week on Friday.
The awards ceremony will culminate with entertainment starring Money, whose career dates back to the mid-‘70s. In the following years, he had over 10 top-40 singles and became a successful touring act.
Some of Money’s best-known songs include “Two Tickets To Paradise,” “Baby Hold On,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Shakin” and “Think I’m In Love.” “Take Me Home Tonight” was a top-five Grammy-nominated hit across the nation and a heavy-rotation video on MTV. Today, Money continues to tour the country, playing as many as 150 shows per year.