I managed to catch up with Scott Silverman (and when I say, “catch up,” I practically chased him to his car) to chat about Shop.org’s Annual Summit, which kicks off this week. I spent a few minutes picking his brain on who he was most excited to hear speak, how the Shop.org community is commemorating a member who recently passed away, and see if there was any truth to those rumors about free lattes and cappuccino on the EXPO floor.
What was the biggest Summit challenge this year? How did you get around that?
Travel freezes. We overcame this by debunking the myth that going to the Summit is expensive. This assumes that people want to attend the Summit, which I believe is true. I am proud of the product we offer our attendees and we have a money-back guarantee to back that up. The content, networking opportunities and Expo Hall experience at this year’s Summit will be the best yet.
There are a ton of amazing speakers. But if you had to pick only one, who are you MOST excited to hear and why?
Terry Lundgren, CEO of Macy’s. He’s an retail visionary that has made an impressive investment in digital. This is the type of inspiration that really makes a difference to our audience.
The Shop.org Town Square is a new area this year. Tell me about it.
The idea is to concentrate a number of the different features of the Summit into this area. This is where people will register, pick up badges and sign up for Expo Hall tours and dine-arounds. It will also host our Community Center, where Jayne O’Donnell‘s book signing will be held on Tuesday at 10:15 am.
We’re hearing that trade show attendance is down an average of 20%. What’s attendance at the Summit looking like?
As of Friday morning, we were pacing more than 6% ahead of last year, which is remarkable in light of the economy. This says a lot for online being a bright spot in retail.
Is there truth to the rumor that the EXPO floor will have free Starbucks and wi-fi?
Yes, indeed. You can surf the web, network with industry leaders, discover new technologies and enjoy a cappuccino, latte or any other coffee drink of your choice at no charge and with shorter lines than the Starbucks in the hotel. We did this because last year we saw our caffeine-starved attendees in long lines at the Starbucks in the hotel and wanted to make things easier for them. No one should wait any longer than necessary to get a caffeine fix!
Tell me how you have chosen to commemorate Alan Rimm-Kaufman at the event.
I hope attendees will get their cheeks swabbed to see if they can be a bone marrow donor in honor of Alan Rimm-Kaufman, a dear friend of the Shop.org community who passed away this summer after battling cancer. Attendees should stop by the Town Square for more information.
If you had $500 to gamble at the casino, what would you play?
Three-card poker. I can’t say that the odds are better than anything else, but it’s a fun game.
What’s the Tuesday night event at the Beach all about?
This is our big evening event for all attendees to network and have fun. What people will like about this year’s event is that it will be very conducive to networking. There will be plenty of room to walk around and the music will not be playing at nightclub volumes. Of course, the fact that I’m talking about music being too loud is a sad sign that I’m getting older. When my parents asked me to turn down my music when I was younger, I frequently reminded them that “if it’s too loud, you’re too old.”
If I have a question while I’m on-site, what should I do?
Hopefully, we have done a good job already anticipating your questions in advance via the program guide, resources on the website and attendee update emails to answer most questions. Shop.org prides itself on being customer-focused and having a super-friendly team to help people at the show. Please feel free to talk to anyone wearing the lovely green Shop.org shirts and don’t be surprised if the response exceeds your expectations.
If I can’t make it to the event, how can I keep tabs on what’s happening?
blog.shop.org, the #shoporg hashtag on Twitter, and there will be plenty of coverage in the Shop.org SmartBrief. Plus, if you’re a member and you can’t attend you can download many of the presentations from our website within two weeks of the event.