GERS Summit Offers Retail Solutions
Retail informations systems company GERS held its annual Retail Excellence Summit for three days in San Diego starting on March 7. About 200 dealers attended this year, mostly existing users of GERS software products, though a few prospects attended to get a taste of what the company offers. Most of the attendees came from the furniture retail market, GERS' target audience with Furniture Net, an online portal for this community. However the company's growth into CE attracted several electronics and appliance dealers, including representatives from Bernies of Vermont and Percy's of Boston.
The summit itself consisted of several keynote sessions on marketing and branding topics, as well as sessions about retail issues and tech panels with software training and hands-on labs. In addition, for the first time this year the summit featured the Retail Experience exhibition section with vendor partners including Agilysys, Neoware, Wells Fargo, Dell and Epson.
The opening keynote by Ken Schmitt, head of communications for Harley Davidson Motorcycles, focused on brand positioning. He emphasized the importance of standing out in the crowd, making customers feel good about themselves, and making "noise" about business. He noted that one of the most important factors in Harley Davidson's turnaround from has-been company to cutting-edge corporation involved asking customers what they wanted from the brand. These simple suggestions, he said, while obvious to most of the audience, resonated with the group as many attendees considered how to integrate some of Schmitt's tips into their own businesses, particularly the concept of making customers feel good about themselves and their shopping experiences.