Our takeaways from the Independent Retailer Conference at ASD Market Week

We had the privilege of being a part of the Independent Retailer Conference at ASD Market Week last week. For anyone who hasn’t heard, ASD Week is a B2B retail buyers’ convention with 45,000 attendees and 2,600 vendors from all over the world. It’s been held since 1961.

The Independent Retailer Conference, organized by Kerry Bannigan and conceptualized by Nicole Rehyle of Retail Minded, is a pop-up within this mega-show, providing indie retailers in attendance with educational resources and connections to strengthen their businesses. We were one of those resources, and it was a blast. Here’s what we took away from the show.

The indie retailer support community is full of knowledgeable, kind and fun experts.

We had an inkling of what our four days in Vegas would entail, but had no idea we were in for a week of soaking up wisdom from other retail experts who have been consulting with indie businesses for a while — some for 20+ years! As a newer company on the scene, it was encouraging to connect with industry veterans like Retail Mavens and Kizer & Bender, whose sense of humor paired with their personal retail expertise made them a joy to be around.

If you need help with shipping, inventory, marketing, or even rethinking your whole business plan to be more profitable, you need to give these IRC vendors a ring. (If you need help with foot traffic counting, you know who to call.)

Retail superheroes Cathy Donovan Wagner and Georgeanne Bender debrief at the Retail Mavens table as the IRC winds down on its last day, probably discussing how to take over the world.

If it can be manufactured, it has been manufactured. Seriously.

Wandering the huge (HUGE!) halls of ASD Market Week — and getting lost every few minutes — was like walking through a retailer wonderland. We found corgi coin purses, throwing stars, a bedazzled skeleton hand necklace, and more fidget spinners than we’d ever know what to do with. Your store’s merchandise is only limited by your imagination and shipping costs.

Puppy purses at ASD Market Week

We weren’t kidding.

Overwhelmed retailers juggling every piece of your business: You’re not alone.

We met so many retailers running diverse businesses last week, from Brooklyn convenience stores to Seattle boutiques. Everyone we met had a few things in common: They wanted to grow their businesses, they were running at a million miles a minute and they were open to learning how to improve their in-store experience. We loved encountering that mindset.

If you feel stuck: Ask for help when you feel like you’re sinking under the weight of everything you want to accomplish. Reach out to other retailers in your community for support and ideas. Sign up for webinars, read books and blogs, and get on the phone with a consultant when you need an outsider’s perspective. Don’t go into this brick-and-mortar adventure alone!

Sean Lakind of Dor Technologies

Dor’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Sean Lakind, speaks on how brick-and-mortar retailers can connect with their millennial shoppers.

Speaking of asking for help...

We’re here to help you understand your store foot traffic and increase your in-store conversion rate. Your daily sales numbers alone simply can’t provide you with sufficient information about the effectiveness of your business. We want to help you look at the whole picture.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out via email, phone or on social media with questions about your physical store, or subscribe to our blog below to stay in the loop for future educational material!

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