NSSF Focuses On Increased Business, Networking At Annual Trade Show.
The NSSF will stage its mega trade show Jan. 20-23, 2015 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. This event comes at an important time for the industry, as dealers and manufacturers continue to adjust to the changing market, now known as the “new normal.” According to NSSF officials, this event is poised to launch attendees into the New Business Year.
“Every year the SHOT Show proves it’s the trade show for retailers and range operators,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “Attendees get direct access to more than 1,600 exhibitors displaying the latest firearms, ammunition and accessories for shooting and hunting.”
The SHOT Show also provides other opportunities for attendees, Sanetti points out.
“They get to network with who’s who in the industry, and take part in a wide variety of education seminars,” Sanetti said. “In addition, SHOT Show University, held one day before the official opening of the show floor, provides a full day of training courses geared toward helping attendees improve their retail and range operations.”
Sanetti noted attending the 2015 SHOT Show is particularly important because of the changing conditions in the marketplace.
“While 2013 broke all-time records for sales, that surge couldn’t last forever,” he said. “At the 2014 SHOT Show, there was a lot of discussion about what could be expected going forward. The information gathering that’s uniquely achievable at the 2015 SHOT Show will help everyone figure out what’s going to be best for their individual business during the period of normalization we’re now experiencing. The 2015 SHOT Show will be all about doing business in this ‘new normal.’”
Like the 2014 SHOT Show, the 2015 show, by design, will be somewhat smaller than some of the shows in previous years.
“Reducing the exhibit space square footage by 40,000 square feet in order to open up the aisles and provide more common areas certainly has had an impact on the show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and chief marketing officer. “We’ve improved the navigation tools through the SHOT Show app and digital signage, made more people available to provide information and worked with the facility to make changes to the food service areas and increase the number of conveniences for our attendees.”
Many of these improvements were done in response to what attendees wanted, Dolnack explained.
“I think the most important thing we’ve done is listen to our customers. Our entire executive staff went out on the show floor the first year we were at the Sands — to talk to our customers — so we could hear what they had to say firsthand. We did live chats after that. We listened and responded,” he said.
B2B Matchmaking Effort
The SHOT Show has become much more than just a venue where retailers and buyers can see new products; it has developed into a full-fledged business show. Exhibitors who attend the show can participate in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program — a government-industry effort bringing thousands of international buyers to the U.S.
“We have added a business-to-business matchmaking program that focuses on connecting U.S. suppliers with international purchasers before, during and after the SHOT Show,” Dolnack said. “We’ve also added the Showtime Program, where U.S. exhibitors will have a chance to meet with embassy representatives and consulate representatives attending the show. This is a great opportunity for especially smaller manufacturers to explore ways they can expand into international exports.”
There will also be webinars in advance of the SHOT Show to help manufacturers prepare for show time.
“After, manufacturers will be able to register for the matchmaking program and make appointments,” he said.
More information about this program is available at www.shotshow.org/services-us-exhibitors.
Navigating The Show Floor
Once again, NSSF has kept many booths in the same location as last year to make navigation easier.
“At the beginning of October, we were still in the process of allocating booths,” said Diedra Cauley, NSSF director of exhibitions and conferences. “We’re going to have more than 100 new exhibitors at the 2015 show.”
Cauley said these new exhibitors would be from a number of different categories.
“First, we’re selecting exhibitors that are within our core product categories,” she said. “That means they’re firearms, ammunition and optics companies. They carry anything that attaches to a firearm or you use with a firearm. The next category we look at is accessory companies.”
SHOT Show planners continue to use technology to help attendees navigate the show. In the New Products Center, retailers use the show’s mobile app to create follow-on visits to manufacturers.
“If a retailer sees a product he likes in the center, he can use the mobile app to put that manufacturer on his agenda,” Dolnack said. “The booth number will pop up on the mobile app so the retailer can follow up on it.”
“This year we will have an enhanced New Products Center,” Dolnack said. “We’re going to add some excitement to the New Products Center, and hold a press event there to call attention to it.”
Attendees can also use the new SHOT Show Planner this year.
“The new SHOT Show Planner is tradeshow software designed to bring more qualified buyers to exhibitor booths by matching attendees with their product interests,” said Jeff Pressman, president of ConvExx, the company that helps NSSF manage the SHOT Show. “The planner provides a private social networking platform, allowing attendees and exhibitors to build a community of contacts and communicate with each other. Communication is all done through the planner by private messaging and appointment scheduling; emails of attendees and exhibitors are not shared.”
Pressman said the SHOT Show Planner allows exhibitors to upload product information, including photos and brochures.
“For the first time, an exhibitor can now upload products in the exhibitor’s New Product Center that the attendee can view online,” he said. “This is included with a manufacturer’s purchase of a new product in the New Product Center.”
The SHOT Show Planner includes a searchable online exhibitor directory, interactive floor plan, an online conference/speaker system and searchable exhibitor and product lists.
“Using the attendees’ demographic profiles, the Planner’s search engine returns recommended exhibitors and products and seminar matches in real-time. Attendees can easily add these recommendations to their planner, or contact exhibitors for more information via the internal messaging system,” Pressman said.
Attendees can also create an agenda on their own SHOT Show Planner.
“This information, along with their favorite exhibitors, can then be accessed from anywhere they have an Internet connection, including on a mobile device,” Pressman said. “Everything from the SHOT Show Planner syncs with the new SHOT Mobile App, including exhibitor upgrades.”
State Of The Industry
The 2015 SHOT Show’s State of the Industry Dinner will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 20, in the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino’s Palazzo Ballroom.
The evening will feature an update on the industry by Sanetti, including a look at the challenges the industry faces in 2015. A major concern is ongoing anti-gun/industry campaigns. These campaigns impacted the State of the Industry dinner when the anti-gun lobby pressured Jay Leno to cancel his appearance. As of this writing, NSSF had not announced a replacement.
For information on any remaining tickets, visit www.shotshow.org/state-industry-dinner.
Attendees will have plenty of possibilities for education at the SHOT Show. First is SHOT Show University, which will be held on Monday, Jan. 19, in the Venetian. The cost for the university is $250 for NSSF members and $500 for non-members. Dealers who are Premium NSSF members receive a complimentary pass to SHOT Show University. To find out more about Premium Retailer Membership, visit www.nssf.org/retailers.
This year’s SHOT Show University will have a similar format to last year’s event.
“We’ll have a general session for all the attendees,” said Randy Clark, NSSF managing director of business development. “The day will start with two keynote speakers, and then we’ll have two general session addresses late in the day. The morning keynote speakers will lead into four track sessions like we had last year.”
Retailer seminars held during the SHOT Show provide dealers with opportunities to learn more about how to grow their businesses and stay current with industry trends and issues. NSSF expects to offer about a dozen one-hour seminars during the course of the SHOT Show.
Besides SHOT Show U and the retailer seminars, there also will be classes for working law enforcement officers. NSSF and Law Officer Magazine will present this education program.
For more information about SHOT Show University, the retailer seminars and the Law Enforcement Education Program, visit www.shotshow.org/education.
In addition, the 2015 SHOT Show will host seminars for manufacturers.
“We’re going to have some additional compliance sessions for manufacturers,” Dolnack said. “We’ve partnered with Orchid Advisors this year to be our compliance provider, to help bring compliance solutions to our membership. They will be conducting a session, and we also will have a session on exporting and importing.”
These exhibitor education sessions will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 21 and 22.
Connecting With The Media
Exhibitors have several ways to interact with the media in the SHOT Show pressroom. They can place product materials in the pressroom, or access the press conference room, where they can meet with selected media or schedule a press conference.
“If exhibitors aren’t utilizing the press room properly, they’re missing an opportunity,” Cauley said. “We have bins for manufacturers to place media kits for the press to pick up. Manufacturers need to reserve bins ahead of time so we have bins labeled for them. They need to check the bins to ensure they remain filled throughout the week. I don’t think manufacturers realize how fast press kits get picked up. If someone only puts out 25, they’ll be gone in a matter of minutes.”
Industry Day at the Range will combine Media Day and Buyer Day on Monday, Jan. 19, the day before SHOT Show opens. The day will be split into two sessions. The first, beginning at 8:30 a.m., will be open to up to 1,000 invited media who are welcome to stay the entire day. The afternoon session, running from 12:00 to 4:30 p.m., is open to invited buyers, dealers, distributors and retailers.
Exhibitors submit all invites. Invitations to attend Industry Day at the Range were emailed in October.
Dealers can use the SHOT Show website or app to access the most
up-to-date information on Show hours, events, hotels and more.
For attendees who haven’t registered for the show, show officials recommend signing up now. The registration fees for the 2015 show have been modified as a result of growing demand for aggressive advocacy and regulatory initiatives on behalf of our industry, according to Dolnack.
“Our industry has faced tremendous pressure the last couple of years, both federally and in the state legislatures,” Dolnack said. “In order to help meet those challenges, we opened a new Washington, D.C., office in September and are hiring seven full-time professionals in Washington.”
The SHOT Show provides the bulk of NSSF’s revenue, and with NSSF’s increased involvement in protecting the industry, Dolnack said it became necessary for the industry as a whole to increase its financial support of NSSF. Details of registration fee adjustments can be found at www.shotshowblog.com/2015-registration.
By Carolee Anita Boyles
2015 SHOT SHOW HOURS
Tuesday, January 20
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 21
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 22
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday, January 23
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Click Here To View The Shooting Industry December 2014 Issue Now!