Retailers and solution providers converged on the iconic Eden Roc Hotel and Resort in Miami, FL, for the second annual Secure Stores Forum, a two day immersive experience that provides an opportunity for focused discussions and connections, in a relaxed, more intimate setting than a typical trade show.
The event kicked off on Sunday evening with all attendees packed into a ballroom, designed intentionally not just to encourage introductions, but to make them unavoidable, with a friendly ice-breaker that was fun and interactive. With new acquaintances made, we transitioned to the open-air deck for the opening reception with great music and amazing views overlooking the Atlantic. As the sun set, everyone gathered for a beachfront dinner that positioned the group to continue networking while enjoying some of the best food in Miami.
On Monday morning, following a terrific group breakfast, interactive workshops put small groups of retailers together in breakout rooms as solution providers engaged in presentations and demonstrations. The schedule allowed plenty of opportunity for interaction, engagement and feedback during and in between sessions. The feedback on this format was tremendous, with retailers and solution providers alike appreciative of the direct time and intimate connection. With the distractions and the noise of the typical trade show floor removed, the opportunity to take a deeper, more detailed look at the available products and services gave way to intelligent questions and more meaningful interactions. Solutions showcased ran the full spectrum with services, systems and products from nearly every category from retail alarm systems to exception reporting, merchandise protection devices to access control, remote security systems, and more.
The conversations continued on buses that brought the group to South Beach and a wonderful dinner hosted at the jaw-dropping Versace mansion. While a little less presumptive on the outside, this stunning venue provided an inspiring backdrop as attendees connected with old friends and new friends, enjoying great food, a tour of the beautiful facility and entertainment by the synchronized swimming group the Aqualillies, who recently performed in the George Clooney movie Hail Caesar, and who gave the crowd a charming and graceful show of dance, water ballet and acrobatics.
With attendance exceeding original expectations, the workshops from Monday stretched to continue in the early hours Tuesday before evolving to even more intimate one-on-one sessions, where retailers paired up with specific providers to “talk turkey” and initiate conversations that would drive next steps in solidifying working relationships. In what was compared to a “speed dating” environment, solution providers were positioned at tables in a large ballroom, with signage to easily identify location, and with appointments scheduled throughout the day with the retailers who worked the room to meet and talk through how to move the relationship from discussions in Miami to solutions in their stores.
With feedback from all attendees complimenting the effectiveness of this format in building new relationships and driving new solutions, and the consensus that the venue was, once again, absolutely stunning, it is no wonder that attendees are already looking forward to Secure Stores Forum 2017.