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Sold on Sin City: How GlobalShop succeeded in Las Vegas

GlobalShop, held annually since 1993, has been known as the world’s largest yearly event for retail design and shopper marketing. Yet, it did not reach its record numbers until it relocated to the top convention destination in the U.S. – Las Vegas. Founder and Show Director Doug Hope added Las Vegas into the rotation over a decade after the show was founded and has never looked back.

The retail show peaked in 2000 after being held in Chicago concurrently for 10 years. So why leave? While exhibitors were content with Chicago as the host city, Hope and his team surveyed non-exhibiting suppliers to retailers and consumer businesses for the first time to gauge their interest in participating.

“Customer satisfaction surveys never survey non-customers,” Hope explained.

GlobalShop added Las Vegas as a host city in 2000, proving that location is key.
GlobalShop added Las Vegas as a host city in 2000, proving that location is key.

Results found the reverse from past reviews. Although exhibitors continually ranked Chicago above Las Vegas, non-exhibitors selected Las Vegas as their first choice. Additionally, Las Vegas was experiencing a period of growth in retail and other industries at the time, serving as inspiration for retail designers.

“Las Vegas best represents aspiration for designers because it is uncapped and has no budget encumbrances,” stated Hope.

Contracted through 2025, GlobalShop is now held for four years in a row in Las Vegas then one year in Chicago before returning to Sin City.

The move proved fruitful as all metrics for the show more than doubled in 2015, recorded as the single biggest growth for GlobalShop since 2000. According to Hope, the show gained 10 percent exhibit space and attendance increased by approximately 22 percent at this year’s show, held March 24-26 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Centerpiece debuted  in 2015 as a curated space for exhibitors to present the latest trends.
Centerpiece debuted in 2015 as a curated space for exhibitors to present the latest trends.

For 2015, retailers are using technology to reach consumers before they step into the store. With this trend, less attention was being paid to in-store marketing.

About 14 technology companies released existing products at the 2015 Centerpiece including drive-up windows for merchandise pick-up, use of interactive tablets as an information tool and BOPUS, or the option to “Buy online, pickup in store.” Also making its debut was an industry-wide international icon for BOPUS featuring a globe within a shopping cart.

Next year’s Centerpiece, titled “Bricks and Clicks,” will have retailers spending more on digital in-store experiences, expected to bridge a $1.2 trillion at-risk sales gap between what consumers desire and what retailers do not yet offer.

For more information, visit globalshop.org

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