One Blog |May 10, 2013 | POS Tracking Software

The 70th Annual WSWA Convention: So Hot, It’s Cool!

Mark Fullerton

Dateline Orlando

First, our thanks to the WSWA and the convention staff - A job well done!

We’ve just returned from the WSWA 70th Annual Convention & Exposition in Orlando — our fourth year in a row as attendees and our first year as both a Member and Sponsor.

From our vantage point, this year’s theme, “So Hot, It’s Cool” was very appropriate; and this year’s convention was our best experience ever.

Not only are beverage alcohol sales surging, but also the number of WSWA convention attendees is swelling to over 2,300.

Keynote Speakers

Sunday’s opening general session by Doug Hertz, president of United Distributors, and WSWA Chairman, included a decade-by-decade history of the WSWA. Next was a very funny and entertaining presentation by keynote speaker, Terry Bradshaw, NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster.

One of the high points of the convention was Tuesday’s general business session when Richard Leventhal, Chairman and CEO of Fedway Associates, received a lifetime leadership award. Richard gave a poignant, pictorial reminder of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the damage done to this distributor. He highlighted the incredible hard work of his employees, and the selfless actions of other distributors who came to the aid of Fedway, getting them back in operation in just over two weeks. Fedway’s amazing story received a standing ovation and an obvious and unrestrained outpouring of support from his peers.

Tuesday’s closing keynote speaker was Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul, entrepreneur and TV personality on ABC’s Shark Tank. Barbara entertained and inspired the audience with her life story from a modest upbringing in New Jersey, to the heights of the real estate market in New York City. Her ‘keys to success story’ was motivational and well received by all attendees.

U.S Beverage Alcohol Forum — Break-out Sessions

Of particular interest to us were several break-out sessions, notably “Launching Brands in the U.S. and Addressing the Challenges of Distribution Today” and “Using Technology to Drive Your Business on the Street.”

These presentations included panelists from suppliers, distributors, marketing and technology providers and a national POS fulfillment company. The takeaways from these sessions are too numerous to discuss here in detail, but it is clear that launching a brand requires skills from several disciplines and the staying power afforded by a well-capitalized supplier. At the same time, technology is a critical competitive advantage, not just for logistics, transport planning and accounting, but also for retail marketing initiatives.  Repeatedly, both suppliers and distributors noted that one key to building a brand is to “Get customers to try your product — which is difficult in an overcrowded space, for example, wine.”

Launching a new brand of wine (spirit or beer) is an expensive proposition these days. Panel members agreed that one of the keys to getting a trial of your brand is to recognize that the most important place to market a new beverage alcohol product to shoppers is clearly at the time and place that they are actively looking to buy.

OnTrak’s Perspective

Our perspective is that the point-of-sale (POS) has not traditionally been the place that enjoys the majority of either the marketing budget or the deployment of tracking and measuring software. In short, too much money has been spent building brands via broadcast or print media that shoppers can’t find or can’t even remember once they are overwhelmed by the variety and choices before them in the aisle. The result is that too little money has been spent on marketing at the point-of-sale where it can make all the difference in a shopper becoming a buyer [of your product] or walking on to the next product.

Clearly POS, shopper marketing, marketing at-retail is reaching or has already reached “critical mass.” Suppliers and distributors may not agree on everything, but one thing they seem to understand is that POS spending is of critical importance yet, in many cases, is out of control — unable to be tracked, measured and managed.

If this describes your situation, press the button below — we may just have the solution you’re looking for.


Over 100 Beverage-Alcohol Distributors Trust OnTrak solutions.

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Wine & Spirits Wholesales of AmericaNational Beer Wholesalers Association Path to Purchase Institute

Hundreds of Beverage-Alcohol Wholesalers Use OnTrak

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