The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) held its bi-annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee on July 13-15, 2017 at the Music City Center bringing a plethora of buyers, exhibitors, artists, industry veterans and music. Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO had this to say about this year’s convention: “The pace of change is accelerating, and with it, never has it been more critical to long-term business success to work on your business rather than in it. The three days of Summer NAMM offered our valued members the tools needed to nurture and grow their businesses through opportunities to cultivate new relationships, reaffirm existing ones and invest in their businesses through high-value educational opportunities.”
For retailers, NAMM offers daily breakfasts, educational sessions, awards ceremonies, musical entertainment, and networking and buying opportunities with musical instrument manufacturers. The major retailers are on hand to showcase their latest and greatest- Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Korg, Taylor, and more. Then there are the smaller, boutique companies and start-ups hoping to attract buyers and investors- Smashmouse, Somnium Guitars, GiGY gig bags, pedal companies, jewelry makers, and more.
First on my agenda was breakfast to give you energy to make it through the day. Get there early- it’s always packed. Enjoy your breakfast, network with fellow retailers, and be ready for a little entertainment to start the day. Always insightful, the first day featured Doug Stephens, founder and CEO of Retail Prophet. Stephens is the author of The Retail Revival and talked about the future of retail stores – if there is one! He spoke about the power of Amazon and how the company affects almost all retail brick and mortar stores so they can’t be discounted. There are buyers out there that buy strictly on price, but there are many buyers that like the shopping experience. He talked about the importance of creating a “buyer’s experience” reminiscing of his childhood experience at his local music store from the excitement that he have at the site of all the instruments, even remembering the smell. He also talked about the importance of technology in today’s retail environment. Technology is changing the way we approach everything from hailing a taxi (i.e., Uber) to booking lodging (think Air Bnb). Think about it – today, we can grocery shop online and have them delivered to your door, or even purchase prepared meals. One example he gave about utilizing technology was a story of a music retailer that sold cymbals and he utilizes the power of video to showcase every one of his cymbals so that the buyer can listen and hear the tone of the cymbal, thereby sidelining the need to go to your local music store…and the retailer is doing great! He also gave examples where music retail stores are holding events (music, drinks, etc.) to attract loyal customers.
Stephens offered so much more information, but added that the one most important step a retailer should take is to create a “journey map” and stick to it.