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From the pre-show sessions until the doors closed, NAMA 2018 was action-packed, insightful and inspiring. The future of the convenience services industry is bright, bold and consumer-centric.

An industry that once upon a time was resistant to change and adaptation has morphed into the diverse, colorful industry that is finding ways to not only reinvent the wheel, but toss it out altogether. Our industry is evolving and no place is that more evident than at The NAMA Show. From pre-show sessions until the doors closed, The NAMA Show 2018 was a kaleidoscope of new products, new technology and new key takeaways.

Here are some thoughts that you should take with you throughout 2018.


Customers are demanding more convenient ways to get the things that they need and businesses are learning that in order to build loyal customers, you have to meet them where they are. Our industry is in a unique position to meet customers right where they are, 40+ hours a week—at work. How do you do that? Multiple payment methods are one way to go. Joe Hessling, CEO of 365 Retail Markets said, “Provide various cashless payment options for consumers. For example, mobile— everything is at your fingertips.” Communication is key. During the Next Gen Technology session, Amanda Sulc, Director of Category Insights and Strategy at Accent Food Service said, “Ask, ‘How can I make your life better, efficient and give you what’s important in your life?” The drive is to create a frictionless experience from shopping to purchase to give consumers the time to get back to what’s most important.


The Harvard Business Review defines “disruption” as “a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.” NAMA Show keynote speaker, Futurist, Brian Solis said it simply as: doing new things that makes the old thing obsolete. MicroMarkets were a disruptive force to the vending industry in the same way that Netflix and video streaming were disruptive to brick and mortar movie rental businesses. Disruption produces real innovation. The challenge this year is to find ways to disrupt business as usual in a way that spells positive change for your customers.

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Technology use will continue to rise as we become more dependent on and connected to our devices. According to the Next Gen panelists, some things to look out for:

  • Did you receive the session alerts from the NAMA 365 app? Push notifications will help you reach customers where they are: on their phones, not their inboxes.
  • Augmented reality beyond just a gaming experience such as inventory management.
  • Consumer pre-orders. Stock what you know they want and reduce spoilage.

This year, the NAMA Show showed that 2018 is the year for human-centered innovation. Successful companies are the ones that will do things that may be inconvenient for you and your team initially, but will ultimately improve your customer’s interaction with your business. Edison made 1,000 attempts at creating the light bulb before inventing one that works and revolutionizing our lives. Now, “burning the candle from both ends” is just a metaphor.

Did you feel inspired by anything that you saw or heard at NAMA? Tweet us your thoughts @365retaimarket #TheNAMAShow!

Watch Now: Top 4 Key Takeaways From NAMA’s Education Sessions

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