Vendors pull out all the stops at Shop.org

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The Shop.org annual summit moved to Dallas this year but it has kept some of that Las Vegas vibe by locating it in the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center. Water features and wooden bridge pathways connect the resort and convention center with plenty of Texas signposts along the way, including fake cows and Western inspired scenery.

In keeping with the carnival spirit, vendors are using a variety of tactics to draw attendees from small and large online retailers alike (name tag glimpses show that JCPenney, Williams-Sonoma, L.L. Bean, Adidas, Overstock.com and others are walking the floor). There are beer giveaways, magic tricks and plenty of iPad drawings as well as one company's shameless use of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders but the booth giveaway that caught me was at Experian Marketing Services. As I went to check in to the Shop.org conference through my Foursquare account, a "Special" popped up, so I clicked through to it, and found I could receive a $5 Starbucks gift card just for checking in to the Experian booth. As far as I could tell, Experian was the only Shop.org vendor with a "special" listed on Foursquare.

I can't empirically say whether the cheerleaders, the beer guy or the Starbucks card drew more booth visitors. Yet given that so much of the talk here is about multichannel marketing and being in front of the customer wherever she is, it seems surprising that more vendors weren't taking advantage of new technology in their booth promotions.

Next year's Shop.org conference heads to Boston, September 12-14, so we'll have to see if a New England sensibility takes over or if we're treated to Patriots cheerleaders.

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