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What SuperZoo Attendees Can Expect From the Show's Educational Seminars


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Upward of 10,000 people will meet to connect and explore the pet industry’s latest innovations at this year’s SuperZoo, which will be held June 26-28 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, with education offerings taking place June 25-27. SuperZoo 2018, which is organized by the World Pet Association (WPA), will offer more than 282,000 net square feet of show floor space for attendees to shop, and a comprehensive education program is also on the agenda. 

More than 80 education seminars are on the lineup, totaling 85 hours’ worth of revenue generating-knowledge waiting to be absorbed by attendees. Forty expert speakers will cover a multitude of topics within the four main content areas of the show’s educational programming, which includes: retail, grooming, animal wellness and the service industry. 

The 2018 SuperZoo seminars are expertly picked out, said Debra Spaulding, director of education and programming for WPA. 

“We’ve learned a lot through our years of history planning and organizing the shows’ education,” Spaulding said. “We work hard to identify industry experts and thought leaders to provide the industry with the most leading-edge trend seminars and the latest insights and businesses best practices that will help retailers grow their businesses.”

SuperZoo’s educational component will kick off on Monday, June 25, with one full day devoted to education. Lynn Switanowski of Creative Business Consulting Group (CBCG) will present seven seminars throughout the show, four of which will occur during the preshow education day. 

“The key theme to all of our seminars this year [revolves around] the independent pet community [being] behind consumers, and we are trying to help teach them how to use tools to put them online so they can connect with the customers when the customer wants,” Switanowski said. 

Switanowski’s seminars on Monday will cover different aspects of the pet business including a presentation on inventory performance called “Learn to Manage Your Inventory to Increase Profits,” which will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. It aims to help pet stores improve their inventory turnover and save money.  

Switanowski’s next presentation focuses on “How to Connect with the Digital Minded Shopper,” which will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 

“This is a key learning seminar since, in most cases, independent pet retailers are behind customers in their use of digital services,” Switanowski said. 

“How to Increase Your Brick-and-Mortar Business in an Online World,” which will be held from 1:30-3 p.m., will help teach brick-and-mortar retailers how to position their businesses digitally in front of their consumers and adapt to the digital age. The seminar “Is Your Pet Business Social Enough for Your Customers?,” which will be held from 3:30-5 p.m., will focus on the social media marketing tactics available to retailers to improve their stores’ performance.

Switanowski will also offer a free workshop called “Making SuperZoo Work for You” from 5:30-6 p.m.

“As you can see, this day is all encompassing and will be a great way to help pet retailers and manufacturers walk away with specific learning to close the gap on their digital knowledge to engage with customers more effectively,” Switanowski said.

Switanowski will repeat the “How to Connect with the Digital Minded Shopper” seminar from 8-10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, because it contains critical content that should be heard by every show attendee, she said.

“The entire theme of the seminars that CBCG is presenting on is focused on helping educate retailers with tactics and tools that their customers are always using—and making sure that the gap doesn’t continue to widen and end up leading customers to businesses that are more digital friendly,” Switanowski added.

Tammy Bond of The Team Optimizer said her seminars will address a different set of common challenges that retailers face. 

“When I talk to people at SuperZoo, and after, about the challenges in their businesses today, I most often hear, ‘My employees are my challenge,’” Bond said. “Every one of my seminars surrounds the employee dilemma in one form or another. If you, as an attendee, are reading this trying to decide what workshops to take, come to the ones that will help solve the biggest pain point you have. Show up with questions to engage in the dialogue so you can get what you need to transform the way your business operates.” 

On Monday, June 25, Bond will present “Conflict: How to Embrace It Instead of Avoiding It” from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and “How to Successfully Train New Employees to Perform to Your Expectations” from 1:30-2:30 p.m. On Tuesday, June 26, Bond will present “How to Manage Your Millennial Workforce” from 8-9 a.m. 

Bond will also host free Show Floor Talks, which are shorter, more question-and-answer-oriented seminars, including “5 Secrets to Superior Decision Making” on Tuesday, June 26, from 11-11:30 a.m., and “How to Do More with Less,” also on Tuesday, from 2-2:30 p.m.

“Each of the show floor talks are designed to give the attendee solid quick tips to support building efficiencies in their business,” Bond said. “I ask a lot of questions of the audience. I do that to make sure I hear from the people in the room what their greatest need is in that very moment in regards to the topic. It’s important to me to be able to deliver meaningful content that is relevant to the audience.” 

Bond said that for SuperZoo attendees to get the most out of the workshops at the show, they should come to the seminars with an idea of what they want to learn. 

“What are the one, two or three things that you want to walk away with from each workshop you attend, and then let me know it,” she said. “Just like our employees need clear expectations to perform a job well, I ask conference goers to set an expectation with me as a presenter also; that way, I can help folks get something of value they can implement back at their store right away.”

Crystal Vilkaitis, founder of Social Edge, will focus her presentations on helping pet stores improve their social media strategies. On Tuesday, June 26, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., Vilkaitis will present “Using Video to Boost Online Engagement, Offline Foot Traffic and Event Attendance.” 

“Social media consistently changes,” Vilkaitis said. “What worked last week might not work this week. It’s critical for pet stores to stay up-to-date so they can stay relevant. Video is good for business. It earns you more organic reach, gives a peek at your business’s personality and entices users to engage. Learn the tools necessary to stand out and what type of content to hit record on.” 

The seminar will repeat on Wednesday, June 28, from 12-1 p.m.

Vilkaitis will also present “The Foundations of a Successful Facebook and Instagram Page” on Wednesday, June 27, from 10-11:30 a.m. It will address the biggest mistakes that even socially savvy businesses make when setting up their Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

“To make the most of it, come with an open mind and willingness to adapt since this is an ever-changing industry,” Vilkaitis said. “You’ll want to take notes because I’ll be sharing a lot of resources and how to create a strong social foundation, so either a phone to take pictures of the slides or paper for notes.”

SuperZoo’s Show Floor Talks are free to all attendees, while all other seminars require a fee. One- to three-day seminar passes are available as well as single seminar tickets. 

The full lineup of SuperZoo’s education seminars can be found at superzoo.org

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