SP Richards Show Review



San Diego chargers ABC 2008




SP Richards’ ABC event has come a long way since 1999 when the organisers worried if anyone would want to come along


The 10th annual SP Richards Advantage Business Conference (ABC), held from 30 July to 2 August, drew an enthusiastic crowd to the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, California.


The 10th annual SP Richards Advantage Business Conference (ABC), held from 30 July to 2 August, drew an enthusiastic crowd to the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, California.


Attendees enjoyed a host of educational seminars and the USA’s largest office products vendor exposition that showcased over 230 exhibitors displaying a comprehensive array of office products, services, equipment and technology.


In addition, various entertainment and networking events made for an exciting and productive week.


This year’s SPR conference featured appearances by popular comedian Brian Regan; goodwill ambassador for the Zoological Society of San Diego, Joan Embery; and author and USS Midway historian, Scott McGaugh.


Parent Genuine Parts Company’s Chairman/CEO Tom Gallagher and Wayne Beacham, SPR’s Chairman/CEO also addressed attendees during this year’s ten-year anniversary celebration which was capped off by a gala event on the flight deck of the USS Midway aircraft carrier.


Jim O’Brien, SPR’s Senior Vice President Marketing, was exuberant: "Attendance, optimism and energy exceeded every expectation we had. Independent dealers and our vendors came to celebrate this very special occasion and ignored or defied the economic challenges we are facing."


Five suppliers were presented with Vendor of the Year awards at the show. The awards were presented in four major categories: Domtar was recognised in the traditional office products category; Iceberg received the furniture award; Belkin captured the technology category; and Reckitt Benckiser was named the winner in the cleaning and breakroom supply category.


Safco won the coveted SPR Heritage award which recognises a vendor that exemplifies leadership qualities in every aspect of its organisation. Steve Lynn, SPR’s SVP of Merchandising, said: "Safco has demonstrated great commitment to product innovation. Its support for SPR and our dealer customers over the last year has been unparalleled."
Next year’s ABC conference will be held at the Hilton, New Orleans Riverside, from 24-27 June.


Search engine optimisation for dealers


Internet marketing agency Fortune Web Marketing and OP technology solutions provider AOS Ware launched a new search engine optimisation service for independent dealers at ABC 2008.


Using AOS Ware’s OP Commander e-commerce system, dealers are offered a package that is designed to make their sites search engine friendly, to improve organic rank on search engines and to enhance the user’s browsing experience.
"This is an exciting move for both companies," states Jennifer Stine, President of Fortune Web Marketing.


"We have been talking about doing this for almost a year, and as I spoke with more and more independent dealers, they continually expressed the need to have a greater internet presence – especially on search engines."


One feature is that the entire product catalogue will display URLs that include keywords. As Stine explains: "When you are purchasing something from an e-commerce system, you usually see a URL with tons of meaningless characters in it. This package will convert those URLs to something along the lines of ‘toner-ink-cartridges-HP’. This is a crucial first step in ranking organically in engines for key search terms like toner, ink or HP."


In addition to the search engine product, AOS Ware is also launching custom graphics packages for its customers. "We don’t believe that every independent dealer’s e-commerce website should look the same," comments Dave Stewart, Senior Developer for AOS Ware.


"Instead, we feel that branding a site and offering different navigational schemes, rotating graphical promotions and high-end graphics, will give dealers an edge and really keep users coming back to their sites."