The NOAC 2015 trading post: Brisk and free-flowing business in patches, socks and … hoodies?

Trading-Post-5Scouts fill gray plastic buckets with T-shirts, hats, patches and other must-have mementos of the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference.

This year’s NOAC is unlike any before it, and it has a trading post to match.

NOAC 2015 trading post lead Kay Trick and her team accomplished this with what she calls an “IKEA-style flow.”

Let me explain.

NOAC trading posts always draw huge crowds, but in the past they were simple and linear.

At those previous NOACs, you were put into one of several lines. They were identical, single-file and one-way. Say you saw something you liked at the beginning of the line, decided to pass on it, but then changed your mind at the end of the line. You had two options: start over or ask someone to ask someone to ask someone to pass down what you wanted.

That’s all changed with the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference.

A better layout

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Now Arrowmen can browse the trading post at their leisure, bouncing from one section of the store to another, buying sunglasses, flying discs, luggage tags, blankets, umbrellas or pretty much anything you can think of with the OA logo on it.

The new approach is already a hit after one day. “Everybody’s loving it,” Trick says.

Trading-Post-7Eric Chase, inventory manager at the trading post, said the new format lets Arrowmen linger as they make vital choices, such as, do I buy this patch or that commemorative coin?

“Arrowmen are in here adding up in their head,” Chase says. A young man may have $50 to spend on souvenirs, so he has to decide exactly what he prioritizes most to make that money last.

And just what are Arrowmen prioritizing so far?

Chase says the hot-ticket items include a red belt with a centennial belt buckle, OA socks (in black or white) and hoodies. Wait, hoodies?

Yep. In one of the big surprises so far, hoodies are flying off the shelves. Sure, it’s summer, but hoodies are in style year-round. (That and tonight’s low in East Lansing, Mich., is 53.)

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A better checkout process, too

Trading-Post-13David Dowty, a former National Vice Chief who helped design the new format for the trading post, also helped the OA move to an enhanced checkout process.

By now you’ve probably been to a store or restaurant that uses Square, a smartphone- or tablet-based checkout system. This year, NOAC has ditched its push-button registers and entered the Square game.

Fourteen iPad-based registers, all Internet-connected and ready to accept cash or credit cards, make checking out a breeze.

Behind the scenes, Square makes tracking purchases a breeze, too. That means Trick and her team know what’s selling — and what isn’t — so they do their job better.

Online store

Check out the NOAC Trading Post’s online store.

NOAC coverage

See all of my NOAC coverage collected here.

About Bryan Wendell 2893 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.