NRF18 - Key Highlights

This year’s NRF show was as phenomenal as ever.  While only the brave venture to NYC in January – the quality of the meetings and seeing the latest from industry players was as predicted- amazing.  Note- I start off the series events by doing a little “Primary Research”- looking into what are the best retail experiences Manhattan has to offer.  This year I enjoyed shopping Wooster street- where “digital first” retailer M.Gemi has a physical store.  If handmade Italian shoes are to your liking then check them out.  I noted new this year up the street was an Untuckit shop-  again a retailer started on E-Commerce now expanding rapidly to 100+ stores by 2022.  The BEST part of NRF is starting it right on a Saturday morning (yes you heard me correctly) – at the ROI Super Saturday event.  This is a great way to network with retail executives and key sponsors as well as industry analysts- while helping charities globally that benefit orphans.  In 2017 Retail ROI helped children in 14 countries through 27 grants- all funded by sponsor organizations.  Earmark the time for your NRF 2019 experience it is well worth it.

Sunday was day one of the show and I use this day to try to pack in as many ecosystem meetings as possible before the craziness ensues on Monday.  This year I took in the Innovation area- and enjoyed hearing from startup executives what innovation they are bringing to the industry.  I really liked FineMine’s crisp articulation of value- they can enable more “outfit” shopping on a web site and drive higher conversion rates as well as bigger basket sizes.  With a typical 10x payback on investment this is something to consider on the e-commerce side of the house.  Also of interest to me was the Bossa Nova Robot- they are now going into 8 production stores for Loew’s and soon Bevmo.  With a 6x payback this can be a great way to augment staff as well as ensure compliance to planogram. 


Day two of the show I was focused on the “Grab and Go” concept- is it real or hype?  I was able to find 6 demos (too many to list here) and a few that are ready now for store deployments.  I think the winning solution here will be to have the retailer get started on what works for their brand – and learn quickly from pilots what a production solution may look like.  As evidenced by the Amazon Go roll out- learning and refining the experience will be key – they took over a year to move into production. 

Day three was the day to wrap things up!  I did focus this day more on the analytics solutions in the Retail industry- again looking for what is ready now.  The great news is there are a myriad of suppliers with various solutions.  If you want to analyze your inventory replenishment, store assortment or even the freshness of produce items- there are solutions ready to go.  Traffic/heat mapping of stores was featured in over 10 booths- so again shame on you if you don’t have the data now…I did end the evening at a wonderful dinner hosted by Microsoft Retail Australia in conjunction with Telstra.  At this dinner I heard from multiple retailers that they are now sufficiently concerned about the competitive threat Amazon and Alibaba will bring to their ecosystem.  By attending the show’s event in a cohort format they were able to network and share concerns in a ‘safe’ environment. 


This is just a brief summary of the multi-day event.  Be sure to stay in touch by signing up for my quarterly newsletters on the page!