Retail NRF New York

What to look out for at NRF 2017

It’s that time when all the blood sweat and tears pay off and the fever of activity reaches its glorious crescendo in New York City.Yes, it’s NRF’s Big Show. As we at Retail in Detail get ready to pack our bags for a week in Manhattan, we just have time to mark your card about some things to look out for this year.

Trends

Our friend Kate Ancketill from GDR Creative Intelligence will be giving the trend keynote at NRF. We’re not allowed to say exactly what she’ll be talking about, but we can say that she has a great way of joining the dots to bring the Big Picture into focus. She’s particularly enthused by the beta testing of Amazon Go and the possible directions this offers, and has already said that the coming year will be nothing less than a “step change” in global retail.

Kate says “Technology affords retailers new ways to integrate into the ecosystem of their clientele’s lives. From conversational interfaces to adaptable automation, and from artificial intelligence to hyperpersonalisation, there are a host of new ways that manufacturing and the customer journey can be more in tune with consumer needs.” We can’t wait.

Themes

There’s no escaping personalisation, it’s inarguably one of the very hottest topics right now for very good reason: it’s key to customer experience, and it’s where technology meets the customer. Many of the best sessions at NRF this year are either directly or indirectly revolving around the personalisation agenda. ‘How Data will Replace Discounting: Lessons from Uber, Point 93 and Orchard Mile’ is a panel discussion on the new climate of dynamic markets and communications, looking at how data-driven dialogue will mean an end to discounting, paving the way for more relevant shopping experiences.

After a year of political surprise and upheaval, it’s no surprise that globalisation is on the agenda, including the session ‘Move Over, Globalization: Community Retail has Arrived’, which will challenge retailers to grow their international footprint at the same time as creating local customer relationships.

Omnichannel is mature! And it’s here to stay. While the success stories continue, the rapid rise of omnichannel customer journeys has resulted in the need to reinvent the last mile. In ‘The Global Challenge to Reinvent the Last Mile in Retail: Insights from Sainsbury’s Argos’ Bertrand Bodson gives an in-depth look at getting the multichannel experience of the last mile right.

Kit

Unless you’re an NRF newbie, it’s no secret that the Expo is many people’s favourite part of the week. It’s where the rubber hits the road, it’s where the theory that the convention sessions are talking about meets the real-world proof of hardware and software solutions. It’s a chance to try out some real kit through product demos, and to hear the latest success stories and case studies.

Want to know if the time’s right for you to trial Augmented Reality? Want to make your costly Click & Collect operations profitable? The Expo is where you should spend some quality time.

Shops

Past experience has proved that it’s a challenge to take much time out from the NRF whirl to remind yourself that you’re in the most exciting city on earth and one that does retail better than any. Should you find time, Cate Trotter of Insider Trends has tipped us off over four recent openings worth taking time out from the Javits Centre to remind yourself what this shopping thing is all about.

Swedish fashion brand Acne have just opened their largest flagship ever, on Madison Avenue in the heart of NYC, using gold as the signature note throughout the 2,000-square-foot space. Brooklyn design brand Pelle has relocated their showroom, workshop and offices to a new self-designed space in the Flatiron District, with more design-minded clientele on tap in an area that’s creatively on fire right now.

Portuguese luxury shoe brand Josefinas have opened their first retail store in NYC in the city’s Nolita neighbourhood, creating an elegant space to showcase their shoes. Independent concept store Calliope describes itself acting as a ‘shoppable living room’ and hosts experiences like crate-digging with performances from DJs, photography classes and cocktail-making. Sounds unmissable.

Sleep

You’re unlikely to get any. That’s what the rest of January is for.

If you’re going to NRF: have a good one! See you on the other side …