NRF 2017 Highlights: Big Innovations, Connections and Solutions
By Tom O'Reilly / January 2017Events, News
This year’s Big Show, the NRF’s 106th Annual Convention and Expo, included 35,000 attendees from 910 countries. Promising BIG innovations, connections and solutions, the 2017 National Retail Federation event hosted 3,300 retailers, 510 exhibitors and 300 speakers.
Here are some highlights:
On January 15th the NRF Foundation introduced RISE Up, Retail Industry Skills & Education, a new retail training and credentialing program. Since retail represents one in four American jobs, top retailers are evolving to educate the 21st century workforce, taking steps to better train and compensate associates. RISE Up brings together 21 merchants – including Walmart, Macy’s, Target, Neiman Marcus and Under Armour – who’ve pledged to drive new, untapped talent into the retail industry. Offering ongoing support and training for promising staffers already within a company’s ranks, RISE Up kicks off with Retail Industry Fundamentals, a 15-module formal training program designed to introduce entry-level associates in stores, distribution centers and call centers to core retail technologies and tools, as well as customer service, retail math, inventory and interview skills.
Customization, Personalization and Perfecting Customer Experience
Consumers are demanding an elevated customer experience from retailers. Shoppers are attracted to brands that offer personal, custom, digital and social experiences. The NRF keynote presentation, Tailoring the 21 Century Customer Experience, featured Jodie Fox, co-founder and CEO of Shoes of Prey, and Drew Green, CEO and director of INDOCHINO. Shoes of Prey allows shoppers to design their own shoes using digital tools that show how different materials, toe shapes, heels and other style choices can be combined to produce a tailor-made item. INDOCHINO produces custom suits by letting shoppers input their measurements and choosing styles and fabrics. The suits are delivered in just a few weeks to customers’ doors more affordably than a traditional bespoke suit.
Technology plays a tremendous role in both brands’ customer experience. Shoes of Prey puts 3D technologies and other tools in the hands its customers – including celebrities and other shoe enthusiasts – to create a design-your-own shopping paradigm. INDOCHINO combines traditional tailoring expertise with a dynamic digital platform, a vertically integrated supply chain and one-to-one production on a mass scale to create highly personalized fit.
Driving Customer Experiences Through Data
“Data is the new oil,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, implying that analyzing and interpreting data has as much possibility for changing the world. During a session about driving retail transformation through data and smart, connected technology, Krzanich said data will impact retail in three specific ways: re-inventing the in-store experience, utilizing the power of data analytics and then creating what Intel calls the “store of the future.”
One of the session’s live demonstrations showed the use of virtual reality to allow consumers to shop while in a virtual version of their own home. This allows retailers to get data on what customers are looking at, styles they like, colors they’re looking for and what they put in their shopping carts but don’t purchase. The insights are similar to the online shopping experience but now retailers can gather data while shoppers are in-store.
Krzanich was joined onstage by Carrie Ask, executive vice president and president of global retail with Levi Strauss & Co. Ask described several Levi stores testing Intel’s “real-time, all-the-time inventory insights” through RFID tags on all items and ceiling-mounted sensors. The growing popularity of online shopping combined with instore pickup makes the accuracy of shelf-level inventory in-stocks more important than ever, so the sale and the customer won’t be lost.
The session emphasized how retailers can leverage data for a more engaging customer experience, increased sales, and lower operating costs.
Data Propels Promotions Analytics and Forecasting
At our booth, we unveiled our latest enhancements to the Aptaris platform, highlighting our promo- analytics and promo-forecasting capabilities with our strategic partner, dunnhumby, the world’s leading customer science company.
Now, dunnhumby’s forecasting and promotions analytics within the Aptaris software platform delivers a solution that includes customer-centric strategy empowered by data, science-based merchandising and automated marketing – all in a single-system technology.
For many retailers, promotional planning continues to be chaotic. The Aptaris platform powered by dunnhumby science, helps retailers manage marketing, minimize manual processes, and arm them with data for more accurate forecasting and faster decision-making.
We left the Big Show energized and enthusiastic about the future of our industry! You can join us in embracing the future of retail and adopt the advancements that are available now by contacting us to learn more about our latest enterprise marketing and promotions management software.
Tom O’Reilly – President and CEO, Aptaris. Tom has a deep understanding of the retail business from both the store and vendor perspectives. He brings decades of hands-on experience in advertising and promotions including new media innovations. As an entrepreneur, he has transformed each organization he has worked with. Tom is a forward-thinking leader with a history of driving innovation, growth and profitability. As an avid reader, Tom is always enthusiastically sharing cutting-edge ideas with clients and colleagues.