January is always the month I vow to fill my diary with as many networking events as I can pack in. So far so good, although one which might be a stretch to make is the US-based annual Retail’s BIG show from the National Retail Federation (NRF). The start of a new year always brings a wave of future-gazing as we try and get to grips with the need-to-know retail trends and NRF’s BIG show has, for several years, been lending itself as the space in which to do just that.
For those of us across the pond, here’s our guide from afar on the not-to-be-missed seminars and big names tipped to be there.
- Innovation Lab
As much as it may sound like a buzz word, the Innovation Lab is where a lot of the exciting stuff will be happening as we look to understand emerging technology, its potential for retailers and the end impact on the customer. Comprising a mix of exhibitors and quick-fire product presentations, topics will include virtual reality, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as wearable tech and 3D printing. These may be areas the community is already well versed in; what will be interesting however, is looking at what retailers will need to do to successfully integrate these technologies into their long-term strategy.
- Big-name speakers
Not a surprise given the size of the event, but some of the names speaking at this year’s show include Richard Branson, along with pretty much every brand from Walmart and Macys to American Express and Levi’s. They’re likely to be jam-packed so get there in plenty of time to grab a seat. One of the panels I’ve got my eye on is ‘Data to delight: an instore-driven revolution of the In-Store Experience.’ I love all things customer journey related so this talk should be a good one for anyone looking to glean some insights and ask ‘where next?’ after omnichannel.
- A post-omnichannel world?
Talking of omnichannel (are we still saying that?) I’ve spotted a lot this year about joining the dots across the customer journey. Again, not a new topic, but 2017 seems to be the year retailers will get on top of analysing the customer journey, and will do so in a way that’s centralised, transparent and accessible. One seminar which might hold some answers is ‘Driving retail transformation: how data and smart connected technology deliver amazing customer experiences.’ Brian Krzanich at Intel and Carrie Ask from Levi Strauss & Co. will delve into where, when and how retailers are transacting.
Heading to NRF? Tweet us at @fourthdaypr with your favourite technologies, talks and other goings-on!
Meanwhile, you can catch up on our recent New York adventures over on the Fourth Day blog here.
Lizzie is an Associate Director in the Manchester team