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2016: The year of the customer

Our friends at the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the US have just kicked off the New Year with a bang, courtesy of Retail’s BIG Show which has just concluded in New York City.  The BIG Show is the single biggest retail trade event globally on our annual calendar, with around 35,000 delegates converging on the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre in Manhattan to tap into the latest trends, insights and innovations that will shape the retail sector both now, and into the future.

This year the challenge of engaging customers across more channels has been at the forefront of many of the conversations at the BIG Show.  How do retailers continue to capture consumers ‘hook, line and sinker’, keeping them loyal for the long-haul?

Often it means looking at the world through a new lens, particularly given the ever-changing nature of mobile technologies in today’s retail environment.  The immediacy of digital channels and particularly social media have changed consumers’ needs and motivations, which means that retailers need to get better at not just understanding what their customers do, but why they do it!

Leading brands are now changing their customers’ preferences and tastes based on both exposure and experience.  The most successful retail players all have hooks that end in changed habits for their customers, and more sales for them.

Another recurring theme at the BIG Show centred around ‘Millennials’, those younger consumers who are the key to the future of retail.  Much of the discussion focused on embedding retail into communities, creating more vibrant local ecosystems in conjunction with the likes of hospitality and tourism providers.  In the US, places that have seen particularly hard times recently such as Detroit, New Orleans and Pittsburgh are at the forefront of this ongoing revitalisation.  It’s where creativity and development, in terms of products and the places they come from, are intertwined with people, generating a very real sense of pride and connectedness for merchants and their customers alike.

I’m thrilled that Matthew Shay, the NRF’s CEO will be joining us at shop.kiwi in Auckland this month to share his thoughts on the world of retail.  To get a flavour of Matthew’s take on where retail’s at, and where it’s likely to be heading, why not watch his opening remarks from this year’s BIG Show highlights.

If you haven’t booked your place at shop.kiwi yet make sure you jump online today and reserve your seat at our inaugural shop.kiwi forum – we’ve got a great line-up of local and international speakers who’ve all got some great tips and hints on how to to kick-start your 2016 retail year.

I look forward to hopefully seeing you at Sky City this month.

Happy New Year!

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