#NRF16: Thoughts direct from Retail's Biggest Show

  • Opinion
  • January 21, 2016
  • Scott Bradley
#NRF16: Thoughts direct from Retail's Biggest Show

Opening day

NRF’s annual convention and expo earned the nickname “Retail’s Big Show” years ago. The name was so appropriate, it stuck. Held every January in New York City, Retail’s Big Show is the industry’s flagship event. In four days – that go by amazingly fast – it offers unparalleled education, collegial networking, and an enormous expo hall full of technologies and solutions.

Once again, VMob is front-and-center in the Microsoft booth, which is No. 2803. We’ve been incredibly busy since arriving – conducting training classes and setting up our stand in what couldn’t be better positioning – at the entrance of the exhibit hall, in our partner’s massive 5600+ square ft. booth. Last year at NRF, VMob showcased our work with McDonald’s. This year we’re demonstrating another fascinating initiative: the convenience store of the future. The show opened only a few hours ago and it’s already commanding significant interest from attendees.

Overall, I’m particularly pleased to see that so much of the show’s focus is on the intelligent cloud and intelligent interactions. That’s squarely in our wheelhouse, making #NRF16 the year of VMob. Looking forward to helping attendees learn how they can engage their customers in-store using our solutions to increase sales.

Watch this space…further updates as soon as time permits.

Day two

As I walked around this morning – the start of the second day here at NRF – one trend that popped out at me is connected devices. Whether working with store-assistant enabled selling devices or the point-of-sale system, we’re seeing Internet of Things in the retail environment coming into an integrated ecosystem. Like a well-orchestrated symphony, hand-offs between retailers and consumers become seamless thanks to the connectedness of each device in the chain. In the age of Big Data, this is particularly important; everything working together helps to ensure that retailers have a breadth of actionable information about their customers.

Building on this, we’re also seeing an increase in consumer-facing technology, such as communication devices that give sales assistants a step up in their ability to understand the customer’s desires before they even get to the store. It’s no surprise that customers often spend time researching a product before setting foot in the store; by knowing what the customer is looking for ahead of time, sales assistants can focus in on those products that meet the customers’ needs and help ensure the customer is happy and the sale is made.

It’s fascinating to see this trend unfold across the NRF show floor, and there are some very interesting products here. One that stands out, is the use LED lighting and customers’ mobile devices to give highly accurate in-store location services. It’s services like this that not only provide great utility for consumers and give them good reason to be using a retailer’s app, but also provide really granular data for use in further personalization of experience and re-targeting customers.

I’ll share more as the show progresses. In the meantime, stop by and see VMob in front of Booth #2803 where we’re demonstrating the convenience store of the future.

This copy originally appeared on VMob’s blog.

For those who'd like a more detailed look inside the show, here's the NRF’s official recap of Retail’s Big Show in video format.

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