Get Ready: NRF’s annual ‘Big Show’ starts next week

The Merchandising Matters team is traveling again to the 104th annual National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City. We are more than excited to see what key trends, buzzwords and strategies will be shaping the industry for the next year. With over 200,000 sq. ft of expo space, 575 solution providers, 60 exhibitors, 14 expo stage sessions and 11 Keynote sessions there is a LOT to see. That’s why we’ve given our recommendations on some of the sessions you shouldn’t miss out on:

Brick is the New Black: Reinventing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

When: Sunday, 3:15 – 4:15 pm

Where:  North Hall

This Keynote will explore how this shift in buyer behavior represents a unique opportunity for retail leaders to reposition brick-and-mortar stores at the center of the new customer experience. It will feature presentations by two retail executives who will offer their experiences and insights on transforming their current processes to deliver new and advanced capabilities that provide increased sales, faster inventory turns, higher margins and an optimized customer experience.

NRF President and CEO’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

When: Monday, 8:30 – 9:00 am

Where:  North Hall

 Global Economic Challenges and Opportunities for Success: A Conversation with Dr. Ben S. Bernanke

When: Monday, 9:00 – 10:00 am

Where:  North Hall

The leader of the US Federal Reserve during a momentous time of economic and financial crisis, Dr. Ben S. Bernanke offers keen insights and analysis of the current global economic landscape and challenges facing the world today. Hear Dr. Bernanke discuss macro-economic trends for US, global and emerging economies as well as retail’s impact on the US GDP. He’ll provide his valuable perspective and insights on how economies rise and fall in a moderated Q&A dialog led by Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman and CEO (Retired), Saks Inc. and NRF Chairman of the Board. Join one of the world’s leading economic minds, and gain a big-picture understanding of retail’s future.


This Year’s New Innovative Products – As Seen in the NRF iLab

When: Monday, 11:15 – 12:00 pm

Where:  Level 1 EXPO Hall, EXPO Stage

Exhibitor BIG !deas – Omni-channel Challenge: How to Bring the e-Tail Experience to the Store Floor

When: Monday, 12:45 – 1:30 pm

Where:  Level 1 EXPO Hall, Room 2

Take a quick look at some of the most interesting and innovative products finding their way into the marketplace, (and some that are still on the drawing board) from health, food and beauty, to lighting, home decor, wearables – and more. You’ll hear about the trends that are creating the surge in product advancements and how they’ve translated into various product areas. Experts will share the trends, show you the products and how they work, and you’ll have an opportunity to touch and see them up close in the NRF iLab located just outside the stage.

The “omni-channel challenge” is real for today’s major retailers. Winning the fulfillment wars and rededicating in-store associates to sales conversion activities are key strategic imperatives. Nick D’Alessio and Ed Tonkon of Zebra Technologies will discuss how retailers can effectively employ technology solutions to support the required transformation and to remain competitive.

When: Monday, 1:30 – 2:30 pm

Where: Hall A, 1A 21-22

Every retailer always wants to know what the “next big thing” will be in materials. Materials are now becoming components that meet specific needs and requirements with regard to sustainability, functionality, strength, durability and aesthetics. Three-dimensional printing is a prime example of where the future of materials is headed. It has emerged as a creative outlet for fabricators, designers and artisans alike and provides a way to bring unique ideas to life through rapid speed prototyping. But can it be applied in the retail industry? This session will explore the possibilities and opportunities for 3-D printing in the retail industry.

Exhibitor BIG !deas – Retail’s Future: Where Customer Experience and Employee Engagement Collide

When: Tuesday, 10:15 – 10:45 am

Where:  Level 1 EXPO Hall, Room 2

The evolution of customer and employee expectations is impacting business results for all retailers. In this session we will reveal new research on how employee engagement influences the customer experience and how that experience drives business results.

Global Gathering: Key Perspectives on International Merchandising

When: Tuesday, 10:30 – 11:30 am

Where: Hall E, 1E 12-16

If you’re a fashion brand planning to go global, or expanding into new markets, key strategic changes must be made to ensure this growth is successful. In this session, fashion retailers with international expansion expertise will evaluate how those embarking on the journey should adjust their design, development, product lifecycle process and supporting technology to facilitate and support global growth – and explain why it’s crucial to develop clear channels of communication and a change management roadmap throughout the process.

Retail Design Review: Designing the Customer Experience

When: Tuesday, 1:15 – 2:00 pm

Where: Level 1 EXPO Hall

While online commerce continues to grow by double digits, 90 percent of purchases still happen inside the bricks-and-mortar retail environment. With all of the outside factors of e-commerce and m-commerce coming into play, how are retailers enhancing their physical store spaces, and ultimately, their customer experience? Join Alison Embrey Medina, executive editor of design:retail magazine, as she explores some of the consumer trends and in-store applications that are redefining the retail marketplace as we know it.

Also some of the companies you should not miss checking out at the EXPO floor are RBM Technologies, SAP Retail, Reflexis Systems, Cisco and IBM. 

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