Five Key Takeaways from NRF19
We kicked-off 2019 in NYC at NRF19, also known as Retail’s Big Show, where we caught talks from everyone from Recode Decode’s Kara Swisher to Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer, Susie Wee. It was a busy exciting three days. Here are the five key takeaways that got us excited for the year ahead!
1 – Diversity is key
Diversity is driving conversations and change across numerous industries and retail is no different. James Fripp, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Yum Brands (notable chains include Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), suggest thinking of diversity in terms of “inclusive leadership,” rather than simply a box for a company to tick. Thinking of it from a leadership perspective also allows for a top-down effect.
2 – Stores aren’t dead. They’re evolving.
Despite Kara Swisher’s prediction that stores won’t exist in the future, not everyone thinks they’re dying out. Retail strategist Lee Peterson of WD Partners believes there are a number of advancements to be made in the brick-and-mortar space. To make those changes, however, retailers need to focus on changing the overall in-store experience. Think about the lure of a farmer’s market, for example, or the loyalty you show to your gym or fitness class. Retailers have to rethink the shopping experience and the concept of a “store” altogether.
3 – Learn from direct-to-consumer brands
Traditional retailers, legacy retailers, big box retailers, they’re all picking up tricks and tips from direct-to-consumer brands. From understanding how digital brands build a community to how they tap directly into consumer needs, retailers are starting to study what direct-to-consumer brands already know. Target’s savvy partnership with online mattress brand Casper, is just one example of how traditional retail can leverage the digital experience.
4 – Retail data
Brick-and-mortar retailers are sitting on a wealth of insights and data – they simply have to uncover it. Susie Wee, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Cisco DevNet, affirmed that there’s a big opportunity for retailers in brick-and-mortar analytics. Retailers need to tap into the data that already exists across the physical and digital space to gain customer and business insights.
5 – Practical tech
Drone delivery and fancy robot sorting systems might look impressive, but do they really improve the customer experience? The most exciting tech is the tech that has practical applications that can serve the customer. In-store technology that offers another touchpoint for a consumer to interact with your brand and for your brand to tell a story directly to the customer? That’s innovation.