NRF 2019 Retail's Big Show - New York

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When it comes to being in the know, the crème-de-la-crème retail event to attend is New York's NRF Big Show. With over 16,000 retailers and 800 exhibitors, our team soaked up all the insight gems so that we can help you, our clients, create even more powerful retail environments.

Here's a recap video of the expo:

Our key takeouts from both the NRF expo and independent retail visits are:

  • Data is the new black. Well, we've known the importance of data for a while now, however, it's evident that everything is driven around gathering data on customers to make the shopping experience more personal and relevant
  • Service is key. AI, self-service and robotics all play a part, but they are no substitute for personal, one-on-one service provided by employees
  • Experience is paramount. Consumers will shop wherever they like, in-store or online. So to ensure that they shop in your store, providing them with a significant memorable experience is what will set you apart; otherwise, what’s the point of them getting off the couch? Levi’s, All Birds, Nike, Adidas, Tiffany’s, Starbucks are all leaders in developing new experiential formats
  • Logistics are vital. Providing options of fast and efficient delivery of product to your customers are increasingly important
  • Online businesses are shifting to physical presences. Businesses that started online; Amazon, Casper, Bonobos, Untuckit, Everlane etc. are quickly opening new physical store formats….everywhere. 10% online (which is estimated to top out at around 20-30%) vs 90% physical, means it’s a no brainer
  • In-store conversions are exponential. Conversion of online sales is less than 10%, whereas in-store this conversion rate rises to more than 50%
  • Mass customisation and mass personalisation are everywhere. Nike, Adidas, Converse – build your own shoes, Levi’s - on site tailoring, LuLu Lemon – Yoga Classes, Starbucks Roastery – personalisation of your Starbucks coffee mug, etc, etc. Differentiators and experience are game-changers
  • We can't become complacent. Tiffany’s (who, by the way, have the highest PSF sales rate of any retailer on earth – including Apple) are currently refurbishing their flagship 5th Ave store to ensure it meets the needs of consumers of the future – a $60M refurbishment. If Tiffany’s are aware they need to invest in their bricks and mortar environment, everyone else should be at least thinking about what’s next…
  • Flexibility of format footprints. The likes of Amazon understand the value of physical retail. They now have several physical store formats to meet customer demands including; Books, Go, 4 Star, PopUps … with more brands touted
  • Always continue to evolve your offer. Walmart is still the number one retail brand on earth with $500B in sales per annum. Number two is Kroger at $169B. Amazon is number four (and they weren’t even in the Top 20 two years ago). 15 years ago Sears was number one, they no longer feature even within Top 30. A timely reminder that you should never stop evolving, or you may become irrelevant.

Overall, the trip was a fantastic experience. Being immersed in examples of genuine creativity, innovation and craftmanship, showed how the retail industry is a buzz with game-changing concepts, and we're looking forward to discussing these ideas with you!

- January 2019