NRF 2014 kicked off in anger today and what a show it promises to be. “Perspective Elevated” is the strap line for the 103rd annual convention and Expo and that seems very appropriate when one considers the position retail has within both the economy and our society.
Never has retail been in such a pivotal and dynamic place within the economy and our society. The importance and significance cannot be underestimated. And this is underlined by the fact that RetailsBIGShow will receive a congressional delegation tomorrow aimed at highlighting many of the technologies retailers are using to enhance the customer experience; especially digital and mobile technology.
And it is in this context that the significance of retail is displayed, with over 29,000 retail professionals attending NRF is now a hugely popular and important event on the global retrial calendar.
To put the industry in perspective, in the US retail generates 20% of the nation’s GDP, is responsible for more than 42 million US jobs and pays more than one sixth of all domestic wages. Indeed, in the US retail has more finance jobs than Wall Street and employees more engineers than Silicon Valley.
So it is against this backdrop that the Expo begins tomorrow; mobile, analytics, Big Data, integration of social media, customer experience are sure to feature strongly and as ever it will be fascinating to learn how the retail industry is using technology to drive value and sales.
Never before has it been so crucial for retailers to win a share of our wallets and as the competition to do so becomes ever tougher, so does the innovation displayed by retailers.
Omni-channel has come and gone; “always-on brand immersion” is the key for retailers; how they hope to achieve this is what I hope the next two days will help to reveal.