Four must attend sessions: NRF15

Retail’s BIG Show 2015

The greatest retail show on earth is almost upon us, taking place at the Jacob Javits Convention Centre in New York January 11th – 14th; here Andrew Busby takes his pick of the must attend sessions at NRF 2015.

  • “Brick is the new black: reinventing the brick and mortar experience”


One of the most fascinating aspects of today’s retail landscape is that, after years of focusing exclusively on online trade, it is now dawning on us that the stores have perhaps an even greater role to play than ever before. In a world where the consumer is engaged and connected 24/7, the realisation now is that whilst online is quick, convenient and easy, shopping is an intrinsically social, sensory activity which generally we like to enjoy. With this in mind, and whilst online continues to grow it still only accounts for approx. 15% of total sales, meaning that stores have an ever increasing role in the overall engagement with the consumer.

When: Sunday 11th 15:15 – 16:15 Where: North Hall

  • “Optimising Omni-channel: Lessons and Insights from industry leaders”


The title of this keynote is a bit of a giveaway; I’m always intrigued to hear from people who have the job title ‘Chief Omnichannel Officer’. For one thing, the term omnichannel suggests that these retailers are still playing catchup and are yet to embrace the new normal world of millennials. But the fact that the likes of Macy’s and Lowe’s have people in these positions suggests that they are worth listening to as despite everything, these retailers will be at the forefront in their industry. One of the most interesting aspects of all this is not what’s happening at the front end, it’s about what’s being done at the back-end – the business operating model – to transform a retail business used to the traditional bricks and mortar model of retailing.

When: Monday 12th 10:30 – 11:30 Where: Special Events Hall (1DMR)

  • “The New Digital Divide”


Consumer expectations of the experience they wish to receive from retailers and the actual reality are very much far apart; this is a central issue for retail right now: how to engage – and therefore drive loyalty – with the customer? Digital is not just about kiosks, interactive mirrors, RFID, mobile, iPads – if used in an elegant way it drives conversion, customer individualisation and – loyalty. As the new normal shows us, moving from a sales led organisation to one which places customer engagement and experience at the heart of everything, involves a leap of faith few retailers seem able to make. Embracing a digital world goes a long way to achieving that.

When: Tuesday 13th 08:30 – 10:00 Where: North Hall

  • “Scaling the Great Wall of China”


Because any session which includes on the panel an Executive from Alibaba is an absolute MUST for anyone attending NRF15.

When: Tuesday 13th 13:45 – 14:45 Where: Hall A, 1A 10-14


Andrew Busby is Retail Business Head at Zensar Retail

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