NRF Big Show 2018 Summary …

NRF Big Show 2018 Summary …

Just back in from the NRF Big Show in New York, the largest global retail event. Claiming around 35 000 delegates this year, they better watch out, Online Retailer 2018 is on their tails! The NORA Network were official partners with Deloitte on a study tour delegation from Australia, with some fantastic retailers on board. Microsoft also ran a study tour, and it was very gratifying to see the agendas of these two groups intersect. With collaboration and alliances a big part of the retail conversation, Deloitte and Microsoft leadership in David White and Marcy Larsen, were living it. Well done.

The Australian delegation this year was the largest I had seen in my five years of attending the show. And it was pleasing to hear the CEO of the NRF talking about very bullish macroeconomic retail data coming out of the US economic reporting. A great way to ribbon cut such an important event learning that US retail was up 5.5% on the previous Christmas period.

With such a vast show, it is very difficult to summarize in a paragraph or two, the key themes. Retail is a broad church of course, and the topics and conversations very diverse. As one might expect, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Voice (Alexa and Echo) got the lions share of the ‘ what’s big and getting bigger’ in technology-led retail. Stand out presentations included Levi’s president James ‘J.C.’ Curleigh discussed how Levi’s keeps one foot rooted in the heritage of the brand, with the other foot driving it forward. He also highlighted the brand’s recent trucker jacket collaboration with Google. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon chatted about technology and digital commerce. Walmart has had a stellar run, proving that established retailers who jump onto the digital opportunity are in a great position. A panel of some of the new rock star entrepreneurs included Michael Lastoria, creating a culture of positivity and personal empowerment through an “anti-establishment establishment” at &Pizza, to a celebration of adults “playing like kids” at Museum of Ice Cream, founded by Manish Vora. The panel was moderated by Rachel Shechtman, founder and of a fascinating retailer STORY. They change their stores’ themes and products every six weeks or so.

These are just some snippets from the NRF Big Show 2018,  but the key themes and focus will of course be discussed and displayed at Online Retailer in July, see you there!

 Paul Greenberg

Founder – NORA Network

Advisory Board Member – Online Retailer

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