Learnings of NRF 2019

Three things we learned from the biggest retailers in the world at NRF;
When the CEOs of Target, Macy’s and leaders of Ali Baba come together to discuss the retil world it is worth paying
attention. Welcome to National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show held in New York City this past month.
The NRF annual expo brings together some of the greatest success stories in retail. It gives a forum for large
established corporations and rising-talent alike to share their views of the future of retail. Particularly
interesting are their predictions regarding the next 12 months of the retail world.
What are three things that we learned from the NRF 2019 Big Show?

“Retail is not back…It never went away”

Giving customers the most convenient and frictionless service has long been a goal of the retail world. Many
incorrectly predicted that this would mean a shift to predominantly online transactions. This was once again proven
to be wrong – very wrong – at NRF this year. Whilst an online presence is important as part of an overall strategy,
“retail consumers spend $100 more than online consumers on their first purchase” (1). This emphasizes the need for
retailers to create a physical environment where customers can grasp the full potential of the products on sale.
Providing a compelling online connected commerce online as a complement to a physical retail location is key.
Equipping stores with touchpoints and omnichannel purchase and return options is the goal of brick and mortar
retailers in 2019.

We consider our stores our single biggest competitive advantage

Why does a $17.8 billon-turnover (2) retail powerhouse Target continue to invest enthusiastically in brick and mortar
retail locations? CEO Brian Cornell fielded the question. He stated that their physical stores are “service and
fulfilment hubs” and crucially “incredible showrooms for inspiration,”(3). Target has drawn praise for the
relationships it creates with customers instore. It first encourages click-and-collect culture. But then maximises
this opportunity by building relationships with clients when they enter stores. This is resulting in a boom for the
retail giant. In fact, it is said that “three out of every four digital Target orders are fulfilled by a store”(3).

“Our brand is not about any product we sell, it’s about the relationships that are created.”

Building meaningful and long-lasting relationships was a major theme of NRF 2019. Why? Because in a world of
changing technologies it can be easy to take the focus away from the client. Yet the latest in retail technologies
make it easier than ever to continue relationships with customers long after they have left the store. It allows
the retailer to build a clearer picture of the customers needs and shopping desires. This information is then used
to create a shopping experience that is built with the client in clear view. As they indicate to the retailer their
preferences, they contribute to a bespoke and more enjoyable visit. In short as one keynote speaker put it you
“invite the customer to be a producer and a consumer”.
NRF emphasizes that retail in physical stores is booming and that it is important for retailers not to miss this
wave of opportunity. Technology is more specifically aligned than ever before to provide the inspiring and,
importantly, personal experience that the consumer of 2019 is looking for. Check out how you can use this technology
to your advantage by browsing the selection found at