Event Recap: What We Saw at NRF’s The Big Show

A few members of the Narvar team were out representing at NRF’s Big Show in NYC last week, and they had plenty to report back on after all was said and done.

With 35,000 industry professionals and 13,000 retailers in attendance, last week’s conference was definitely the place to be to find out what’s abuzz in the industry today. And from AI to to the EU, there were plenty of topics and themes that stood out this year’s NRF event.

Three key themes in particular stood out to the Narvarians in attendance:

Post-purchase is officially official.

One big thing that struck the team at the Big Show was the inclusion of ‘post-purchase’ as a category in the Innovation Lab, which showcased the technologies that are changing the retail game. As we’ve been preaching the importance of this part of the customer journey for some time now (we did define the category, after all), it’s rewarding to see NRF highlight it at their Big Show as well.

More and more, the role of the post-purchase journey in the larger scheme of things is being recognized as a key place for retailers to inspire more trust and loyalty, gaining more life-long customer advocates than one-time shoppers in the process. Now is the time for forward-thinking industry players to really think about how they can build all-encompassing brand experiences and better engage customers at every touchpoint.

An international affair.

From Brazil to the UK, the international presence was definitely obvious at this year’s conference. Grocery retailers, apparel retailers, furniture retailers—every kind of retailer, really—from all over the world joined global technology providers at the Big Show to see what’s out there currently and what’s coming up next.

The retail industry is only becoming more and more connected beyond the traditional borders. Retailers and other industry leaders should really be thinking about how well-equipped they are to grow their businesses globally and deliver on evolving customer expectations around the world.

Robots, robots, and even more robots.

It should come as no surprise that automation and AI were pretty much headliners at the NRF event. There were robots that are equipped to help manage warehouse inventory inefficiencies, robots that can scan human faces to recognize emotions and make decisions accordingly, even robots that can create personalized notes that look handwritten.

The point is that the robots are most definitely here to stay. But the greatest part about that is that they’re here to help retailers deliver better customer experiences—at scale—across the board. From chatbots that handle WISMO questions to voice-activated replenishment ordering, the machines will help make life easier for both consumers and the brands they buy from.

The Narvar team had a great time hearing about the next big thing(s) at NRF in NYC, and we can’t wait to learn even more about what’s to come at next week’s Narvar Summit here in SF.