What's new at the National Retail Federation Big Show 2012 Special

Posted Jan 18, 2012 by Jacki Viles
The National Retail Federation hosted the 101st Retail’s Big Show 2012 at the Javits Convention Center in NYC earlier this week. From all accounts attendance was at an all-time high. Everyone was very enthusiastic and there was much to see.
National Retail Federation Big Show
National Retail Federation Big Show
This is the biggest retail trade show of the year. Nearly 40 percent of the retailers who attend are presidents and managing directors with purchasing power. This year’s keynote speaker was former US President, Bill Clinton. With over 500 vendors representing 82 countries and 175 speakers, this really is a big show.
The takeaway message was that there are economic signs that the tide is turning as retail sales edge slowly up. All the attendees are eagerly anticipating better days to come.
Those forward thinking companies who offer a bridge between the brick and mortar presence and E-commerce solutions by using social media and mobility applications are the clear winners this year. You couldn’t get near the Ingenico booth, whose offerings of payment solutions, hand-held POS devices and a full suite of management tools would make an operations officer and an IT director feel like a kid in a candy store.
National Retail Federation Big Show 2012
National Retail Federation Big Show 2012
Technology is defining a new customer experience. But the focus is the same as it was since time began:
Get the customer into the store or get the customer to visit your web site.
Get the customer to buy something.
Get the customer to come back. Oh! And get them to bring their friends.
At the end of the day it comes down to money. Brick and mortar stores are expensive to run and social media kiosks, PCI compliance, wireless devices, data analytics, POS hardware and the people who run them don’t come cheap.
National Retail Federation Big Show 2012
National Retail Federation Big Show 2012
The last few years have not been kind to retail. Money is very tight. But mobility raises the ante and the way retailers do business is changing at break neck speed.
Integrate a branded web site with a brick and mortar store and offer a customer experience that is so mind blowing that the customer will shop with your store in person or online before they ever think of going anywhere else. It’s a good plan. But designing the right customer experience and getting your vision onto the sales floor is an expensive gamble. Move too slow and you jump the shark. Move too fast and you’ll roll out buggy annoying concepts that alienate customers and frustrate sales associates.
No doubt this is an exciting time to be a retailer. Let’s hope it’s an exciting time for the consumers!