The BIG Picture of Retail’s BIG Show 2015

Elina Saarenmaa


Our Walkbase Team kicked off the year 2015 at the retail industry’s flagship event, NRF’s 104th Annual Convention & EXPO. The event was held in January 11-13th, in Javits Centre in New York City. The NRF BIG Show gathered more than 33 000 attendees, numerous international delegations from more than 80 countries, and 575 exhibitors. 

Everyone in the retail industry knows that the NRF BIG Show is a-must-go - and we do agree. We had to go all the way to the US, to meet and greet key people in the retail industry from all around the world. For those who are yet to experience the Big Show: It’s about meeting everyone, not just the Americans -- The most of the discussions in our booth were with Europeans, of course we also encountered many Asians and South Americans, even a fair number of people from our own hoods in Scandinavia.  

BIG insights about the Show

The BIG Show is the place to experience the future of commerce, give thoughts on current trends, and reveal the latest solutions. Visionary industry leaders unveil the secrets of the future, and share their knowledge, and new ideas. Based on what we experienced, this year's event focused mainly on the following themes:

    - Digital retail innovation

    - Global Strategies

    - Marketing and brand management

    - Merchandising strategies 

    - Mobile retailing

    - Store experience

    - Technology trends and applications

With these topics, everyone in the retail industry was guaranteed to find thought-provoking talks and interesting sessions that provide new ideas, and broaden horizons. Even though everything’s BIG at the show, the attendees varied from small store owners to top retail executives. There were hundreds of sessions and miles of the EXPO, so everyone was guaranteed to have something for their plate. For us, it was important to network with industry pioneers and share experiences with our peers.

What’s BIG in the retail industry in 2015?    

Jennifer Polk from Gartner stated at the BIG Show: "Customer experience and engagement is about designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet and exceed customer expectations, and increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy". The whole retail industry was there for looking the ways to enhance the retail experience for their customers today and in the future. For example, Kohl’s was featured in a roundtable discussion with all the digital initiatives, about developing and deploying the beacon technology. Instead of pushing offers to people’s smart devices, they are more concerned about creating an experience for the customer with a high level of personalization that make their most valuable customers feel like they are being treated differently. The retailer is currently testing the location awareness technology in 22 stores in both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy markets. “We haven’t cracked the nut on beacons just yet,” Kohl’s EVP of digital innovation Ratnakar Lavu says, “But one thing is for sure for us it is not just about the offer, it is the offer and the experience.” 

See You Next Year at the BIG Show

It was obvious at the Show that people tracking, in-store analytics, beacons, and customer engagement were the hot topics there - everyone talked about them. Our booth attracted a lot of traffic, since visitors were interested in asking questions about our technology, in-store analytics and omnichannel digital marketing. The show was a great success for us, by opening lots of possibilities and meaningful relationships -- more to be revealed later!

The trade show can’t get any BIGger than this, so for sure, see you there again next year.

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Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.