More than 37,000 retailers and industry partners from 90+ countries descended on New York for the NRF 2018 trade event the week of January 14, 2018. Because this was one of my favorite NRF's to date, a series of posts will follow.
An annual tradition is to walk the floor observing the technology themes, speaking to lots of retailers and industry friends, and creating my own personal list of the foundational ideas that are evolving the retail industry.
From an initial list of 20+ observations, following are my top 10 quick takeaway trends of NRF 2018.
At its roots, retail has always been a human covenant between a shopkeeper and a consumer. For much of the industry's history, the transactional interactions were highly personal. The shopkeeper welcomed the customer by their name and adapted the goods sold based on their preferences.
Present-day mobile devices connected to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) are appreciably digitally disrupting consumer commerce. By 2020, retail shopping, no longer a chore, will blur into your everyday life.
A key highlight of 2017 was a retail customer panel that I had the pleasure of moderating. Four executives (two recently retired and two still active) representing over $70 billion in revenue shared their insights on industry megatrends, driving disruptive change, choosing a technology partner, and the future of retail.
The Retail Megatrends
"Step with care and great tact, and remember that Shopping's a Great Balancing Act." (1)
As we enter the busiest shopping season of 2017, I started reflecting on the differentiation strategies for a successful transition to the digital future of retail. What are the definitive formulas for retail success in 2018 and beyond?
McKinsey in October 2017, published a great article on shopping and personalized marketing. "Targeted communications that are relevant and useful can create lasting customer loyalty and drive revenue growth of 10 to 30 percent."
As part of their marketing personalization analysis, McKinsey pointed to this simple formula:
Couple of weeks ago had the pleasure of co-hosting a Retailer Performance Council for Tyco Retail Solutions in New York. This post was inspired by now customary welcome toast for our distinguished retail guests and a presentation by Dr. Sanjay Sarma from MIT titled 'The Inversion Factor - How to Thrive in the IoT Economy'.
History of RFID
In December 2016, Amazon Go was introduced to the world. The premise of the new 'Just Walk-Out technology' store was to empower consumers to walk-in, pick up any products, and track it all through a virtual shopping cart. "When you're done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we'll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt."
Click LINK to see the Amazon Go video
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the World Department Stores Forum 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Forty five retail CEOs joined 300 attendees in an industry event titled "Digital and Brick-n-Mortar: One Magic Experience".
The host for the 5th Annual Edition was the Canadian luxury department store chain Holt Renfrew. The Forum is co-organized by the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS), the largest association for department stores worldwide. IGDS has 41 members from 38 countries on all continents generating $89 billion in total sales in 2016.
The stage for the 24 hour retail discussion was set by Craig Wright, SVP & Chief Economic of the Royal Bank of Canada when he said that the "Last time interest rates stayed low for so long was in 3000 BC." We are living in extra-ordinary age of disruption.
This post summarizes my favorite insights from this year's IGDS event.
"What a tough industry (retail), the consumer has changed more in terms of their demand preferences in the past three years than they have in the past thirty years." - Home Depot CFO Carol Tome
For the past two weeks, my youngest son was in France attending the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
As part of an extended university project, he participated in a week long "producer's workshop." By the end of the week, he was instructed to throw away all his notes for the era of major studios driving the movie industry is over.
This past week had to pleasure of speaking at the Retail Risk Conference in Singapore. The audience mostly consisted of loss prevention professionals responsible for major retail brands across Asia. The customized presentation was an opportunity to reassess the state of Asia in the global retail economy.
A Brookings Institute study noted:
-- 3.2 billion people were in the middle class at the end of 2016
-- 140 million people are joining the middle class annually and this number could rise to 170 million in five years’ time
In an article published in November, we discussed the following five ingredients driving the age of disruption: geopolitical risks ahead, need for technology speed, data as the new oil, next generation consumers, and shopping till you drop. Reverse globalization is a subplot of these trends impacting many industries including retail.
Recent publications highlighted the following challenges facing globalization: