The National Retail Federation (NRF) New York show has come and gone in a time when retail is in extreme flux as an industry.
For those of you who have not attended this show, it is comprised of technology providers (big and small) pitching the latest and greatest in solutions to enable retailers to sell more products or services and do so in a more efficient or lower cost manner.
So what did we see? Here are our key observations:
1) Show mood was positive overall although Q4 was rough due to weather in North America.
2) Sales growth has been challenging since the great recession and margins have been squeezed so providers are offering technology to lower cost to drive EBITDA in new age of retail and ecommerce.
3) Data and dashboards ad nauseam are being pushed like never before to assist retailers with growing sales while lowering costs and improving efficiency for metrics such as : top line, margins, inventory, labour, theft, planograms, shopper traffic, ecommerce, supply chain, mobile, marketing spend, etc.
4) Mobile, mobile and more mobile everywhere. All channel or omni channel continues to be key.
5) A lot of great gadgets that transform the in-store experience when used in concert. Select products are in-store now but major gap between what is offered at show and what lies ahead for consumers. Will retailers invest in a climate of nominal growth?
6) Don’t forget the basics: ERP systems, ordering and replenishments systems, good old fashion e-commerce platforms too.
Tony Whitehouse & Bruce Winder
Co-Founders and Partners, Retail Advisors Network™