The NRF Big Show Review: Part 1 – From Data To Delight: An Insight-driven Revolution of the In-store Experience
NRF, or the National Retail Federation hosted their annual retail industry event this past week, and it drew an international crowd. The event was focused on the retail sector, with a specific emphasis on the digital commerce sphere. The Big Show, as it is known, featured a range of presentations and exhibits. A large focus of the show was dedicated to the concept of user experience, data, and unified commerce. During the event, three of the most notable presentations were done by Deloitte, The GameStop Corporation, and The Vitamin Shoppe. Each company offered a distinct look at the retail industry from their unique perspective, providing great insight that encompassed both digital commerce and in-store shopping.
The keynote session was entitled: From Data to Delight: An Insight-Driven Revolution of the In-Store Experience, and the following is an overview of some of the many highlights. Among them were poignant aspects of data intermingled with insights about customer trends and habits. Deloitte reported 2016 findings displaying a total of $295 billion in e-commerce sales for 2016, and stated that digital now plays a role in all retail transactions. When encompassing all numbers, a total of digitally influenced sales accounted for $1.8 trillion in retail sales for 2016.
Deloitte also noted that customers are seeking product availability, which is comprised of a large assortment along with availability in regards to inventory; the ability to checkout quickly; and a smooth, easy return process if necessary. To cue into the emotional needs of the customer, it is important to take into account that they are seeking high quality on all fronts, as this ultimately builds trust. Loyalty programs up the trust factor, allowing them to achieve rewards based on this loyalty, adding to the incentive as a future shopper.
In regards to product differentiation vs experience differentiation, in an analysis of the top 20 retailers, those doing the best in this aspect are focusing on integrating experiences, leveraging customer data in a useful and relevant way, and giving the customer insightful reasons to be returning customers.
Overall, Deloitte’s presentation provided those in attendance with an extremely informative overview of the big picture of the current retail environment, as well as predictions for the near future, into the next half-decade.
The GameStop presentation was additionally insightful and offered an interesting example of a single market that has achieved global success. Their discussion included much focus on their global strategy, which is partly centered on their loyalty program, having garnered more than 50 million members, spread across 13 countries worldwide. Their global strategy has been greatly successful because even though it spans so broadly, its focus remains contingent on the local interaction of their customers. Furthermore, this loyalty program has generated such strength that it enables the company to obtain definitive data, which greatly benefits in truly understanding the customer and deciphering if the perks are working as they should. Considering GameStop has been able to gain 50 million members worldwide, it a testament to its purpose and relevance.
The example this sets for other retailers is that by focusing on what is meaningful and valuable to the customer can, in turn, produce invaluable data and insight for the company. By providing useful services that are intuitive and customized to a certain degree, GameStop has been able to serve 50 million customers worldwide, with great results that propel their long term aims.
The Vitamin Shoppe
The Vitamin Shoppe’s presentation offered another direction of the retail industry, and their focus aimed to examine how the customer – business relationship works and benefits both parties. They made a point of analyzing the cohesiveness between customer transactions and human relations. The Vitamin Shoppe, like GameStop has been able to generate a great amount of information and customer data as a result of their loyalty program, which, in turn, allows them to focus on human relations. Simply, customer attention equates to customer retention.
While digital commerce only continues to grow exponentially, Vitamin Shoppe has created an excellent example for others to work from in regards to how brick-and-mortar retailers can maintain an optimal omnichannel experience their customers find great value in.
Throughout its whole tenure, the NRF Big Show was a massive success that enabled a serious meeting of the minds for the global retail world. Much knowledge was gained, and for everyone who attended, much value was found in the many exhibits and presentations designed to enable us to stay abreast of our industry’s trends and forecasting. This concludes our first review of the event; be on the lookout for Part 2 coming soon!