Big Highlights from the NRF BIG Show

I’ve been coming to NRF for the past 15 years; most of that time as a retailer and consultant; this year was my first with JDA.  For me and 35,000 of my retail colleagues, it’s always been the biggest and best of the retail shows and the yearly kick off to our evaluation of new technologies and software.  It provides the chance to enjoy some nightlife with current and future vendors, talk to friends you hadn’t seen since last year’s show, and wear through a good pair of shoes as you spent two days walking the expansive show expo.

This year’s show didn’t disappoint. The nightlife (provided by JDA) was great, I saw dozens of old friends, and with the show three days and not two, I’m sure everyone had their share of sore feet (my suggestion for the booth next year is foot baths and massages).  But as I walked the expo this year, it looked to me to be the biggest turn out of vendors in my 15 years.  At the same time, the turnout of retailers seemed bigger then I could remember.  The retailers I spoke with were more determined than ever to spend time understanding the technology and services being offered.  I think it speaks to the pace of change retailers are facing right now and the uphill battle for many of them to meet customers’ expectations for convenience, selection, and execution.  At the same time, the sheer number of vendors points out the increasingly competitive world JDA faces to help retailers meet these expectations. And, in my opinion, we were more than up to the task.

We came to NRF this year with an incredible story to tell–the launch of our first native product built on Google Cloud Platform and one that represents a dramatic change to the world of retail planning.  Retail.me was the star of what was a tremendously successful NRF for JDA.  Retailers taking “test drives” of the software were very impressed, as were analysts and press. Congratulations to the Retail.me team on delivering a great first impression.

Definitely one of the best booths at the show, we were in our usual prominent location, but stood out with a very clean, customer friendly set-up, plenty of room for retailers to visit our genius booths and talk with our experts about the many benefits of Intelligent Retail.

Our 100 associates in attendance had over 200 meetings with retailers, analysts, and press.  We had plenty of traffic at our omni-channel fitness stand, staffed by our team of fitness experts.  We had capacity attendance at our international dinner on Sunday, our customer reception at LAVO on Monday and our executive customer luncheon on Tuesday where Wayne Usie introduced some of the  data points coming out of our third annual PwC CEO survey.  FBIC Executive Director-Head of Global Retail & Technology, Deborah Weinswig, delivered the luncheon keynote where she unveiled the details of the “16 Things to Watch in Retail in 2016” co-research report with JDA.  But one of the most important highlights of the show was achieving our goal of 10 million steps for Samaritan’s Feet, enabling us to donate $10,000 to a great cause.

It was great show and a great start to the year. What did you find most interesting at NRF this year?

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