Strategizing for Retail’s Biggest Show

With over 500 exhibitors and 33,000 attendees to navigate through, The NRF BIG Show can be a challenge for even the most seasoned retail executive. If 2017 sees your IT stack growing and changing, we’ve got the top tips for making the show work for you.

In the past several years, the BIG show has changed dramatically. Once held in a hotel ballroom, it has grown to take up both floors of the Jacob Javits Center, as well as many parties and events throughout the city. The show has even taken on a weekend start date to give retailers and suppliers even more time to meet and greet on the show floor. But if you think simply “walking the floor” at retail’s biggest show will help you solve your next retail challenge, think again.

Create Your Own Dossier

With the average appointment lasting no longer than fifteen minutes, introductions and small talk simply won’t do. Take a pointer from the pros and create your very own “client dossier.” This simple introduction document tells potential vendors key points about your retail business such as size, number of stores, multichannel commerce applications and more key factors that will create efficiency and progress in that first meeting.

Map the Floor

Knowing one floor from the next is one thing, but trying to walk from row 1000 to 4000 in a matter of moments through a sea of 33,000 attendees simply won’t get you very far. Start early, make appointments and block vendors in similar areas to similar appointment times. 10,000 steps on your new Fitbit will be no problem at the BIG show. You can find a current floorplan for planning here.

Bring the Team

What used to be a show for your head of IT, is now a show for the entire team. Today’s customers shop without boundaries and expect the same from you, with consistency across every touch point. The only way to live up to these expectations is by un-siloing the organization and that means marketing must talk to sales, who must also talk to customer service and most definitely IT. Make sure key members of each team are well represented and available to provide input for the key decisions to be made before and after the show.

Although daunting for first-time attendees, many a veteran can tell you: “NRF is where retail business gets done.” From networking to planning, the BIG show is your next step in creating great outcomes for 2017. But it doesn’t stop there, bring your long term 24-36-month outlook as many technologies have a 12-month plus lead time.

At Sophelle, we help retailers implement solutions. From strategy and selection to implementation and support, we deliver on-time and on-budget. For more information about creating success at NRF, click here.

Contributed by Joe Dela Cruz