There’s a buzz in the atmosphere as we count down to NRF’s Big Show 2016 – the first major event on the retail calendar, which iVend Retail is excited to be attending this year.

A hotbed of technological innovation, NRF’s Big Show is an important opportunity for retailers across the globe to learn insights from their counterparts at the cutting edge, and look ahead to the industry’s major trends and challenges over the next 12 months.

Omnichannel has long been a talking point on the NRF agenda, and in 2016 it will once again underpin many of the most intriguing speaker sessions. It would be impossible to attend every retailer talk and panel debate, so we’ve delved into the schedule for NRF’s Big Show to bring you our must-see picks.

WHAT: Elevating the In-Store Experience: Priorities and Preparedness

WHEN/WHERE: Sunday 11:00–11:30am, Level 3 EXPO Hall, BIG !deas Room 3
WHO: Gaurav Pant – SVP, Research and Principal Analyst, Edgell Knowledge Network
Ryan Bonifacino – Former CMO and SVP Digital, Alex and Ani
Ricardo Belmar – Director of Retail Solutions, Hughes

‘A multi-functional hub of retail’ is how these panelists describe the role of bricks-and-mortar in 2016, and some retailers are further down the path to achieving this than others.

As we discovered first-hand in our recent Omni-Illusion report, there is work to be done within the store to truly connect it within an omnichannel model. This session will help retail organizations to understand not just the technology necessary to achieve complementary cross-channel encounters, but the role of business processes and store associate training in creating seamless customer experiences.

WHAT: Punching Above Your Weight: Technology Innovation

WHEN/WHERE: Sunday 11:15–11:45am, Level 1 EXPO Hall, EXPO Stage
Nikki Baird – Industry Analyst, RSR Research

Personalization was a hot topic in 2015, and building on the consumer’s need for customization in 2016 will mean anticipating what they want, and delivering on those desires.

In this session, market-leading analyst, Nikki Baird, will outline why creating personalized experiences over the next 12 months rests on two key trends: the cloud and digital commerce. She will explore the omnichannel technology available to retailers of all sizes, including solutions that can be used by smaller retailers to level the playing field when competing with larger corporations.

WHAT: RFID – Merging the Physical and Digital World to Enhance Consumer Experience

WHEN/WHERE: Monday 11:00–11:45am, Level 1 EXPO Hall, BIG !deas Room 2
Bill C. Hardgrave Ph.D – Dean and Wells Fargo Professor, Auburn University
Uri Minkoff – President and CEO, Rebecca Minkoff
Tobias Steinhoff – Senior Director of Business Solutions Sales Strategy and Excellence, Adidas

As the digital and physical retail environments fuse, consumers are becoming more informed, and therefore more empowered – and more demanding.

One of the leading technologies in enhancing customer experiences in all channels is RFID. In this session leading brands and retailers will discuss how it has transformed the way they engage shoppers and build omnichannel relationships.

WHAT: Outpacing the Market: Global Leading-Edge Retailers to Watch

WHEN/WHERE: Monday 1:15–2:00pm, Level 1 EXPO Hall, EXPO Stage
Neil Stern – Senior Partner, Ebeltoft USA/McMillanDoolittle
Simon Cartey – VP, Store Planning and Design, Toys”R”Us, U.S.
Vigga Svensson – Co-Founder and CEO, VIGGA A/S

Building or growing a global footprint is high on the agenda for many retailers in 2016, but not all regions are created equal. In this session, senior figures from three international companies will look at the challenges of meeting customer expectations in unexplored emerging territories, whilst maintaining satisfaction levels in established markets.

Placing customer-centricity at its heart, the panelists will explore how consumer behavior is influencing every aspect of modern global retail – from store technology and formats, to customer service standards and product offering.

WHAT: Omni-Channel: Taking Strategy to Execution and Lessons Learned

WHEN/WHERE: Monday 3:00–4:00pm, Level 1 EXPO Hall, BIG !deas Room 1
Mike Giresi – CIO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Formerly Tori Burch
Michael Lackman – 
President and COO,
Mike Starkey – 
SVP, IT, Performance Inc.

One of iVend’s big discussion points over the coming months will be the concept of delivering on customer promise, and the role that a single view of stock across all channels plays in achieving this.

Our final recommended session is a great warm up for this discussion, as it will analyze the struggles omnichannel retailers face aligning customer appetite with product availability and profitability. Not only that, but attendees will be offered key lessons and best practice from retailers who’ve implemented new solutions and processes to address the challenges of supply and demand.

Are you attending NRF’s Big Show 2016? Visit iVend Retail at stand 4063 to discover how our retail technology solutions can enhance and support your omnichannel ambitions this year. 

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