3 big themes that will emerge at NRF 2020

Qudini Marketing
by Qudini Marketing

Read our post event round up by Qudini’s Commercial Director, Raj Sangha

One of the key messages of the upcoming NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show is: “Vision isn’t something you have, it’s something you do.”

As we all know, coming up with innovative new ideas is the easy part, but in today’s overly competitive and increasingly chaotic retail environment, carrying these innovative ideas through to the shop floor is considerably more difficult.

At NRF’s 2019 Retail’s Big Show, we saw the emergence of themes involving frictionless retail, diversity and inclusion and effective leadership, as well as the increased popularity of our favourite acronym: WACD: “What Amazon Can’t Do.”

The theme of next year’s annual convention in January is 2020 Vision – and we have a few ideas of what this will entail.

As a company that’s been working alongside some of the biggest and brightest brands for a number of years now, we pride ourselves on having our ear to the ground with all the latest trends in the retail world, and also on enabling retailers to bring their store of the future initiatives to life with practical solutions.

Here are some of the key themes that will make the headlines at NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show:

Superior customer experiences

Customers are more demanding, fickle and vocal than ever before, making it increasingly difficult for retailers to drive footfall and retain loyalty.

They’re also notoriously unengaged. According to Microsoft, the average customer’s attention span has reduced by 33% since 2000.

Retail leaders at NRF’s Retail’s Big Show will be talking about the importance of creating superior customer experiences that drive footfall to stores and maximise sales opportunities, customer loyalty and advocacy.

This year we’ve already seen a number of brilliant examples of this, such as Samsung KX in London’s King’s Cross – an innovative space that provides a range of enticing experiences while showcasing its products and services – or the new Adidas store on Oxford Street which offers a tech-driven customer experience, such as interactive changing rooms.  

Four out of five consumers value experience as much as a brand’s products and services and customers are willing to pay 16% more for a great in-store experience – which is perhaps why we’re seeing so many online-based retailers like Google, Amazon and Warby Parker investing in brick-and-mortar stores and interactive playgrounds.

However, this shift in behaviour means customers are considerably more likely to walk out of a store when an experience is poor, causing lost revenue and a long-term impact on future sales opportunities. 

Retail leaders at the event will also focus on how retailers can improve the customer experience in-store by investing in retail tech, such as appointment scheduling software and queue management software. 

Modern consumers lack the patience of their predecessors, with the average wait time in line sitting at a mere six minutes before walking out without service. They’re also considerably more likely to share their poor experiences with others. According to Qudini research, 44% of customers tell their friends and family about a poor experience, and 21% will share about it on social media (only 22% do nothing).

The vast majority of store complaints are easily avoidable, with 74% of complaints consisting of long waiting times, rude, unhelpful or unavailable store associates and unavailable stock.

Advanced in-store operations

Another key theme that will become apparent at the NRF’s Retail’s Big Show will centre on in-store operations. Store operations are becoming more intense and margins are tighter, making it is essential for retailers to make the most out of their people and space.

As it stands, stores are often under-resourced, with a high staff turnover (41%) due to workplace stress, a lack of team collaboration and low morale. 

Many store associates also lack the necessary technology to do their jobs properly, with 53% of Millennials saying they don’t think store associates have the tools they need to provide great customer service.

Retailers also need to invest in their store associates by developing their product and industry expertise. Only 13% of customers currently visit a store for advice and support, yet the vast majority (79%) say the opportunity to engage with knowledgeable store associates is “important” or “very important”.

Retailers need to minimise costs and maximise productivity by utilising the latest technology to pinpoint valuable touchpoints in the in-store customer journey, and subsequently better managing their store associates and the overall shop floor.

Capturing quality data insights

How do you currently measure the success of your stores? Is it through sales, footfall traffic, conversion rates, average transaction value or gross margin?

As consumer buying behaviours continue to evolve, retailers are under pressure to invest in new models, strategies and initiatives to stay relevant and competitive.

In addition to driving sales, stores have now morphed into strategic tools for building awareness and loyalty across a retailers omni-channel offering, providing the opportunity for consumers to interact with a brand, its products and its people.

Brick-and-mortar data is disparate and hard to collect, making it difficult to make intelligent decisions on stock, resourcing, merchandising and marketing.

At the NRF Retail’s Big Show, retail leaders will focus on the need to move beyond capturing basic data like footfall, sales and HR-related data, and move on to capturing insights that increase profitability and enable brands to make smarter commercial decisions.

Access to high-quality data insights enables retailers to take an e-commerce style approach to the in-store customer experience, providing consumers with modern and highly personalised journeys.

For Millennials, promotions are digital, communicated one-to-one and in real-time via mobile devices in-store and online. Over nine out of 10 younger consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognise them and tailor offers to them, and over 50% expect to receive personalised offers within 24 hours of making themselves known to a brand. 

These themes and more will surely make an appearance at the highly anticipated NRF’s Retail’s Big Show in New York – we look forward to seeing you all there and talking all about what 2020 Vision means for modern retailers. 

Read our guide to NRF’s 2020 Vision for a list of keynote speakers, the agenda and some insights into what you can expect.


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