A bird’s-eye view of NRF’s 2015 Big Show

February 2nd, 2015 by


This year’s NRF “Big Show” was big indeed — larger than life, in fact (it filled up the Javits center quite nicely). A huge range of companies, ranging from ecommerce platforms, digital development, cloud marketing, and near-field communication services, to offerings from hardware vendors such as beacons, point-of-sale registers and receipt printer companies were represented… and that’s just to name a few.

With so many companies in one place vying for the attention of the wandering ‘golden’ retailer with deep pockets and open purchase orders, it is no surprise that each vendor booth is trying to outdo the next to rise above the noise and get noticed. The result is a sensory assault of bright lights, big signs, gimmicks, giveaways and a general hustle to get yet-to-be-customers to bite. All which can be a little overwhelming at times.

At shows like this, it’s very easy to get distracted and waste one’s time. So it’s important to go in with specific objectives in mind. Ours were to reinforce relationships with existing partners and to connect with potential partners. Often, these partner meetings held are on different floors with restricted access, or in private meeting rooms that overlook the conference floor. I would equate this to being on the floor of a casino, then moving to high-rollers area or table to do your business.

Our business conversations at the show were laser-focused on our ability to provide performance and bandwidth optimization for responsive web design — an approach to web design that is getting increasing attention from retailers. All of our meetings were planned well ahead with specific outcomes in mind. We learned that most, if not all, of our partners are being asked by their customers to implement responsive web design. Even though these partners are trying to educate their customers about the performance challenges inherent with this approach, their customers often still want to push ahead. Which is where Trilibis comes in: we can assist by providing a plug-in technology that automatically optimizes performance and bandwidth on responsive sites across all mobile devices.

One side effect of being so focused at a show like this is that the big trends, professionally marketed or generally inferred, are somehow subconsciously absorbed or read about later on the plane back home. To bastardize a John Lennon quote, NRF trends are what happen while you’re making other meeting plans at the show. That said, as I look back, there were some pretty cool trends and announcements — here are a few worthy of note:

  • IBM’s Watson is now a Personal Shopper – IBM’s omnipotent big data machine now helps personalize the shopping experience, reducing shopping cart abandonment.
  • HP announced its ElitePad Mobile Retail Solution – a tablet solution to help streamline POS checkout. It plugs right in to HP Retail Expansion Dock and accepts third-party payment entry devices.
  • Panasonic introduced the Powershelf – this is basically a smart retail shelf with the ability to auto-change shelf labels, indicate the shelf is low on product inventory, provide mobile advertising through embedded beacons, and more.
  • Verifone and Samsung announced a global partnership – aimed at delivering advanced, Android-based mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions to multi-lane and enterprise retailers.
  • SAP SE announced plans to launch the SAP Assortment Planning for Retail application – this enables retailers to cluster stores based on attributes to help maximize profits.
  • Tyco Retail Solutions and Creative systems are partnering to accelerate delivery of RFID-based inventory visibility applications for retailers globally.
  • Beacons and NFC are the next phase in tying together brick-and-mortar stores with the digital shopper – this was probably the biggest trend and noise at the show.
  • Consumers are mobile and social – this is so 2013!
  • Loyalty programs work when executed correctly – and they also work when executed poorly.
  • Beacons, beacons, and more beacons!

Sounds like a pretty cool show; I wish I had been there. Oh, wait a second…



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