2017 NRF Retail’s BIG Show Preview: Our Pick of the Keynotes

For anyone involved in online apparel or e-commerce generally, the National Retail Federation’s annual convention and EXPO in New York is one of the highlights of the year, and January 2017’s event looks set to be another blockbuster affair. As ever, we’ll be there in person at Retail’s BIG Show to liaise with current partners, explore new opportunities, and get a feel for what’s coming down the track in online retail for 2017 and beyond. If you’re in the area and looking to discuss solving sizing and slashing returns, feel free to get in touch to arrange a meeting!

Even by BIG Show standards, this year’s full event calendar is a jam-packed one, and it’ll be a struggle to catch all the great events over three days. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick roundup of key points across the schedule we’re particularly looking forward to – starting with the main keynote events which have caught our eye.

Day 1: From Data to Delight

As a company with data in its DNA, we’re particularly looking forward to Sunday’s early morning session entitled From Data to Delight: An Insight-Driven Revolution of the In-Store Experience. While data’s been at the heart of the online retail experience from pretty much the get go, it’s likely to make much bigger inroads across in-store experiences from here on in. With that in mind, we’re expecting this session to tie in with several themes around personalisation and omnichannel which we’ve recently explored here on the blog.

Deloitte's breakdown of device usage prior to in-store purchases.
Deloitte’s Digital Divide report is full of actionable retail insight.

Though there are no specific representatives from the apparel industry on the panel, the themes explored are likely to be of enormous relevance for brands and retailers alike. It’ll also be interesting to to hear Deloitte’s inside take on an area they’ve been investigating in depth for at least the past five years worldwide. Their 2016 New Digital Divide white paper is an excellent read in this regard.

Day 1: Tailoring the 21 Century Customer Experience

Our second pick centres around a number of themes dear to our heart as part of our mission to help brands and retailers solve sizing. The Tailoring the 21 Century Customer Experience promises to be a fascinating deep dive on customization, personalization, and the impact of fit and sizing throughout the modern apparel and footwear supply chain.

Jodie Fox from Shoes of PreyThe NRF couldn’t have picked two better panellists for this one, either. Jodie Fox of Shoes of Prey will be bringing her unique expertise around mass-market customization to the table on one side, while Drew Green of Indochina draws on his vast experience across made-to-measure and the wider world of online retail on the other. This one promises to be an eye-opener for anyone involved in online fashion.

Day Two: A Fireside Chat With Sir Richard Branson

Though the NRF President’s state of the industry address should be informative as ever early on Monday, it’s hard to ignore the pull of an audience with one of the world’s most charismatic billionaires directly afterwards. Undying Brand Engagement in an Age of Continuous Disruption and Reinvention – A Fireside Chat With Sir Richard Branson promises to be a lot more punchy than its somewhat clunky title!

Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin GroupHaving founded more than 400 separate brands across a bewildering array of business sectors, Branson has forgotten more about customer engagement than most people will ever learn. Though his flamboyantly daredevil public image captures the headlines, followers of his business career know that he’s kept a continuous eye on protecting upside and risk management throughout his business career – it’s smiles and tropical islands for the glossies, but very much brass tacks in the boardroom. As a serial disruptor himself, it’ll be fascinating to hear his thoughts on what’s coming next for online retail.

Day Three: Retail at the Speed of Disruption

Our final pick is Tuesday morning’s showcasing of the latest cohort of companies from New York’s XRC LabsRetail’s BIG Fast Track – Retail at the Speed of Disruption. As a relatively early stage company ourselves, we’re always interested in seeing fresh faces emerge, and it looks like they’ll be bringing some interesting perspectives to issues we’re also engaged in.

Two big ideas caught the eye here:

  1. The World’s Not Flat – Gaining Access to China’s Still Emerging Market: Emerging markets are an increasingly crucial theme across our partner network, and we’re doubling down on support for Asian languages in our Fit Finder to help serve as many customers worldwide as possible – ShopShops’ presentation is one we’ll be watching with interest.
  2. Hyper Personalization and the Me-Commerce Revolution: With Amazon gobbling up more and more mindshare across a slew of industry verticals, we’re looking forward to hearing Strypes take on differentiation and customization.

Here’s to a Great NRF BIG Show 2017!

We hope the highlights above have helped whet your appetite for what should be a truly memorable few days in New York to kick off the wider retail year. Stay tuned for further brief breakdowns around individual session tracks, and feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss solving sizing and slashing returns in person at the event! .