Well, we stepped out of the e-commerce software sandbox and wandered around National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show for a couple days soaking in the omni channel vibe at the Javits Center. It came as no surprise to us that the retail technology world was the driving force and we learned a ton about how, in the e-commerce world (which used to be just a bunch of shopping cart software companies), we are now very interconnected to every part of retail enterprises large or small.

In no particular order, here are a few interesting observation and takeaways from our 2 days at NRF:

  1. Nordstrom president Erik Nordstrom discussed how over half of their store sales include an online journey and over 1/3 of online sales involve a store. WOW.
  2. Jane Rawnsley from Wayfair showed us how to create 3D assets that offer scale and flexibility, enabling them to achieve massive increases in online conversion.
  3. The top 5 retail technologies for the next decade according to C Store News at NRF: AI, IoT, blockchain, 3D Printing, and mobile. Check out their top 15 right here.
  4. There were so many great innovations around AI and product “try on” it’s difficult to consider which are going to be the real winners.
  5. How will e-commerce software grow and change to work with machines? Vala Afshar tweeted from NRF that in 2012 Amazon had 88K people and 0 robots. Amazon in 2019 finished the year with 750K people and 200K robots, Think about the endless integrations with machines! Machines without servers!
  6. What is the new world of “RE-COMMERCE?” Well, its huge and evolving big time – selling used stuff in a sustainable way. “Buying used is in” said Patagonia head of development Phil Graves. What’s a great example of RE-COMMERCE? Checkout Poshmark or Grailed – especially if you’re over 35 they might be new to you.
  7. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks the concept of “intelligent retail” requires the use of 1. Personalization 2. Anywhere Commerce 3. Digital Commerce Marketing and 4. Empowering Employees
  8. Cashierless Checkout discussions, ideas, tools and visioning was big. Very big.
  9. Accoring to Piers Fawkes (PSFK), 78% of consumers are interested in receiving relevant, personalized recommendations or offers while they’re shopping in store.
  10. Voice interfaces are going to be dominating interactions sooner than we think; think about how much more your voice was used to generate interactions with machines last year – even beyond SIRI and Alexa!
  11. And finally, the Adobe team was busy providing some great insights on holiday shopping and how it went for merchants that we care about. “People spent $142.5 billion online during the 2019 holiday season (November through December), up 13.1% year-over-year. The primary growth driver? Smartphones, which drove nearly all (84%) of the online sales growth during the period.”

The Bottom Line

The National Retail Federation is a great eye-opener and an opportunity to learn how our world in e-commerce is already so interconnected to the technology, operations and marketing campaigns of retail.

If you work in the trenches of e-commerce every day, make time to connect with the retail world and join NRF or at a minimum engage in their programming or attend this show. For us, the conference was a great start to 2020 and filled our heads with new questions and ideas to challenge ourselves and our clients with this year.
Looking for the right e-commerce parter to grow your business with this year? Get in touch!