NRF 2017: Three Themes We Hope to See at Retail’s BIG Show

By Gerry Gilbert, Vice President, Product

Here at CashStar, and throughout the retail industry, we’re gearing up for the NRF’s Annual Convention & EXPO, Retail’s BIG Show, coming up on January 15-17 in New York City.

NRF 2017: Retail's BIG ShowEvery year, a few popular themes emerge from NRF that tend to dominate the industry over the coming year. It is always interesting to see what merchants are prioritizing for the next 12 months and how the rest of the industry responds. Here’s what I think (and hope) the main themes will be this year:

Retailers need to move away from traditional discounts
Many retailers are known for their discounted offerings and have taught their customers to expect weekly coupons or routine site-wide sales, creating a culture of discounting which becomes synonymous with their brand. Retailers are recognizing that this approach has helped increase consumer loyalty—but not for the reasons retailers find desirable. Shoppers have become loyal to the discount but not necessarily to the brand. With expectations of always having a coupon or markdown, consumers aren’t shopping for items at regular price because they know they’ll soon be able to purchase that same item at a discount. At NRF, and throughout 2017, we expect to see retailers discussing and identifying new tactics to build loyalty that reward frequency of shopping and other loyalty markers to help move away from discounting, such as early access to new products or VIP treatments like personal shoppers and premium customer service.

Retailers will rethink their digital commerce strategies
Gifting can be difficult, no matter how you slice it. We all know people who get anxious when trying to find the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. There is so much you need to know in order to give the right gift: Style preference? Size? Color? Shipping address? And while a gift card can alleviate some of the decision-making challenges, sometimes gift cards are not the best option.

Our CEO Ben Kaplan and I will be tackling this very topic at our Exhibitor Insights panel, titled “Gifting Disrupted—New Personalized Experiences for e-Commerce and m-Commerce,” with Nordstrom’s Director of Gift Card, Sean Burrow. We’ll be looking at how retailers can rethink their digital commerce strategies to offer customers highly personalized gifting experiences.

Mobile wallets will expand beyond payments
The topic of mobile wallets shows up on a lot of predictions lists, and rightly so. The vast majority of consumers still aren’t quite prepared to ditch their physical wallets for mobile wallets. In order to push adoption forward, mobile wallet providers need to reevaluate their offerings and take a more holistic approach that factors in the shopper’s entire shopping experience to add value past the straightforward payment play. Additional features like loyalty and rewards program integration can definitely help. As adoption grows, we’re likely to see more retailers utilizing the vast amounts of data collected from mobile wallet interactions to help create custom engagement tactics, such as specialized sales and targeted ads, to even further strengthen brand relationships.

Do you agree? What trends to you think will be generating the most buzz this year? Let us know your thoughts when you stop by our booth #2245 and don’t forget to check out our joint session with Nordstrom on Monday. Looking forward to see you all there!

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