NRF17: Perspectives from a non-retailer

By Tim Ermlich, Senior Product Manager

As younger people are entering the consumer world, technology and connectivity advancements have transformed consumer expectations on all fronts.

Consumer expectations are changing.As my colleague Dann Gardner mentioned this time last year, The National Retail Federation’s Big Show is a massive three day-long event. The amount and variety of content is rivaled only by the number of attendees, which tallied more than 35,000 this year. As a large percentage of CashStar’s clients are retailers, understanding the struggles and opportunities many of them face is critical to our shared success. I spent the three days taking in as many presentations as possible.

The biggest takeaway from this year’s conference was the seismic shift in the emerging consumer profile. As younger people are entering the consumer world, technology and connectivity advancements have transformed consumer expectations on all fronts. There was plenty of content regarding mobile and social media strategies and technology of all sorts filtering into what retailers need to consider. It was clear that retailers are all over the spectrum—from bleeding edge to lagging way behind.

Lee Peterson of WD Partners led a breakout session titled “The DNA of the Digital Native Audience.” There were some fascinating observations, such as how retailers are completely transforming stores from places to buy to places to BE, so as to better engage with this demographic—in-store coffee bars, performance stages, basketball courts and soccer fields, with barely any, or even no products to be purchased.

As retailers completely shake up how they’re thinking about younger consumers and how to interact with them, it is clear to me that prepaid commerce caters to this audience in a way that aligns with Peterson’s analysis. Digital gift cards and Product eGifting provide retailers with fantastic tools to engage these younger demographics with experiences they want.

I departed NRF feeling excited about the new developments in the retail industry. It is invigorating to see retailers evolve to meet these new challenges, and incorporate prepaid commerce into their larger strategies.

Did you attend NRF? If so, what were your biggest takeaways? Let us know in the comments below!

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