By Tushar Patel, Chief Marketing Officer, Kibo
Day one of NRF 2018 in cold New York City has come to a close. The show is off to a great start with significant buzz and a hopping expo floor. The Kibo Team at Booth #4145 has already had the opportunity to interact with various retailers, branded manufacturers, analysts, media, and partners. Here is what we heard from the trenches on our first day:
Brands Are Stepping Up Their Omnichannel Game
Several brands (manufacturers) are really looking at taking advantage of the omnichannel infrastructure that retailers have been putting in place over the past few years. We are hearing of significant investments from brands to go direct to consumer in 2018, leverage in-store fulfillment options (think buy online, pickup in-store) even if they do not own or operate their own stores, and exploring “experience centers” in lieu of traditional brick and mortar stores.
Personalizing The In-Store Experience
It’s no surprise that personalization (or 1:1 individualized experiences as consumers prefer) has been at the top of the list for retailers for several years. Some have executed on their initiatives, while others are getting started. It is safe to say that digital or online personalization is no table stakes. What about the store? We are hearing several retailers interested (and some investing in) personalizing the in-store experience by empowering their associates with information at their finger tips – mobile devices, real-time inventory data, consumer browsing or purchasing trends – to enable more impactful face-to-face interactions.
Death Of Homegrown Software
While the death of homegrown technology and or software systems may sound controversial or unrealistic, it is clear merchants are looking for ways to become highly efficient with their resources and technology. One of the more popular topics today was the replacement of internally developed commerce solutions and software with more off-the-shelf SaaS commerce software platforms. Several organizations are kicking off initiatives to invest in eCommerce and order management software in 2018.
Retail Apocalypse…Or Not?
In 2017, we were hammered with headlines about traditional stores (and malls) dying and closures across all industries and geographies. While this might be true, a majority of sales are still done in stores. This year we are hearing significant conversations around breathing life into stores by elevating their role in the consumer’s buying journey. We are hearing of initiatives and strategies that will transform stores – into experience centers and fulfillment hubs. Consumers still have an itch for face-to-face interactions with products, and retailers are investing to ensure they are meeting consumer’s expectations.
Eyes On The 800 Pound Gorilla
Last week we heard several rumors from the investment community that Target is a prime acquisition candidate for Amazon. Unfortunately we do not have a crystal ball to predict Amazon’s next move. However, it seems that everyone we speak to is anxiously waiting to see what their next move is. No matter who we speak to, everyone is curious. What are your predictions?
That’s a wrap for us from Day One at NRF 2018! If you would like to discuss the above or other topics, please stop by Booth #4145 on the 3rdfloor.