The 9 Must-See Sessions at NRF’s Big ShowJan 4, 2017 - by Jason Grunberg
It’s called the Big Show because it’s a big deal. This January, more than 30,000 retail and technology leaders will descend upon NYC’s Javits Center to hear from industry leaders as they unpack trends in customer experience, machine learning, in-store innovation, and the future of mobile.
But the agenda is — as the conference name tells you — bigger than any single person can manage. To help you make the most of this year’s Big Show, we’ve sifted through the 11 keynotes and 55+ breakouts to highlight the 9 sessions every retail marketer should have on their agenda.
If you follow this agenda, you’ll have plenty of free time for networking, lunches and cocktails.
Your top sessions for Sunday, January 15
From Data to Delight: Insight Driven Revolution of the In-Store Experience
9:30 – 10:00am
This keynote session features Mike Mauler, the EVP and President of GameStop. If you’re not a gamer you might not know just how data-driven GameStop has become — the brand leverages its loyalty program to provide data that fuels innovation both online and in-store, with employees having what they need to make personalized recommendations based on both historic data and their own, individual passions. You might not be in gaming, but you’ll want to find out more about what Mike has in store for in-store in this session.
10:45 – 11:30am
Don’t be fooled by the lame name of this breakout session. Healey Cypher and Jerry Hum are mobile ballers and you’ll want to hear about how they view mobile. Healey’s company, OAK, is responsible for bringing advanced touch screen dressing room mirrors to the market and Jerry’s company, Touch of Modern, brings in more than two-thirds of its business through mobile. They’ll be talking pitfalls, so assuming mobile is on your top priority list for 2017 (it is, right?) you’ll want to learn from their mistakes before you make them yourself.
The Sky is Not the Limit: Lessons From a Year in Space
12:00 – 1:00pm
Captain Scott Kelly built an Instagram follower base of more than one million… from space. What’s your follower count at these days? He’ll be talking much more than IG. Get ready to laugh and pretend not to cry.
The Store of the Future: Radical Startups Transforming Bricks-and-Mortar Retail
1:15 – 1:55pm
This breakout features a host of technology companies, but we’re going to hear from Veronika Harbick, founder of Thursday Finest, and Monica Phromsavanh, CEO at MODABOX. Thursday Finest found success with a digital (and sustainable) product line for men and has opened their first pop-up in NYC. MODABOX leverages explicit customer data to power their subscription-based box business. These are just two of the many cutting-edge digital retailers that are taking (or thinking) about new approaches to in-store. How and why? Well, they were born digital and they’re applying what they know to create a better buying experience — just like Bonobos, JustFab, Warby Parker and many others.
Innovation in E-Commerce: A Retailer’s Key to Survival
2:15 – 2:55pm
The name of this breakout balances a positive outlook and dire straits, so we’re expecting this talk to be an emotional roller coaster. Chieh Huang (CEO of Boxed) and Meaghan Rose (CEO of RocksBox) will be duking it out (boxing joke… haaaaaa) with two VCs known for their work in ecomm. The focus will be on the future of the retail and digital commerce business model, so if you’re planning to stay in retail you should probably check this one out.
Your Monday, January 16 hit list
Undying Brand Engagement in an Age of Continuous Disruption and Reinvention – A Fireside Chat with Sir Richard Branson
9:00 – 10:00am
The DNA of the Digital Native Audience
12:15 – 1:00pm
This year mobile and in-store innovation are all over the agenda and this is the only session that really dives into the generation that is driving so much of this change. We’re expecting a data focused session from Lee Peterson of WD Partners. Your best bet is to take what you learn in this session and overlay it with insights from the others to determine how your 2017 priorities might need to evolve to stay relevant and revenue rich.
Data: The New Currency for Retail Marketers
1:15 – 2:00pm
Outside of the fact that data has been the “new currency” for marketers since the 90’s this feature stage presentation brings together big time agency and big box retail. Expect Jeff Rosenfeld, VP of Customer Insight and Analytics at Neiman Marcus, to challenge his media-centric counterparts regarding the “right” data for targeting consumers and to bring a machine-learning twist to customer insights.
Storyselling: How the Convergence of Content and Commerce Builds Customer Experiences That Sell
2:30 – 3:00pm
Head to this breakout to hear from Amanda Hesser, Co-Founder and CEO of Food52. This community turned content portal has now evolved into the most elegant example of content+commerce. Content marketing is tough, learning from Amanda will be easy. Want insights today? Check out our guide to content-driven commerce.