The NRF BIG Show: What’s in Store for Retail in 2015?

    BIG Show 2

    Over the past several days, the retail community has converged on New York City for Retail’s BIG Show 2015. More than 27,000 industry leaders were on hand at the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center to welcome the 2015 retail calendar in grand fashion.

    “The retail industry continues to race forward with innovative models, more tightly integrated channels, and fresh ideas to win over consumers,” says Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “But no matter what’s shaking up the industry, one thing doesn’t change: Retail’s Big Show is always a showcase for what’s new, a place to build partnerships and a look into the future of retail.”

    The EXPO Hall

    Approximately 700 solution providers and other vendors blanketed multiple levels of exhibition resources in the EXPO BIG Show 5hall with the latest in new products and programs. There were fascinating demonstrations throughout the hall demonstrating everything from marketing tools and customer service products to analytics solutions, robotics, and an innovations center where many of the latest products were demonstrated.

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    There was a Loss Prevention Pavilion dedicated to LP solution providers, although loss prevention was represented throughout the hall. Football Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith even made an appearance, as RFID technology is being used to authenticate products such as autographed memorabilia to reduce fraud and maintain brand protection.

    Technology Rules

    The way that the industry continues to respond to technology remains a primary message, with the latest innovations, tools, strategies, and threats among the sessions highlighting the event. “You don’t have a choice. You need to innovate,” remarked Faisal Masud Staples Executive Vice President of Global E-commerce during a breakout session on Omnichannel retailing. But innovation is likely to come in new and different ways. From sales strategies, marketing, and the supply chain to data management and every element of our customer service footprint the digital revolution is influencing all aspects of the business and will ultimately guide our journey through 2015 and beyond.

    BIG Show 3Several sessions further underscored the need to modify our way of thinking as much as our tools and technology. Thought leadership must push forward with these new prospects for growth and change by opening the doors to new ways of approaching the core components of retail management and methodology. This will require increased communication and more complex partnerships within the organization, and may include new roles and the integration of departments as well.

    One keynote session particularly drove the point home. Looking back on the top companies from 15 years ago, it was eye-opening to see how many of the organizations that were once leading the way have failed to hold their place. A common thread appears to have been a slow or insufficient response by the companies to the evolving retail landscape. Innovation can often slow when businesses are doing well, and can even lead to complacency. This is truly a time for creativity as well as adaptability, which has to be reflected in our strategic planning.

    What This Means for LP

    The guiding message through all of the week’s events is that this is not only a time of change, but also an era of opportunity. Fresh ideas and new approaches will lead to new roles and responsibilities in every aspect of the retail enterprise; and it is critical that the loss prevention profession not only keep pace, but seek out opportunities to lead the way.

    BIG Show 4Profit protection is taking on a whole new meaning as part of the retail business model, and we will continue to see greater expectations placed on our collective plates. Creativity and flexibility will be a driving factor in the success of every company, and we should match that commitment at every turn. Retail is looking for leadership from their loss prevention teams, and we must meet the challenge head-on in a new age of retail.

    Events like NRF’s BIG Show are not simply a venue to learn, a forum for networking, or a place to showcase what is coming. This is a platform for the future, with retail at center stage. As we launch into a new year of challenges and expectations the pen is in our hands, and we’ll determine what is written next.


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