Already in its 101st year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is gearing up for its Annual Convention & EXPO in New York next month. It looks like there is a lot of excitement in store for us (no pun intended) including a keynote speech from Bill Clinton!
Aside from a former U.S. President being in attendance, digital retail and mobility are dominating the buzz this year. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise because retailers are marketing to the consumer in ways that align with their behaviors – which is largely dominated by using mobile devices to consume digital information.
According to Susan Newman, NRF’s Senior Vice President of Conferences, “Right now, it’s all about how you reach customers, engage with them, and help them engage with you.”
If you walk into any mall or store, or even just observe people walking down the street, EVERYONE is carrying a mobile device. If that’s an accurate representation of the consumer market today, retailers must recognize that they can reach a very large portion of their target audience via digital media and the smart phone. As a proof point to that theory, Shop.org’s First Look Track at NRF will be two days that focus on all things digital, related to topics such as The Future Shopper and Buying Behaviors.
A while back we experimented with mobility and social media, having RFID play the integral role. We determined that RFID + Social Media = Reach. Meaning that by adding the two together, it was easier and more effective to reach the intended audience, customize to their preferences and build brand loyalty. How can RFID help get us closer to that Holy Grail (in a simple, easy way) in retail?
One way to get to get a better understanding of your customers’ preferences is through item-level tagging. It may actually be on its way to being considered a best practice in retail. The Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association started the VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative for that very purpose. Its goal is to foster innovation, improve business processes and enhance consumer experiences by developing business applications and best practices around standards-based RFID. This is the kind of support the industry needs to effectively sell, and sell in such a way that is embraced by consumers. Using mobile devices and digital/social media will undoubtedly be widely accepted because it aligns with their current behavior.
We can’t wait to see some of these session tracks at NRF to learn more. Congratulations, NRF on 101 years and a sold out expo floor!