NRF 2023: 4 takeaways from Retail's Biggest Show
The National Retail Federation's annual convention drew its largest crowd in recent years, with thousands of retail executives flocking to New York in search of the tech investments needed to drive sustainable growth in this precarious economic time.
The Compucom events team was able to meet with our customers, partners, and other retailers, finding inspiration at Big Ideas sessions, and getting up close with stunning tech innovations from our OEM partners. With so much to experience and learn during the event, we share our four biggest takeaways for 2023.
Retailers’ top need: Help supporting their technology
What's the biggest challenge ahead? Our on-site pulse survey asked nearly 400 attendees about their top concerns for the year, and the results were clear – most retailers need help designing and managing IT to support multiple locations and end-user needs.
- 30% said their biggest challenge is supporting on-site and employee technology
- 29% said they're concerned with planning for current and future technology needs
- 16% said their top priority is driving store traffic and enabling purchase decisions
"Most of the retailers I spoke with indicated that they will continue to focus on customer experience and loyalty, and employee retention and satisfaction,” says Tina Pickeral, Compucom VP of Sales.
Improve customer experience by focusing on employees
Several sessions highlighted ways employers can benefit from modernizing the retail space with technology that creates great employee and customer experiences.
These proved to solidify what Compucom has known and focused on for years. The technology experience (whether good or bad) has a direct and causal effect on both employee and customer experience; they go hand in hand.
In a Tuesday panel discussion, Pilot Company CEO Shameek Konar, reiterated this correlation when he said, "The more we can use tech to free up store associate time, the better the experience for the customer."
The experience matters across every channel
Retailers will continue to direct their energy on perfecting the omnichannel customer experience this year, as retailers aim to connect with customers in every way possible. Our booth survey proved this, with a quarter of respondents (25%) naming this their top challenge for 2023.
Steve Pike, a Compucom Solution Director, has witnessed this firsthand in retail. When asked about the power of the omnichannel experience in retail, he said, "The winners in this space will be the ones to deliver a consistent and positive digital experience, connecting technology, support, process, and individual experiences across in-store, online, and mobile shopping,"
Retail technology just keeps getting better
Innovation is alive and thriving in the retail space. In fact, our "post-pandemic" world and economy have driven some of the most amazing technological advances we have ever seen. It’s like the “store of the future” that people only dreamed of in the second half of the last century has finally come to fruition. It truly is an amazing time to be in retail.
Some updates from a few of our own longstanding OEM partners included:
- Lenovo exhibited a store of the future, showcasing contactless "Scan-n-Go" self-service kiosks, as well as new AI, infrastructure, and digital storefront solutions.
- Intel and Dell discussed how they are enabling autonomous stores, smart shelves, and AI-powered customer interactions. Watch the panel replay>>
- Microsoft touted improvements to Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365 designed to help frontline retail workers work smarter, delivering more real-time visibility into what's happening in-store.
Additionally, many are looking forward to more automated retail spaces and AI solutions that reduce manual work and improve upon pandemic-driven retail innovations like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) solutions.
Wrapping up another great NRF Big Show
At Compucom, we know how critical IT is for driving success in the future of retail.
Download our whitepaper, "Winning in Retail," and learn how to advance your retail workplace with the right managed service provider.
Missed us at NRF 2023? Visit our Events page for upcoming conferences, networking opportunities, and other industry events coming to a city near you.