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The hottest trends from NRF!

Missed out on Retail's Big Show? Our reporters captured all the hottest trends and news throughout the week. Here's a breakdown of what we learned every day at NRF. 

Day 1

It should come as no surprise that improving customer experience is top of mind for all retailers, and everyone seemed to agree that the physical store still remains as important as ever. The shift is what customers want the store experience to be and how retailers can meet their changing demands. 

  • The store of the future is less about the store and more about the business model.

  • Roberto Funari, CEO of Alpagartas, stressed why deeper insights are key to better understanding new consumer behaviors as well as store segmentation and localization.

  • The Great Reshuffle: Building and sustaining a dynamic workforce

  • Reece Roberson, VP of Lowes Companies, highlighted the benefits of AI when Lowes launched a virtual hiring assistant, Lucy, which reduced applicant screening time from one week to 15 minutes.

Day 2

Two major themes appeared; retail innovation and store associates as brand ambassadors, product experts, and more.
  • Samir Desai, Abercrombie & Fitch Chief Digital and Technology Officer, shared how the retailer has developed an app that allows store associates to share insights from customer conversations with the corporate teams.

  • Organizations must think creatively about how they use technology to meet customer needs and replace dated processes.

  • Hollister recently launched an app feature called "share to pay" where young consumers can place items into their cart and share it with their parents to purchase.

  • Replacements introduced image search to allow customers to easily find the pattern of the china, silver, or crystal items they're looking to replace.

Day 3

Out of all the sessions we saw at Shoptalk, it's clear that a huge shift in how organizations view their workforce has taken place. The role of frontline workers, their impact on customer experience, and business performance have finally taken the spotlight.
  • On acknowledging the impact of PepsiCo North America's 60,000 frontline workers, Steven Williams said, "We don't have a business model without healthy, well-trained, and diverse associates. Our business doesn't run without [them]."

  • To combat high turnover, flexibility can't be ignored, and PepsiCo's approach has been to test new schedules, including four-day / ten-hour shifts and three-day / twelve-hour shifts in select manufacturing sites.

  • Finally, recognition doesn't always have to be on a grand scale. While the organization has implemented award programs like "Ring of Honor" and "Serving Champions" to honor the top 200 sellers and supply chain employees. They've also introduced minor awards like "Raise a Bag" as a simple thank you to acknowledge workers who have done well.


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