NRF Day 2 roundup

Retail’s BIG Show – Day Two

Data data all around but not a drop to……process. Retail Analyst Andrew Busby with a roundup from day 2 of NRF – Retail’s BIG Show.


Much has been written about the need for data to drive insight and ultimately better customer experience and personalisation but never more was it in evidence than here at NRF.

Every way you turned it seemed that data, engagement, personalisation, experience were all staring back from the walls of the Jacob Javits Convention Centre.


Sir Richard Branson opened the day with a ‘fireside chat’ (never worked that one out) and shared his thoughts and sympathies with every retailer in the audience. How that went down I can only wonder but there’s no denying that he has an impressive portfolio and deserved the airtime.

On the Expo floor one stand (booth) stood out head and shoulders above the rest, indeed it seemed at times as if the entire conference had descended upon IBM – and Watson was the star turn. Everyone wanted to know more about how cognitive computing can help their business. And it was easy to see why.

Elsewhere there were gems to be found provided you sought them out and one such was GDR UK CEO Kate Ancketill ironically discussing the impact which artificial intelligence is likely to have on retail, the potential loss of jobs through automation quite shocking.

But with every downside, there’s always an upside and the vision which Kate eloquently articulated should have given hope to every retailer in the room.

New and different jobs will emerge from the fields of automation and like any revolution the future will no doubt be different but not necessarily any worse.

From AR to VR to AI to robotics, to machine learning to cognitive to Watson; day two at NRF had it all. The only question left remaining; if I am a retailer, how do I make sense of all this?


Andrew Busby is founder of Retail Reflections & The Retail Advisory Board and an IBM Futurist


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