NRF Day 3 roundup

Retail’s BIG Show – Day Three

IBM’s Watson was undoubtedly the star of the show on day 3. Cognitive computing being set to revolutionise the industry.

Retail Analyst Andrew Busby with a roundup from day 3 at Retail’s BIG Show



Whether it was great keynotes, the Innovation Lab, two floors jammed with exhibitors in the Expo halls or the inspiring sessions – the 3rd and final day at NRF had it all.

And the evidence of change was present throughout the show: reinventing retail, rethinking retail, reimagining retail – it was clear that a revolution in the industry is upon us and whilst this can bring fear and uncertainty it also means that this is the most exciting time to be in retail right now.

Much was discussed in many of the keynotes and sessions, the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics is likely to see a great many jobs in retail become redundant to humans. But encouragingly, as has happened throughout history, new jobs – which we have yet to fully determine – will appear as business models evolve, adapt and change to meet the new normal of retailing.

And one thing from the Show was very apparent; data and technology will revolutionise retailers’ and consumers’ lives alike.

“The undeniable star of NRF 2017 was IBM Watson”

The secret to unlocking the potential of all this data lies not in traditional methods however but in something which is going to revolutionise personalisation and customer experience in retail.

There was plenty of technology on display this year from AI to bots to smart mirrors through augmented and virtual reality however the undeniable star of NRF 2017 was IBM Watson, the IBM booth drawing crowds eager to find out what all the buzz was about.

The significance of Watson is not to be underestimated; having the ability to now be able to tap into the huge amount of unstructured data – think weather forecast, social media, news reports, video, images, speech – will transform the industry.

The excitement around this was palpable and whilst the pace of change is hugely challenging for almost every retail business, it also means that the future is incredibly exciting…..for all of us.

As if to underline this, trending number 3 on twitter in New York today? Watson.

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


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