by Joe’ Lloyd, Account Manager at Write2Market

As I sit at LaGuardia airport getting ready to leave NYC, I am reminiscent of the amazing vibe that is all things retail.

Record breaking retail

The NRF Big Show, THE biggest retail show of the year, broke the records in 2014 with three floors and over 30,000 attendees.  It was a show of big booths and even bigger retailers, but amazingly it was the friendliness and personal kindness that made for the most intriguing components.

2014 “go-to” topics for retail insiders

I organized over a dozen media briefings over the course of two days. There were some definite trends that emerged as the “go to” topics for 2014.

  • Everyone is looking for the thought leaders, those individuals who are leading the pack, creating the trends and big stories rather than following along or simply trying to keep up.

  • Knowledge is king – understanding what consumers want and how to enable retailers to provide it was one of the key topics.

  • This year’s technologies are no longer just third party vendors, but solution providers and true partners.

  • Partnership and deep relationships are the must-haves, if you are trying to win the competition at the B2B level.

“Commerce” is king

Omnichannel, like the mall, may be dead…

And by the way, are traditional malls dying?  It was a stake in the ground here at the show.  There was no middle of the road here, “In 10 years or less, traditional malls will be dead” versus “Malls have been dying since 1984, the face of shopping may be changing but immediate satisfaction will NEVER die.” But the overused buzzword “omnichannel” is getting bullied off the playground.  Every journalist, editor and avid social updater was looking for the next term that would define the face of retail in 2014 and the future to come.  Separating channels or even payment types seems to be last year’s news; the language moving forward will be simple and all encompassing, without the definition of online or off, mobile or tablet – it is all simply COMMERCE. We’ve been advising our clients that “commerce” is the new “ecom” for a couple of years, and indeed that trend has now hit mass majority.

Making news makes the show

At any conference, it can be hard to separate yourself from the crowd, but showcasing a new product, a killer partnership or groundbreaking research are ABSOLUTE winners for being heard over the white noise.

For one of my clients, Celerant Technologies,  the news of a new product brought Retailing Today to the booth, a publication that typically only covers the Retail Top 100. The conversation and relationship led to a home run of immediate coverage the very next day!

NRF 2015 is already shaping up to be bigger and better with the addition of a third day of coverage for the exhibit floor. Put your high heels on and start getting your news ready.  And I’d be remiss not to mention that relationship (as always) is what makes a good show great. A big thank you to some of my friends from the show, including Alicia F., Debbie H. George L., Joe K., and Doug W. See you next year in New York!