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NRF 2020 Vision: A Recap for Retail Marketers

We listened carefully to everything that was said on the stage at the huge NY retail conference, dissected seven main topics of conversation, and summed up exactly what’s in it for you. Get all the juicy details below

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NRF, Retail’s big New York show, began on Sunday, January 12th, and once again the major players in the retail world found themselves in Manhattan for another edition of the industry’s flagship show. With over 100 educational sessions and attendees from 99 countries, NRF is truly a hotbed of ideas on the present and future of the retail industry.

Some retail marketers say that this information blitz is so overwhelming that those who don’t attend NRF have a difficult time catching up and even those who do find it challenging to make sense of it all.

So, whoever you are in this specific case, take advantage of the recap below – it’ll help you get a good perspective of what the panelists were saying and why it’s important this 2020 – with some added context and further reading opportunities. Enjoy!

The Biggest Talks – Everything You Need to Know

Here’s a quick overview of the 7 main discussions that we took note of and a brief explanation of what this really means for retail marketers today:

Discussion # 1: Empowering Customers

Customers are more empowered than ever before. Access to all the information they need – be it brand or user-generated – is at their fingertips. Today, customers interact with brands through voice and messaging apps and are ultimately looking to create their own paths to purchase.

What It Means for You

Marketers need to create flexible strategies that facilitate customer-led journeys. These strategies must also be built and implemented based on customer micro-moments.

Discussion # 2: Personalized Experiences

In the opening keynote, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, pointed out that 80% of consumers expect retailers to provide them with personalized experiences and offers. And, the brands that succeed in doing so will be those that acquire the ability to unify siloed data. 

What It Means for You

Brands need to unify their disperse customer data into a single source of truth via platforms such as CDPs.

Discussion # 3: CX

Customer understanding is key for improved and optimized experiences and customer personalization. Chloé’s  Brand President, Alexa Geovanos, among others, specified the importance of empowering internal customer-facing teams to facilitate great customer experience.

What It Means for You

Marketers and other customer-facing teams need direct access to consolidated customer data in order to better understand their customers and provide them with the most relevant communication. This can be achieved by using a proper CDP. Click here if you want to learn why B2C marketers need a relationship marketing hub.

Discussion # 4: Acting on Your Data

Customer Data Platforms continue to be a common keyword in conversations with marketers and media alike. However, use cases are beginning to shift from a focus on traditional data unification to leveraging and activating that data. 

What It Means for You

When evaluating vendors to partner with, marketers should be prioritizing orchestration capabilities instead of data attaining capabilities.

Discussion # 5: Innately Intelligent?

AI and ML continue to be a main topic of conversation, of course. Buzz aside, however, both Rent the Runway’s VP of Growth Marketing, Alicianne Rand, and Shopify’s CMO, Jeff Weiser, mentioned that it is best used to either automate well-defined tasks or provide insights for marketers to act upon.

What It Means for You

High-performing brands must provide their smart CRM teams with solutions that contain AI components focused on surfacing actionable recommendations on customer insights and interaction opportunities for employees. You can learn more about how online retailers are using actionable insights to power growth here.

Discussion # 6: In-Store Lack of Data

Frontline employees might be the most underserved employee set – in terms of access to customer data insights. Google research shows that 75% of frontline employees feel that they don’t have enough information to succeed in their roles. And, in order to provide the best customer experiences in-store, they’re the ones that need it most!

What It Means for You

Getting the right data at the right time into the hands of employees at all levels, especially in-store, is key for future success. Stay tuned, as this will become an important topic around here in 2020.

Discussion # 7: DMs

Fostering customer relationships is of utmost importance for retailers – and direct messaging seems to have many exciting opportunities to achieve this. Both Sephora’s SVP, Amy Eschliman, and Rent the Runway’s VP of Growth Marketing, Alicianne Rand, find channels such as Facebook Messenger to be a key marketing communication tool for customer engagement strategies. 

What It Means for You

Marketers need to look for technologies and platforms that provide authentic and valuable 1-on-1 interactions to care for their customers, at all times.


Stay tuned for more retail marketing analyses in the future. In the meantime, you can explore additional retail marketing posts here.

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Rony Vexelman

Rony Vexelman is Optimove’s VP of Marketing. Rony leads Optimove’s marketing strategy across regions and industries. Previously, Rony was Optimove's Director of Product Marketing leading product releases, customer marketing efforts and analyst relations. Rony holds a BA in Business Administration and Sociology from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.