Technology is no longer confined to a single store space. The retail customer experience is branching outside of store walls and into mobile phones, kiosks and other technological devices. To hammer home this point, the National Retail Federation's annual convention and expo is providing attendees with an interactive look at the future of retail stores.
The trade show, to be held Jan. 13 - 16 in New York, NY, will bring together 18,000 top-level executives and retailers from companies across the globe to experience new and future trends in the industry. One of the highlights of the show will be the "X08 - Beyond the Walls of Retail," a show floor exhibit designed to demonstrate how customers are now able to shop with the use of new interactive technologies.
Show attendees visiting X08 will be engaged in interactive visuals and holographic images hovering around storefronts, some allowing you to shop via cell phone or PDA, and a reactive billboard that triggers digital imagery, while communicating a retailer's message as you enter into its field of sensitivity. Other areas in the exhibit will include intellimat, countervision, kiosk and RFID technologies.
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The DESiGN STUDiO is another section at the show that features sessions on store design and store planning. Retail case studies will be presented by industry leaders from both the retail and design communities.
In the center of the DESiGN STUDiO is the Design Genius Bar. The Genius Bar will highlight special tools and interactive features which will enable participants to gain a greater understanding of store design process, branding and visual merchandising. In addition, four DESiGN STUDiO Lounges are a retreat for attendees to relax and engage in in-depth conversations that require a bit more privacy, organizers say.
Someone that knows a little something about design and fashion, Tim Gunn, TV host of Bravo's "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" and chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc., will be one of the key speakers at the show. Gunn, who also serves as a design mentor on Bravo's "Project Runway," formerly served as chairman of the Department of Fashion Design at The New School for Design. He plans to speak during a session entitled "Leveraging Product Innovation to Win the Hearts of Consumers."
Business strategist, CEO and author of "Wikinomics" Dan Tapscott will also speak on the topic of how online social communities are shaping the business culture. Thomas Kinder, vice president of Customer Business Development, Global Innovation and Strategic Alliances at The Proctor & Gamble Company will also join Tapscott.
Tapscott and Kinder will take a close look at product introductions and the enormous cost retailers undertake when that product fails. They will also discuss the emergence of social networks that shape consumers' buying behaviors and how leading retailers and consumer products companies from around the world have reshaped their innovation development practices for greater success.
NRF 97th Annual Convention & EXPO
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
January 13-16, 2008 in New York, NY
For more information, go to www.nrf.com.
Other retail and industry leaders that plan to speak include representatives from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Harrods Ltd., EMI Music Americas, The Coca-Cola Company and The Gymboree Corporation.
Many of those industry leaders will be honored at the show's Retail Industry Luncheon. The tribute will recognize innovative retailers for their advancements and career achievements. Award winners this year include:
- Gold Medal Award Winner Terry J. Lundgren Chairman, President and CEO Macy's Inc.
- Retail Innovator of the Year Award John L. Morris Founder Bass Pro Shops Inc.
- International Retailer of the Year Award Lane Crawford President Hong Kong Limited
- Silver Plaque Award Winner Daniel J. Doyle VP, Loss Prevention and Human Resources and Administration Beall's Inc.
Back on the show floor, a diverse group of Expo hall pavilions will also be on display, said Daniel Butler, NRF's vice president of merchandising and retail operations. The pavilions will focus on different topics including customer experience, environmentally friendly products, kiosk technology and veteran-owned retail businesses.
The "Customer Experience Pavilion," a joint venture between NRF and Retail Customer Experience magazine, will provide a hands-on environment where retailers can see real-world strategies and solutions available to help them connect more meaningfully with customers in a marketplace where connecting with shoppers is a rapidly growing challenge.
Different areas of the pavilion will demonstrate how retailers can improve the customer experience, increase sales, merchandise more effectively, educate employees, generate customer and employee loyalty and integrate technology seamlessly into a store environment.
KioskCom.com's Self-Service Pavilion is an area designed to be a starting point for retailers looking into automated technology.
"The pavilion is a place for attendees to start their quest for self-service," said Lawrence Dvorchik, the pavilion's organizer and general manager of KioskCom's Self-Service Expo.
The pavilion will include self-service companies ELO TouchSystems, Meridian Kiosks, ShoptoCook and Freedom Shopping.
"The NRF is a great show," Dvorchik said," and we hope to provide retailers with a quick and easy way to get self-service."
Other pavilions at the show include the ARTS Standards Pavilion, the Green Pavilion, the NRF Foundation, the Supply Chain and Logistics Hub and the Veterans in Business Pavilion.
Cultural diversity is another element that makes the NRF show an important event, Butler said. Out of the 18,000 attendees, more than 2,800 are international attendees from 64 countries other than the United States. To accommodate those attendees, show organizers hire five to 10 translators each year, based on need.
Regardless of nationality, organizers hope all of those in attendance will leave with a better knowledge of the retail environment's future.
"We want them to have an understanding of what is changing and how your company's business strategies should change to adjust to that future," Butler said.