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NRF Retail’s Big Show 2024 is the cradle of new retail trends. Columbus’ digital commerce experts will attend the conference and explore the shopping streets of NYC. Learn what to expect from this year’s event. 

NRF 2024, retail’s big show, is the world’s biggest and most influential retail conference. This is where it all starts, influencing how the industry will operate in the upcoming year. The exhibition takes place from January 14th to 16th in New York City and attracts retailers and suppliers across the globe. This year, 40,000 attendees, 1,000 exhibitors, and 6,200 brands will be represented at the event.

The conference agenda is extensive, and it may be overwhelming deciding what to prioritize. Columbus’ digital commerce experts Dan Andersson, Head of Strategy & Service Development, Samuel Sapire, Management Consultant, and Ole Johan Lindøe, Strategic Consultant, will attend NRF 2024. Continue reading to learn what to expect and gain insights on key themes worth keeping a close eye on.

Dan_Andersson_roundOmnichannel shifts to unified commerce

The shift from omnichannel to unified commerce takes precedence in Dan Andersson's predictions. He foresees a landscape where digital and physical shopping seamlessly merge, nurturing innovation and customer-centric experiences.

At NRF, Andersson anticipates insightful discussions on the pivotal role of AI and technology in driving this transformation and how unified commerce can elevate both in-store and digital interactions while strengthening sustainable practices.

What omnichannel trends are you anticipating at NRF?

- Unified commerce is increasingly recognized as the future of retail, seamlessly merging digital and physical shopping experiences. During NRF, I'm looking forward to gaining insights into its widespread adoption and mastery, both critical for retail success. The focus on transitioning to unified commerce will undoubtedly spark discussions around the fundamental role of AI and technology in driving innovation. I also anticipate valuable insights on how the unified commerce approach can elevate both in-store and digital experiences, enhance customer loyalty and sustainability, Andersson says.

What will you explore during NRF? 

- My primary focus will be on customer experience in unified commerce. I'm particularly keen on the future of POS, learning more about seamless order management, and exploring the potential of CDP for unified customer insights. These areas are key for shaping a cohesive and enhanced omnichannel experience, Andersson shares.

Which brands or stores are you excited to visit?

- I plan to visit stores from a unified commerce perspective, my first stops include Nike House of Innovation, Rebecca Minkoff, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Showfields. To cap off this tour, I will conclude the experience at the iconic Apple Store at Fifth Avenue, Andersson says. 

Ole Johan Lindøe (Rounded)New technologies enhance the customer experience

Ole Johan Lindøe, Strategic Consultant at Columbus, turns his focus towards the latest trends in customer experiences. At NRF, he expects a showcase of flexible technologies and solutions that guarantee seamless customer interactions across diverse channels.

Ole Johan's agenda includes seeking out sessions on emerging global consumer trends, and exploring in-store technology integration by leading retail brands.

 What customer experience trends are you expecting at NRF?

- An array of unified commerce examples. The prevalence of new, flexible technologies and solutions that ensure seamless customer experiences across multiple channels is a key trend that I anticipate will be showcased by multiple vendors. Additionally, I’m keen to hear firsthand experiences from forward-thinking retailers who have embraced AI to enhance and elevate customer interactions, shares Lindøe.

What will you explore during NRF?

- I plan to seek out presentations by speakers who shed light on emerging global consumer trends. The event consistently offers compelling examples of technology used in new and innovative ways to enhance the overall customer experiences, Lindøe continues.

Which brands or stores are you planning to visit?

- I'm particularly excited about visiting iconic names like Samsung, and Ray-Ban, known for consistently delivering great in-store experiences. In women's fashion, Rebecca Minkoff, and the ever-popular Levi's, have successfully integrated in-store technology to elevate customer interactions, Lindøe says.

- Additionally, I’m keen on exploring pop-up stores, a dynamic space where new products, upcoming brands, and innovative concepts often make their debut. Pop-ups serve as a launchpad for exciting ideas in the market, and there's no better place to 'test for success' than in New York City, Lindøe says.

Samuel Sapire (Profile, rounded)Increased competition drives value creation

Samuel Sapire, Management Consultant at Columbus, aims to decode the dynamics of value creation in the competitive retail industry. At NRF, he anticipates insights on disruptions, new services, and innovative strategies that enhance efficiency and scalability.

Sapire is particularly interested in exploring models that benefit both customers and retailers, with a focus on retail media and innovations within product development.

What value creation trends do you expect to see during NRF? 

- In the changing global landscape, vendors worldwide are seeking to find disruptions within their business spaces. This has led to the emergence of new services, revenue streams, and innovative strategies for enhancing efficiency and scalability in a market that has long been considered mature. I’m eager to learn more about these elements showcased at NRF and how to adopt them in our respective markets, says Sapire.

- Also, in a world abundant with data sources and equipped with AI, the question arises: How can we elevate personalized experiences to new heights, tailoring them to each individual? This is a challenge I’m curious to explore, Sapire adds.

What will you explore during NRF? 

- My focus extends to innovative models that benefit both customers and vendors/retailers alike. Sessions centered around retail media and similar ventures are my top priority. Additionally, I’m keenly observing innovations within product development in retail, Sapire shares.

Which brands and stores are you visiting to explore value creation?

- In the pursuit of value creation, I’m interested in specific brands and stores that stand out for their innovative approaches. I’ll look into Nike's commitment to sustainability through refurbishment and recycling programs. Additionally, the Apple flagship store, renowned for its technological prowess, leads me to explore its value-centric additions and supplementary services, Sapire says.

Sustainability takes the center stage

 In recent years, sustainability has advanced from a 'nice-to-have' to a 'need-to-have,' influencing every aspect from returns to brand identity on the retailer's agenda. Sustainability is no longer a marginal concern but a central theme influencing every aspect of retail. Sapire will also explore sustainability trends at NRF. His interest lies in how sustainability intertwines with the customer journey, enriching overall experiences. His exploration includes iconic stores paving the way in sustainable retail.

What sustainability trends are you anticipating at NRF? 

- I'm eager to observe how sustainability taps into the customer journey, influencing various touch points and potentially enhancing overall experiences, Sapire says.

What will you explore during NRF?

- I'll keep close attention to anything related to the commercial aspect of sustainability and its impact on customer experiences. It's gratifying to see sustainability taking the center stage, Sapire continues.

Which brands or stores dedicated to sustainability are you looking forward to exploring?

- I’m curious to visit the stores of Nike, Allbirds, GROW Farmers Market, and Baggu – all at the forefront of pushing boundaries in sustainability, concludes Sapire.


In conclusion

NRF 2024 attendees can expect insights and innovations that will shape the future of retail. From elevating customer experiences to embracing nostalgia, driving omnichannel excellence, nurturing innovation, and improving sustainability, this year's conference is a must-attend. As the industry continues to transform, NRF 2024 is the compass pointing retailers toward a future where success is not just measured in transactions but in meaningful customers connections.

Curious to know more? Follow our NRF 2024 page for more updates and trend insights. 




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