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The NRF’s 2020 Vision: A Recap on Retail’s Big Show

January 21, 2020 | Published by Faire

Keynote speaker Gwyneth Paltrow with Sallie Krawcheck at Retail’s Big Show.
Photo courtesy of National Retail Federation.

The National Retail Federation’s Retail’s Big Show is the premier event for all things retail. It’s the largest conference in the world for the retail industry, with 38,000+ attendees and 800 exhibitors partaking in this year’s event. The biggest and brightest minds meet together at New York City’s Javits Center to discuss industry trends, the changing customer landscape, and much more. Attendees not only had the chance to network with major industry players, but they also had the opportunity to learn things only a conference of this magnitude could offer.

Faire’s co-founder and CEO, Max Rhodes, spoke on a panel that focused on technology’s role in the future of retail. The panel dove into how retailers can maneuver the tumultuous economic season and plan for uncertainty. Faire’s product, mission, and impact on the retail industry were focal points of the conversation. Max represented Faire’s customers onstage and highlighted what they represent for the future of retail.

Let’s take a closer look at a few notable takeaways and trend predictions from this year’s conference.

Data and machine learning will deliver personalized shopping experiences.

AI and data-powered technology aren’t new concepts to the retail realm. They’ve been popping up in conversations and trend reports for some time now, specifically concerning personalized customer experiences.

“Traditional sourcing practices interfere with innovation, given the current digital transformation occurring everywhere else in retail. Data-driven merchandising can help brands and retailers, and everyone needs to embrace new technology to remain competitive,” said Rhodes during the panel discussion.

So, how will this technology be accessible to small businesses? Faire delivers the answer.

Faire utilizes data-powered technology to connect local retailers with the best makers and brands to sell in their stores. Each Faire buyer experiences custom product rankings and personalized recommendations when they login. The primary goals are to 1) recommend inventory that retailers will love and buy, and 2) ensure retailers will be able to sell those items to their customers.

Faire uses data from past shopping behavior and returned merchandise to generate these recommendations for each retailer. Because Faire accepts free returns on opening orders, there’s plenty of data on returns to harness. Plus, retailers generally return products that didn’t sell well in their stores—rather than due to the retailer’s personal opinion of the product—so data from returns is helpful in determining future bestsellers.

The Faire experience

The customer experience will remain a top priority.

There are so many opportunities to enhance customers’ experience, and the businesses that fail to make it a primary focus will fall behind in 2020. From the layout of your website and the merchandising of your shelves to your marketing initiatives and the products you curate, the choices you make directly determine how customers interact with your store. And this plays a significant role in customer loyalty. 

Honesty, empathy, and integrity—all part of the so-called “emotional economy”—are qualities that go a long way when it comes to connecting with your community. Make sure that your marketing and buying match your ethos, as those of your customers. Don’t forget to consider what resonates with your customers, and it will benefit your business in the long run.

Customers at Faire retailer Tender Loving Empire in Portland, OR.

Successful retailers will embrace gender identity, inclusion, and diversity.

There’s no question about it: stores that are authentic, genuine, and inclusive in all aspects of their business will surpass those who don’t. The retailers who celebrate diversity and take steps towards inclusion are the ones who will resonate with modern shoppers. Buy consciously from makers with diverse backgrounds and explore products that support a spectrum of human experiences.

Retail isn’t just about selling products to consumers anymore. Delighting customers with thoughtfulness and inclusiveness is something that all stores should be striving toward—not just in 2020, but in the years to come.

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