NRF’s Retail’s BIG Show proved to be even bigger and better than last year, with early reports of 30,000 attendees, up from 27,000 last year. Retail technology was a central theme at NRF14 to help deal with ever-increasing consumer expectations – online, in-store, and on-the-go.
Some of the recurring themes from this year’s conference program included:
- Gartner’s “Nexus of Forces” – social, mobile, cloud, big data;
- M3 convergence: Mobile, Marketing, Millenials;
- Rising importance of the CMO in the retailer executive suite.
Two key challenges emerged for retailers:
- Ability to reconcile “mass customization” with customer relevance;
- Ability to integrate and interoperate disparate retail workflows, systems, and teams to realize omnichannel retail.
Retail pricing cuts across each of these themes and challenges. In fact, RIS published the results of their recent price intelligence survey at NRF showing that over one third of retailers plan to deploy price intelligence within the next 12 months.
Sucharita Mulpuru, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, also highlighted the importance of “right-pricing” in her keynote panel session (2014 Outlook for Digital Retail) on the first day of NRF. Mulpuru’s thesis considered different components contributing to Amazon’s success, including price and price perception. During this session, Mulpuru cited 360pi’s Amazon Holiday Insights Report, which highlighted some significant average price differentials in key categories across multiple retailers including Amazon.
Mulpuru acknowledged some other key takeaways in her presentation, including:
- Continued growth through online channel as a portion of total sales;
- Significant increase in online influence to offline channel – expected to move to over a trillion dollars worth of business;
- Email continues to be a key vehicle for familiarizing consumers with store deals;
- Expected premium for buying from the store is low (below).
Will 2014 finally be the inflection point for traditional retailers to stop looking to the past to define the future? Technology has enabled all retail customers to be multichannel, even if the retailer is not. Retailers cannot restrict their focus to “in-store” and win. Like the one third of retailers planning to deploy price intelligence within the next 12 months, equip yourself and play to win.