NRF 2023 Wash-Up: What were our highlights?
NRF trend reports are everywhere this week, so we thought we’d do something different. Highlight the 5 things we actually enjoyed most about NRF.
I’ve said it for over a decade, and I’ll say it again: the winners in retail will be led by enlightened executives that use systems thinking to view the business holistically; an imperative for using technology as a tool to develop smart, consumer-centric solutions; and most importantly, the need for agility in pivoting, building or buying solutions, and rethinking business models based on a complex, evolving retail marketplace.
So, let’s talk agility. It’s especially critical in the wake of an international pandemic that accelerated fundamental changes in retail. We’ve just experienced the brutal convergence of three fronts of a perfect storm: mobile as a transactional powerhouse; the customer as point-of- sale; and the pandemic which has separated the winners from the losers. Agility is a synonym for resilience, the greatest competitive edge, and most powerful survival skill in running a relevant, meaningful business. And agility is the key to emerging from the perfect storm with a stronger, more vital business.
Agility, on every level of retail management, enables leaders of an organization to anticipate the future, not catch up to it. Agility management empowers employees (retail’s greatest natural resources) and liberates managers from meaningless hours of tedious, distracting reporting and documentation. The currency for successful retail operations today, eliminating as much friction as possible, is speed. And I’m not talking about a race to the bottom, I mean an Agile plan to deliver customized products and services to customers when, where, and how they want them. Bluntly, the brands that cannot deliver this will be toast.
Say what you may about the unstoppable force of technology, but when all of its assets are used as tools, it will make business and consumers’ lives more Agile in the future. When combined with human intuition and empathy, agility management will redefine consumers’ relationship with retailers and retail leaders’ relationships with their partners and workforce. And that is a permanent game changer