NRF Big Show 2019 Recap: Impacting the Future of Retail with a New Maturity Model

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“Impact” was the theme of the 2019 NRF Big Show…

Retail impacts the lives of individuals and the economic fate of nations. It’s indicative of how we consume, how we interact with each other, and how confident we are in the world around us. At NRF’s Big Show, however, retail is somehow something more. For the exhibitors and attendees, it’s what we do, what we’re passionate about, and how we earn our livelihoods. For many, NRF’s Big Show is part of the job or part of the fun of the job, while for others, it’s a learning experience and window into what-could-be. One thing is for certain; The NRF Big Show is a spectacle with almost 40,000 attendees, hundreds of expert speakers, and three floors of exhibitors ready to help with anything from Ecommerce, to payments, to in-store experiences, logistics, or analytics. McFadyen Digital was once again a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the NRF Big show for the 13th consecutive year. Here are our thoughts on 2019’s Big Show:

BJ’s Wholesale Club Chairman, President and CEO Chris Baldwin opens the 2019 NRF Big Show

Retail is strong and getting stronger…

“I would love to say that retail is back, but that would be wrong. Retail never went away. As I stand here today, I can say that our industry is more healthy, vibrant, innovative and exciting than ever.”, stated  Chris Baldwin, BJ’s Wholesale Club Chairman, President and CEO, as he opened the first session at NRF 2019. His remarks went on to focus on retail innovators and the impact of their innovations, making it clear that there’s always room for continual improvement. Mr Baldwin reinforced his point with the statistic that 42 million workers, 25% of the American workforce, are employed by the retail industry, with one third of Americans experiencing their first paid job in retail.

The retail strength theme continued with many retail leaders touting the renewed importance of the in-store experience, even if the workers required to power that experience are changing. Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Kroger, spoke about the changing landscape of store function and on a shift int he type of employees required to make things work. He mentioned that he sees stores evolving into a hybrid of retail experience and warehouse efficiency where more and more of the workers required to power that experience will be on the digital side of the house, referencing Kroger’s team of roughly 500 members doubling imminently to keep up with demand. We also saw  Best Buy Chairman and CEO, Hubert Joly, discuss the renewed importance of the brick and mortar retail store as an experiential compliment to the Ecommerce explosion, a place to physically try out products, pick up products, and to get service in an interpersonal setting.

Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen is interviewed by Closing Bell anchor Sara Eisen.

Product selection is King…

A key part of improving the customer experience and of competitive differentiation has become the ability to rapidly scale up product selection. Offering that “endless aisle” experience is one of the primary drivers of Amazon’s success and is something that modern retailers need to tackle in order to compete. At NRF we saw multiple announcements and had many discussions surrounding the online marketplace model, perhaps the best singular way to offer that endless aisle experience. New marketplaces from Bluefly and Leroy Martin Brazil sparked discussions along with the recently launched Albertsons MoreForU.com Marketplace. All utilizing the Mirakl marketplace platform, these retail and grocery leaders are demonstrating the power of the marketplace model to offer more products from more categories to their customers, to learn more about what their customers want, and to ultimately sell more items and earn more revenue from their Ecommerce channel.

Marketplace Maturity Model - Condensed

The Marketplace Maturity Model is an industry-first model for marketplace operators or those who wish to be.

New Marketplace Maturity Model is announced…

Our own big news at the NRF Big Show is that we debuted an industry-first Marketplace Maturity Model. This model is designed to take an organization from the First-Party (1P) Ecommerce stage, to offering Third-Party (3P) Ecommerce, through to running an optimized best-of-breed Marketplace like Amazon or Alibaba. This model was created in the tradition of the CMMI model, and is based on McFadyen Digital’s over 10 years of marketplace experience, including from-scratch custom builds for organizations like Teleflora and the US Army. This maturity model will be used to help provide organizations with a clear growth roadmap for their new marketplaces and gives existing marketplace operators a baseline to gage their own maturity level and chart a future iterative path. The Marketplace Maturity Model Guide can be downloaded here.

The 2019 Big Show saw over 40,000 attendees, over 700 exhibiting organizations and over 500 speakers participating in an event that will be discussed for the rest of the year. We look forward to next year’s event in 2020, who’s theme we can only speculate will have something to do with “vision”.

McFadyen Digital helps enterprises and large retailers succeed with the online marketplace model and with top-flight ecommerce properties. Please contact us at info@mcfadyen.com if you have any questions or would like to set up a complimentary consultation session to learn how you can improve your customer experience with a marketplace of your own.

AUTHOR

Thomas Gaydos
CMO & Marketing Practice Lead
McFadyen Digital
@ThomasGaydos

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