A Big Show Full of Big Ideas About Autonomous Retail, Online Marketplaces, and What’s Next for Retail Ecommerce
The NRF Big Show is always one of the premiere showcases of what’s now and what’s next in Retail and the 2020 edition was certainly such a spectacle. From keynote addresses by industry luminaries such as Chris Baldwin (BJ’s Wholesale), Erik Nordstrom (Nordstrom Department Stores), and other top global brands, to educational sessions covering a wide variety of in-store and online topics, to the expo floor packed with vendors and partners, there was no shortage of experiences to occupy the 40,000+ attendees time. The confluence of offline and online experiences was clearly the overriding theme of this year’s Big Show, as retailers seek to capitalize on the popularity of online commerce while continuing to offer top-notch in-store shopping experiences. The term “click-and-mortar”, playing on the traditional “brick-and-mortar” term for a physical retail presence, was prominent throughout the event, driving home the importance of breaking down the online/offline barriers in providing the customer with transparent convenience.
INTRODUCING CARTABLE: POPUP AUTONOMOUS RETAIL-AS-A-SERVICE…
Cartable CX20 Popup Autonomous Retail as a Service from Cartable on Vimeo.
Nothing demonstrates the advancement of this click-and-mortar theme more so than McFadyen Digital’s latest innovation making it’s debut at the 2020 Big Show, the Cartable Popup Autonomous Retail-as-a-Service (PARaaS) platform. This exciting new platform was announced at the show with a live demo available on the Expo floor, showcasing the flexibility and ease-of-use of online ordering or curbside ordering combined with real-time product delivery and locker pickup options.
For the retailer, the Cartable platform provides a configurable and brand-able popup retail presence that can be set up quickly and affordably. The Cartable storefronts are available in various sizes from 10-feet upwards of 40-feet, and can be configured in almost limitless configurations for vending or locker-style pickup of items of various sizes as small as a candy bar and as large as a carry-on suitcase. Power options include entirely self-contained solar powered units, on-the-grid hookups, or generator-powered units perfect for events and special engagements. Retail brands can leverage the Cartable Popup Autonomous Retail-as-a-Service platform to add an always-open presence augmenting a traditional store or to extend brand reach into areas where no traditional retail location is present (suburbs, rural areas, campuses, gas stations, event venues, etc.) Contact the Cartable team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about pricing and availability.
ONLINE MARKETPLACES RULE THE WORLD…
The Online Marketplace model was another major what’s-next-in-retail theme at the Big Show. With McFadyen’s recent rollout of the innovative Thoughtfull.co Marketplace for Canadian bookseller Indigo, based on the Shopify+ and Mirakl Marketplace platforms, we see yet another creative application of this 3.0 model of ecommerce. The Thoughtfull Marketplace provides a guided-gifting experience that helps the shopper select a unique gift or experience based on the interests and preferences of the person they are buying the gift for. By personally tailoring gift suggestions, the customer experiences a worry-free way to select a gift they may not have otherwise thought of, making this marketplace a thoughtful endeavor, indeed. By utilizing third-party sellers and service providers, Indigo is establishing an entirely new commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers, all while extending their own reach through the new Thoughtfull brand.
Many of the discussions taking place at the McFadyen Digital booth on the expo floor related to such applications of the online marketplace model and how traditional retailers can mature their digital shopping experience by providing an endless aisle of product and service selection by leveraging the Mirakl Marketplace platform. As with leading supermarket operator Albertsons and The Albertsons Marketplace, McFadyen can implement the Mirakl platform and help guide retailers and grocers on the maturity path from first-party seller to operating a thriving third-party marketplace. To learn more the successful implementation of the online marketplace model, be sure to download your copy of the Marketplace Maturity Model guide.
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY…
In keeping with the theme of innovation and providing the best possible customer experience, even our social events were best-of-breed as we were proud to co-sponsor an NRF Murder Mystery Party with partner Adobe/Magento. Held 34 stories up at the famous Sky Room NYC, we welcomed over 250 guests as we ate, drank, networked, and played a fun ecommerce-themed murder mystery game to determine Who Killed Mr Profits? We’d like to thank everyone who joined us at this scenic Sunday-night event and to all of our partners who helped organize and promote this event.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN…
As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun and, while the NRF Big Show always goes by in a blink, this year’s event felt even more accelerated. Call us digital commerce nerds, but between the Cartable launch, the incredible social events, and all of the incredible conversations we had with some of the brightest minds in retail, we found ourselves wishing that it would never end. If we had the pleasure of speaking with you at the even, thank you for your time and stories and if we haven’t yet met, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com and let’s talk about how we can innovate your click-and-mortar strategy together.
CMO & Digital Marketing Practice Lead