NRF Recap: Data Revolution by IoT, Big Data & Customer Segmentation

I had the pleasure of attending the The National Retail Federation big show, NRF16, both this year and the prior year. It was a fantastic event, and I enjoyed live-tweeting my attendee experience. As I reflect on my time there, I want to share the trends I saw developing at NRF 2016. It isn’t that there is big change from the prior year, but rather an evolution. In 2015, there was a conference-wide focus on making the store more digital. In 2016, the focus was on how everything is influenced by the data revolution.

It is now key that every brand and every retailer become data ready. With this in mind, here is my recap of NRF 2016.


The big change I am seeing now


Internet of Things:  Volumes and formats of  are continue to increase and will revolutionize the data formats and models to turn this information ins real value. Samsung CEO said by 2017 all their devices will be connected to the internet. Retailers have to ask themselves how to leverage all this data? There are two main categories, one are the RFID providers which track all non-electronic things, while the electronics devices and machines are already connected to the internet. Intel was show casing how they help Levis or Nordstrom optimize their in-store customer service.

Customer segmentation: A big portion of people I talked to is asking “how can we make more out of our high value premium customers?”.  If you agree I think these two assets are worth reading: Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Customer Data. Find more about how achieving a total customer relationship.

Omnichannel is dead: Just Ask Your Customer. Clients don’t think in terms of channels. Marc Rosen, the executive vice president and president of global e-commerce for Levi Strauss & Co., recently told an audience of retailers: “The word ‘omnichannel’ will go away. Consumers don’t know and don’t care about these concepts.” (Forbes) This will put in more need for a seamless customer experience, based on all interactions and transactions a customer does. Connecting The Dots between key information about customer, product, supplier and locations become the new currency  in the age of relationships. Read more here or listen to people who have done it, like Troy Barker from Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply.

Troy shared insights in the digital transformation to a modern retail. Troy said “Focus on the customer, not on the channel”. Creating a consistent customer experience everywhere needs customer focus, but also adopting new ways. An store driven thinking cannot be transformed into online or vice versa. “Data is core to our success”, Troy said, who exposed 80k additional products to “Becoming a modern retail is a company-wide mind shif. All departments must be engaged and committed to having a customer mindset. You have to be prepared to make the investment (dollars, resources and time) and select the right technology partners to standardize data across the business.”


murdochs digital transformation
Old world thinking, can not just be adopted to new digital trends.

Data at the Center of Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply E-Commerce Strategy

Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply is counting on a new data management platform to help power its personalization efforts, particularly for its online customers. In this interview from the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City, Troy Barker, director of e-commerce at Murdoch’s, discusses how the ranch and home supply retailer is using data to build better customer experiences and relationships. Watch the video!

Big Data is Big:
Adding a new dimension to the business critical data was trending, like predicting supply chain, product demand and improving customer profiles. Informatica was making noise with the $1m big data challenge, where companies can win $1m for their big data project.

Data Governance: What is our defintion of customer? How do we define prospects and customers? A lot of talks showed that there is lack of data governance rules, policies and processes. The clue is, many business people do not call it “governance”, some even are scared by the term. But establishing standards and processes to make people do the right things right, is an area where retail has to catch up. This eBook, Just Enough Data Governance, is a good read to get started.

PS: Do not forget about mobile. My 2016 “omnichannel is dead” blog mentions that conversions on mobile devices are still a challenge. Our mobile devices have become our best friend. Stefan Schambach, who founded Demandware and Intershops, takes of for his next big thing to fix the mobile conversion issue with NetStore. A vendor to watch.

This is my NRF recap from 2016 – What are the trends in your eyes?