Everyone calls it Big. The Vendors. The Retailers. Miscellaneous Exhibitors. Could it be solely because the NRF has been calling it BIG, or does the show actually live up to its name?
Luckily for everyone who shelled out some serious benjamin both to exhibit and to attend the full conference, the name BIG wasn’t just a marketing phrase and the show, at least in my humble opinion, proved to be a true gathering of everyone who does or wants to matter anything in retail technology. It could also be a true testimony for the tougher economic times ahead, as retailers are forced to think about innovative ways to attract and retain finicky customers, who are increasingly expecting high technology features in an easy-to-use package, hidden from the view, right in their favorite store.
If you don’t believe me, check out this data from Google, published in the NY Times article on January 14. On Christmas, traffic to Google from iPhones surged, surpassing incoming traffic from any other type of mobile device. What is shocking is that iPhone accounts for only 2% of smartphones worldwide, which clearly indicates a paradigm shift among the users. Apple has taken geek factor out of using a mobile browser and people finally started using it: to look up the store and get directions, to compare the price for an item when they are in the store, to check if the competition has the same item around the corner. All of these functions required a phonecall in the past. Here is the link to the article: Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic
So, when are you going to start communicating with these customers? What is your strategy for integrated communication with consumer devices and self-service extensions for those customers who are slower in transition yet expect the same features? I will be writing more about the actually Big show, the technology vendors and notable innovations in the coming days, so please check back for more musings.