Retail’s Big Show has come and gone, but the excitement and the buzz around the show is ongoing. In its 106th year, the Annual Convention & Expo proved to be an amazing event drawing in over 35,000 attendees, 510+ exhibitors, 118 sponsors and over 300 speakers. Retailers from around the world came to the Big Apple to get the inside scoop on the latest trends and technologies shaping the RFA industry. PTC had the pleasure of being in attendance and exhibiting on the show floor.
The event kicked off on January 13th with the NRF Foundation’s Student Program and the third annual NRF Foundation Gala.
Fashion designer, Rebecca Minkoff, keynoted the Student Program by sharing her story alongside Karen Katz, President, and CEO of The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. NBA great, Kobe Bryant made an appearance at the Gala and presented Nike CEO, Mark Parker with the NRF Visionary Award. Another big announcement came on Sunday morning when the NRF Foundation introduced its new RISE UP education and credentialing program for entry-level job seekers.
All of the action didn’t take place on the BIG stage; the expo hall gave us three full days of innovation, inspiration, and motivation to keep the next big ideas in retail coming. Access to the exhibition hall was available free of charge to retailers and those who chose to partake had access to NEW custom expo tours to help attendees maneuver the overwhelming number of technologies and solutions available on the floor. The latest and greatest retail technology trends were on display and retailers got to witness them in the flesh. The top five trends seen at the show were: machine learning and artificial intelligence, robots, RFID, chatbots, and customization and personalization. IBM Watson and Marchesa’s cognitive dress collaboration from the Met Gala made an appearance and lit up the show. Using tweets passed through a Watson tone analyzer, the dress changed colors based on the sentiment of tweets about the dress.
With all the excitement going on on the show floor, it’s no surprise that PTC stood out as a crowd favorite. Last year, retailers were able to experience the “Connected Store” and this year retailers got a glimpse of the Retail Transformation Journey. PTC is no longer just selling a PLM solution, they are selling an experience which allows retailers to maximize their investment and transform their business while delivering inspired and innovatve products. The FlexPLM team had round the clock demos all three days and featured some of their technology partners including Optitex, Nexgen Packaging, First Insight and Kalypso. Retailers also got an interactive demo off FlexPLM’s newest concept management appplication for collaborative and inspired retail product design. With the web-based application, users are able to easily capture inspirations, ideas, requirements, and feedback that can then be shared across the enterprise to provide product, material, product range and seasonal direction. Users will be able to create digital boards using images, videos, text, documents, and color palettes.
NRF’s Big Show 2017 did not disappoint, and because it was my first time attending, the bar is set very high. I can’t wait for 2018’s show and if you can’t contain your excitement join PTC for LiveWorx 2017, their global technology conference in May! They will have a designated Retail track featuring top retailers, industry experts, and technology partners.