NRF Big Show Puts Technology and Data in the Spotlight

January 22, 2020 Andrew Hawthorn

As National Retail Federation (NRF) president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a recent podcast, “If you think back about five years ago, there was almost this question of whether the retail industry would survive. That’s no longer really a question...you've got some real opportunities to perform and excel.”

Shay's optimism is not unfounded. 2019 was a very good year for retail, despite a great deal of uncertainty as policy changes and technological disruption continue to challenge retailers.

These opportunities and challenges were at the center of the conversations and presentations at his year's NRF 2020 Vision, the trade association’s annual Big Show that took place this year in New York City January 12-14.

Dealing with technological disruption was top of mind for event attendees. Rising customer expectations for a personalized, engaging, and relevant shopping experience is driving the need for technology innovation. And change in the retail industry can't happen fast enough.

Moving Retail at the Speed of Digital Business

Retailers came to the Big Show seeking vendors who can help them accommodate change. They are being forced — primarily by consumers — to adopt new channels, new delivery mechanisms, and new customer engagement models. And they need vendors like Boomi to do it.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote, "The Future of Retail And How Technology Can Help The Industry Transform," opened the show. An overflow crowd gathered to hear Nadella, whose address focused on the role data plays and will continue to play in the retail industry.

He noted how retail is a massive generator of data, creating more than 40 terabytes per hour.

“What will we do with all that data?” he asked.

As an industry, he said, retail will use it to know its customers, empower its employees, create an intelligent supply chain, and reinvent its business models.

If that isn’t a call to action for retailers to invest in integrating, managing, and analyzing their data, I don't know what is.

Retail 360 Announced at NRF

At the hallmark retail trade conference, we premiered Boomi Retail 360, a solution designed for retailers to easily connect their data and applications to create personalized customer experiences. Boomi’s data and application integration platform allows companies to harness their data to deliver unique customer journeys.

View the Boomi Retail 360 demo to learn more about how we help support your ominichannel retail operations.

With Boomi, retailers can improve decision-making throughout the retail value chain as they collect, aggregate, and analyze multichannel data — improving margins and decreasing costs while creating a more engaging customer experience.

Click and Collect

Buying merchandise online and picking up at a physical store is just one of many new ways consumers want to engage with retailers. At the Big Show, Boomi also demonstrated a solution we call IoT Click and Collect, which uses license plate recognition technology to help retailers offer fast, convenient curbside pickup.

As retailers receive order information and communicate with customers via text, the Boomi solution uses a combination of APIs, application connectors, and a database to help stores fulfill curbside pickup orders in real time.

"With Boomi, retailers can improve decision-making throughout the retail value chain as they collect, aggregate, and analyze multichannel data."

A New Era For Retailers

Rising customer expectations and digital evolution are creating a host of opportunities and challenges for retailers. For instance, 82 percent of consumers will research a product online before they visit a store, and 63 percent of consumers compare prices, seek reviews, or check availability while shopping in store.

Basic retail interactions with customers — such as when they try to return online purchases into a physical store — often expose deep rifts in technology that can only be resolved with a holistic approach to integration.

As Nadella pointed out in his address, a crucial key to retail success in the new decade is using technology to support employees.

“Giving data to employees is the single most ROI-intensive thing you can do. It increases your conversion rate by 15 percent and your satisfaction rate by 10 percent.”

Lots of Love From Our 300+ Retail Customers

Boomi now has more than 10,000 customers, including over 300 retail customers, such as Candy.comDuckhorn VineyardsMOD PizzaUmbra, and The White Company.

We met with dozens of Boomi retail customers who attended the Big Show – customers spanning every sub-vertical in retail, from coffee to jeans.

Our retail customers love what we do for them, whether it’s automating order-to-cash in the back office, uniting front- and back-office processes, supporting better loyalty programs, or providing a robust solution for item mastering.

To learn more about what Boomi can do for your retail business, please contact a Boomi integration expert today.

About the Author

Andrew Hawthorn guides marketing initiatives in education and retail for Boomi. He's a passionate visionary and accomplished marketing leader with 20 years of experience driving success for large enterprises, higher education institutions and early-stage start-ups.

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