The Absolute Best Stuff Overheard at NRF 2015

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The Absolute Best Stuff Overheard at NRF 2015

By Joe Skorupa - 01/14/2015

By Joe Skorupa
Only the NRF Big Show could deliver an experience that ranged from personalized bobbleheads of industry leaders and a post-midnight stroll with friends through a deserted Times Square to meeting a Time Magazine Person of the Year and engaging the smartest people in retail in a cascade of cutting-edge briefings. Another year of the NRF Big Show is in the books. Fueled by caffeine, sugar and alcohol, here are my takeaways from four days of whirlwind activity.

Before jumping into my favorite smart quotes I have a request: Who in retail has attended the most NRFs? Do you know someone who can beat 38? Send me your candidates. I want to know all who have 30 or more NRFs under their belts.

Now for the absolute best stuff overheard at NRF:

"The rest of the world ran out and you ran in." – Song sung by residents of West Point in Liberia to thank Katie Meyler, founder of More Than Me, for her efforts to fight Ebola and offer help to people in need

"Retail ROI was the first to give More Than Me money to fight Ebola. People died unnecessarily because of the bureaucracy and planning. Being a bystander to suffering is not an option." – Katie Meyler, Founder of More Than Me and Time Magazine Person of the Year speaking at SuperSaturday

"This year retailers and tech vendors helped SuperSaturday raise $400,000 that we will give to support organizations that help orphans and vulnerable children." – Greg Buzek, IHL Group and RetailROI

"We couldn't do anything without social media. We were born on MySpace, received a million dollars through Facebook, and fought Ebola through Instagram. This may be hard to believe but true." – Katie Meyler, Founder of More Than Me

"We wanted to honor four great supporters of RetailROI for being such strong advocates and couldn't think of a better way to do it than creating custom bobbleheads of Jeff Roster (Gartner), Randy Cucerzan (Genesco), John Geyerman (Schlotsky's) and Scott Hagizadegan (Ignisis). We are calling them the Retail ROI Hall of Fame class of 2015." – Greg Buzek, IHL Group and RetailROI

"Do you know the tree stump theory? Somehow a tree stump (a problem) gets embedded in your website and after a while you cover it up with a tablecloth and add a flower vase and eventually you don't even see the tree stump there anymore. However, your customers see it and wonder why your website has a tree stump there." – Kevin Ertell, Sur La Table

"Customer experience and engagement is about designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet and exceed customer expectations, and increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy." – Jennifer Polk, Gartner

"We cannot expect to manage tomorrow's retail landscape with yesterday's retail metrics." – Ken Silay, Chico's FAS

"The Internet of Things breaks walls that separate retail channels. – Monica Dorsel, Nordstrom

"Our model is built on a bespoke retailing approach, which is mass customization of products enabled by technology." – Anastasia Leng, Co-Founder and CEO, Hatch

"Cyber attacks don't happen in minutes or seconds. They happen in weeks or months and retailers typically don't discover them themselves. They are informed about the breach by external sources." – Bryan Oberlander, PwC

"65% of companies are adding a chief customer officer that reports to either the CEO or the CMO." – Jennifer Polk, Gartner

"Security is not just an IT problem. It's a business problem. It is a CEO and board-level problem and not just something for the CSO or CIO." – Bryan Sartin, Verizon
"Marketing without operations will fail." – Jennifer Polk, Gartner

"One of the top trends in retail is accountability. Consumers want to know where their products come from and how they are made." -- Anastasia Leng, Co-Founder and CEO, Hatch

"There will be another Ebola. I don't know if it will be called Ebola or a war, but it will come. And we need to be ready and we need to start with education." – Katie Meyler

"Two thirds of data stolen from retailers was data the retailer didn't know it had in that location." – Bryan Sartin, Verizon

"We don't call it innovation. We call it problem solving." – Kevin Ertell, Sur La Table

"Technology is changing the way fans have a relationship with the teams and sports they love. They are using technology to have an immersive experience. Retailers better get in this game because their customers are already there." – Pat Bakey, SAP

"Many systems in use today are like Antiques Roadshow because they are not capable of operating in today's omnichannel environment." – Noell Goggin, Epicor

"The oldest example of writing we have on the planet is a list of prices." – Jim Sill, Clear Demand

"Doing nothing costs you more money than investing in an upgrade." – James Zubok, Mi9

"The three feet between the associate and the shopper are the three most important feet in the building." – Eric Bass, SVP of Staffing and Productivity, Belk
"We are a decade away from the end of the traditional POS. The entire process will need to change, not just the register. It is more of a business problem than a tech problem." – Ratnakar Lavu, EVP of Digital Innovation, Kohl’s

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