Big News from NRF's Big Show: 10 Things You Need to Know

Thousands of retailers gathered in NYC for the annual NRF Big Show and were surrounded by a high-energy buzz of industry news, a long list of retail sessions featuring influential business leaders and demos showing the hottest new technologies. Customer-facing mobile technologies were a big theme at this year's event. Here are 10 things you need to know about the 2009 Big Show.

1. NRF's Big Show Moves to Washington DC in 2011
The National Retail Federation's annual Big Show makes a big switch to the Washington, D.C, convention center in 2011, the same year the convention and trade expo celebrates its 100th event. For the past 12 years, thousands of show attendees have flocked to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. According to the NRF, the Washington D.C. venue offers more space and is a more cost effective move for the retail association which is based in Washington D.C.

2. Escalate Retail Rides the Mobile Commerce Wave
Smartphones essentially become bar code readers with Escalate Retail's "Buy Anywhere, Fulfill Anywhere Commerce." The suite includes a Microsoft Tag, enabling retailers to create 2D bar codes that contain information and commands that link to m-commerce sites. Smartphone users download Microsoft's tag reader application and then use their phone's camera to snap a picture of the tag which then automatically links to a specific landing page on an m-commerce site. Users can then opt to complete their transaction via their mobile phone or order products via the phone and pick up the merchandise in store.

3. Wal-Mart Taps Agentrics for Value Re-Branding, Private Label Development
The world's largest retailer uses Agentrics product lifecycle management (PLM) platform to support the collaborative development of its private brand products, beginning with the Wal-Mart Great Value line. Agentrics has rebranded the Wal-Mart system, which is now referred to as "Wal-Mart Aspect" across the retailer's network. In October, Wal-Mart and more than 500 suppliers began using Agentrics PLM to support the re-branding of the Wal-Mart Great Value line, which today is the highest selling consumer brand in North America.

4. A Virtual Makeover with IBM's Virtual Mirror
IBM debuts its virtual mirror kiosk which takes a digital photo of the shopper and scans in various makeup and hair coloring products that the shoppers may be interested in purchasing. Without having to actually try the makeup on, the shopper views an accurate replica of their face with the makeup and/or hair style transposed on their image. The EZ Face virtual mirror has already been deployed in Israel's Super-Pharm and is planned to hit stores in the United States sometime in 2009.

5. Family Dollar Uses SAS Merchandise Planning to Facilitate Company-Wide Transformation
One of the fastest growing discount chains in the United States is in the midst of "Project Accelerate," a three-year transformation that will lead to a better shopping experience for customers, help improve productivity of its inventory and enhance efficiency in its supply chain. At the core of Family Dollar's transformation is merchandise planning applications from SAS. To power "Project Accelerate," Family Dollar implemented software from the SAS Merchandise Intelligence suite including SAS Merchandise Financial Planning and SAS Merchandise Assortment Planning.

6. The Future of Customer Engagement with Torex Loyalty
Retailers gain unique insight into their customers' buying profile with the release of Torex Loyalty. By registering customers on the Web, in-store or over the phone and maintaining a record of when they buy, what they buy and how frequently, retailers have the ability to significantly influence their consumer's shopping behavior. Torex Loyalty uses SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging to target customers directly with paperless offers. Torex Loyalty also uses wireless technology in the form of Bluetooth marketing or Bluecasting to detect when a customer or prospect is within the vicinity of the store and then sends an immediate promotion or reminder of an offer that has already been sent.

7. NRF's Seeing Green Concept Store
An interactive indoor/outdoor market demonstrates the best and easiest ways to build and integrate green solutions into the store. The Seeing Green Concept Store features energy efficient POS systems by Intel, paperless coupon systems by Ecrio, test window shades by Roll-a-Shade that keep the store cool in the summer and warm in the winter as well as environmentally-friendly wall murals from Omnova which use digital technology to create high impact feature walls with a virtually unlimited selection of graphics, images and illustrations that can be updated and changed with no waste.

8. Motorola Launches Enterprise Mobility Suite
Motorola unveils a suite of new advanced data capture, mobile payment, voice and wireless security solutions. A unique addition to the product suite is Motorola's Total Enterprise Access and Mobility (TEAM) Express tool which provides associates with virtually instant communications. TEAM Express provides push-to-talk capability between different types of devices, including voice-capable Motorola mobile computers, bar code scanners, TEAM VoWLAN smartphones and Motorola two-way radios. Associates from the shop floor to the loading dock to the warehouse can share information at the touch of a button, without the need to carry additional devices.

9. Retailer News You Need to Know
Guess? upgrades its Global ERP Solution with Jesta I.S by implementing the new release of Vision Sourcing and Vision Demand Management. A.C. Moore Arts & Craft leverages Oracle Retail merchandising applications to increase sell-through of seasonal merchandise and help preserve margins...Books-A-Million selects Reflexis Retail Execution Management to improve customer service, increase productivity and control labor costs...The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) add RedPrairie's Warehouse Management (WMS), Workforce Management (WFM) and Collaboration Portal solutions. Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores implement selection and hiring software from Kronos solution for effective selection and hiring to improve retention. Alumni Hall Stores add UTC RETAIL Merchant for up-to-date inventory data and UTC RETAIL Gift Card.

10. Hot New Technologies at the Big Show
Manhattan Associates Distributed Order Management Solution integrates with WebSphere Commerce from IBM, which enables customers to fill orders from multiple inventory channels and provide packaged capabilities for buying products online with pickup in stores, shipping online orders from stores and orchestrating vendor-drop shipments...Fujitsu unveils a host of new 'Univations' for retailers in the form of U-Serv self-service hardware and partner software including the U-Serv 50, U-Serv 60, U-Serv 75, U-Serv 150 and Med-Serv Patient Registration Kiosk...QuantiSense releases Version 4.5 of its retail-specific Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing application, which includes enhanced personalized dashboard, an enhanced library of retail business metrics and an expanded number of QuantiSense Playbooks...NCR and R3 Omni release an innovative self-service kiosk solution to offer retailers a convenient way to select an extended range of merchandise from organizations such as the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, U.S. Olympics and colleges...Intel unveils a POS proof-of-concept system that exhibits digital signage and POS technology in a kiosk form factor. The kiosk includes features suggestive selling real-time inventory access, promotions, product details and customer reviews...VeriFone introduces the MX880, a customer-facing multi-function payment system that combines a tactile keypad with full-motion color video display and processor.

NRF's Big Show took place from January 11 to 14th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC.

For more information on what you may have missed at the NRF Big Show, see "Doing the Trade Show Shuffle at NRF 2009."
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