Day 1 at NRF Big Show kicked off with a keynote featuring Target's CEO Brian Cornell and Matthew Shay, President & CEO National Retail Federation.
After the usual smalltalk about how business was over the holiday period, the two men started talking about supply chain problems and how they could be overcome alongside any other headwinds the retail sector is bound to experience in the next few months and years.
The main focus for Brian Cornell was upstream improvements in visibility and improvement of ports in the US. It was a bit disappointing not to hear about onshoring of manufacturing or alternative sourcing strategies to other countries in Asia or even China's continued 'Zero Covid' strategy.
However, there are inflationary pressures in the supply chain for retailers and these will have to feed through to consumers. Embarking with an onshoring strategy would potentially drive you out of market positioning rather than improving your brand... at least in the US market.
We expected a few people not to turn up to NRF. The primary reason for this is presumably the fear of getting caught with a positive Covid test before your flight back home.
Luckily (for us at least) the UK government recently changed their Covid testing requirement for return flights. Travellers to the UK no longer need to show a negative test result. However, all travellers much still book at Day 2 test and fill in an onerous Passenger Locator Form when flying to the UK.
SOME EXCITING STUFF
The "Robot Can" (shelf & brand activation)
Whilst technically not a robot, but more a moving arm that activates a brand on a store shelf. However, it was enough to catch our attention so we thought it was worth including in our blog. Check out https://www.tokinomo.com/ for more information.
Aisle Walk Through (360 video)
So, there were definitely a few cancellations at NRF with a number of exhibitors unwilling to risk getting caught in the Covid dilemma of not being able to return to their country or risk being sued as staff might catch Covid. This is a walk through of a typical aisle on the lower floor of the exhibition. Most of these stands are quite small so individually they may not stand out too much, but on the upper floor there were a few larger stands that remained empty or unbuilt which showed much stronger.
However, we are always amazed at the quality of the audience at NRF and this occasion was no exception.
Apologies for the quality of this video, but it is 360 and you can rotate as I walk down the aisle.
NEW G2P Vendor (Brightpick)
Another entrant in the G2P space is welcome to push the technologies further. Brightpick is a subsidiary or sister company to Photoneo, a computer vision expert vendor. Check out https://brightpick.ai/ for more information.
GoPuff Dark Store
We also passed by a GoPuff dark store on W42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue (New York). Near impossible to see anything through the opaque windows, but there did not seem to be any type of automation and judging by the size of the location it also appeared to be nearly impossible to add any type of automation.
Silly data: 15.0k steps walked