Off the Shelf provides a platform for Retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods companies to discuss and gain insights on the pressing problems, trends and solutions.

« Delivering differentiated customer experience in Omni-channel apparel retail | Main | Timing is Everything: Connecting with Consumers in a Rapidly Evolving Marketplace »

NRF's Big Show 2017 Day 1: A Barometer and a Sneak Preview of the Great Potential for Retail

The first day of any large trade show is a sensory overload. There is so much to see, hear, people to meet for the first time, and people you catch up with for the tenth. One gets to learn about all the changes in and the challenges facing this industry. There is no doubt about it: If you are fortunate to be a part of the retail world, you are in the midst of an incredibly exciting time.

While I could go on and on about the awesome Infosys booth and showcase, here are some pivotal moments from the start of Retail's Big Show. The presentation that people were talking about all day was the Q&A with Rebecca Minkoff, the creator of the one of the hottest fashion brands in the world. Her stores are unlike the usual boutiques you might see in the fashion capitals of Europe. Instead, her bricks-and-mortar operations are considered Retail 2.0 stores of the future.

She turned conventional wisdom on its head - from the construct that the designers know best, to the consumers know best. Minkoff took to social media in its earliest years and never looked back. She withstood criticism from the fashion world's established players that listening to and engaging her consumer base was not the way things were done. She was supposed to dictate what fashions they should wear. Instead, Minkoff empowered her customers by listening to their advice and suggestions through social media. You see, Minkoff had realized that the growing (but at that time, still small) social media community was going to be huge someday soon, and wanted to tap into it and have a one-on-one relationship with each and every consumer.

Today, of course, NOT listening to your consumers is the kiss of death. That's why every retailer (and consumer goods company) is looking for new ways to connect and engage with their consumers. Think about how quickly times have changed: Minkoff said she was the first fashion designer on Snapchat back when it was literally her ... and Taco Bell. She admitted that it was indeed a lonely place to be. But now social media and digital is the norm. Organizations find it essential to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. To do so gives immersive and inclusive experiences to consumers.

What also struck me as fascinating about the young clothing designer's experience was her ability to take big risks. She said that being an early adopter of technology was the secret to her success. One example: The innovative "See, Buy, Wear now" fashion show that completely changed the rules of the industry. It was an innovative concept because it was aimed at the consumer, not editors of fashion magazines. After all, said Minkoff, why would a fashion designer want to show designs that wouldn't be on sale in stores for another six months, which was the longtime industry norm? Isn't this example the essence of perfecting a digital journey?

Will e-commerce eventually kill bricks-and-mortar? While there is bad news every other day, there are numerous stories of inspirational retailers that are enhancing the retail experience at the store by empowering customers, and effectively leveraging every bit of information they glean from Big Data, predictive analytics, and proprietary algorithms.

The President and CEO of the Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., Karen Katz, told an audience at The Big Show that being a successful fashion retailer today is a wonderful combination of technology, innovation, and disruption. It is dynamic and fluent - and it's an industry always looking ahead for the next big thing. If you happen to be here, please check in with us at the Infosys Booth 1353. If you aren't here, check out our microsite to hear from us about the next big things we're encountering. We'll be checking in with you again soon!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please key in the two words you see in the box to validate your identity as an authentic user and reduce spam.

Subscribe to this blog's feed

Follow us on

Blogger Profiles

Infosys on Twitter