Another busy day in the Big Apple. Day 2 at NRF saw an incredible lineup of speakers take to the stage, while RETHINK Retail capped things off with a fantastic bash bringing together retail thought leaders and influencers in style.
Couldn’t be there in person? We’ve got you – here’s our key takeaways from Day 2 of retail’s big show.
RETAILERS ARE BECOMING BRANDS
Rodney Mullen, CEO of Kroger took to the stage to discuss the changing face of retail. Having joined the company as a part time clerk in 1978, he’s seen the rapid evolution of the retail industry first hand. In spite of this, Mullen insisted that the focus on associates, guests and communities has always been a consistent focus for Kroger providing a North Star focus for the company.
One change that reflects the current times is customer’s increasing willingness to purchase own-brand product lines. With many retailers offering competitive pricing lines, the shift from selling others’ goods to prioritizing branded product ranges suggests that the ‘retailer as brand’ narrative is one that we are going to continue to see develop over the coming years.
HYBRID RETAILING IS HERE TO STAY
As TruRating data has shown, customers no longer distinguish between individual channels and simply expect the best customer experience possible however they shop. Whole Foods CEO Jason Buechel has taken this message to heart, and led his session with the claim that he wants to create the best experiences both online and in-store. For Buechel, this is not only a move to meet the demands of the modern shopper, but a proof point that hybrid retailing in fact provides the optimal customer experience. ‘Omnichannel’ is no longer just a buzzword, it’s the baseline standard for service in today’s world.
RETAIL AS A FORCE FOR GOOD
In a fascinating and inspiring session, Hamdi Ulukaya Chobani CEO and founder of Tent Partnership for Refugees, laid out a powerful case for retail to play a transformative role in helping refugees to find a home away from home. Ulukaya spoke with passion saying the retail industry is best positioned to lead efforts for refugees because retail is often the first place those who have been displaced look to to find a sense of community. As consumers increasingly look to brands and retailers to take an ethical stance it should hardly be surprising that such a message would resonate. For Ulukaya the draw works both ways, “Talent wants to work at companies that hire refugees & consumers want brands to support refugees – that’s an extremely powerful business case.”
LUXURY RESALE IS BOOMING
While much focus has been placed on the economic impacts of increasing inflation, a trend that is less discussed is the booming resale market. With younger consumers now often as likely to buy clothes from Depop as a physical store, it should perhaps be no surprise that the luxury market is also seeing an increasing adoption of resale practices. Sarah Davis, founder of Fashionphile, Emily Erkel co-founder of Le Prix, and Molly Taylor, Chief Merchant at Saks OFF 5th, led a lively discussion around the growing trend for ‘recommerce’ in the luxury market. While buying used was once stigmatised, customers are increasingly willing to re-buy, driven by concerns for sustainability AND economic reasons.
Where once the retail and resale markets were pitched in competition against each other – smart retailers are increasingly looking to innovate by providing customers the choice of both. Retail innovation driven by meeting the consumer where they want to be met is not only good for business, it’s good for the planet too.
PETS GOT US THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
In a final lighter touch, Petco CEO Ron Coughlin delighted the crowd by bringing a furry friend with him onto the Big Show stage. Echoing a sentiment that many in the crowd could resonate with, Coughlin stated that for many of us, our pets got us through the pandemic. Petco’s dedication to helping customers to give their pets the very best resonated as an authentic representation of a brand that knows their customers’ concerns as a lived truth. Here’s to all the pets out there!
So there we have it for Day 2 – there’s still a lot of action to look forward to and we’re of course still bringing the beach vibes to NRF at Booth #860.
Come and say hello we’d love to see you or feel free to book a slot below.
We’ll be back with all the action from the third and final day of this year’s NRF tomorrow – see you then!