Retail’s Big Show (National Retail Federation)

January 13-16, 2008, New York City. The Big Show is the trade show put on by the National Retail Federation (NRF). It’s a great trade organization that does a lot of useful work for different functional areas in the retail industry (IT, Marketing, Supply Chain, etc…).

Because NRF’s show is so close to CES, I rarely get the chance to attend NRF, but I did make the trek to New York for this years. Frankly, I was disappointed to see that the overwhelming majority of exhibitors were focused on IT. I like a good POS system as much as the next guy, but I expected to see more variety of exhibitors than I found. (more)

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CES 2008

January 7-10, 2008, in Las Vegas, Nevada. I didn’t realize this until after the fact, but this year marked the 25th anniversary of my first visit to CES. CES has changed a lot in 25 years and sadly I don’t think it’s what it once was. Back in the 80’s, tens of thousands of independent retailers represented a large portion of the consumer electronics distribution channel. Manufacturers needed a show like CES to introduce new products to dealers, and decide what to carry for the coming year. You could actually see exhibitors taking orders from retailers in their booths. Today, a handful of national retailers represent the bulk of the market, and they expect private visits from the manufacturers to sell their lines. The cost of exhibiting at CES (or any show) has continued to rise, and with the consolidation of the market and the emergence of the internet, the value of exhibiting has shrunk. Today, the main job of CES is to generate industry buzz and serve as a press opportunity for the Consumer Electronics industry. Small, innovative companies have very little chance of elevating their message above the noise. As often as not, Mac World, successfully steals the entire news cycle from CES anyway.

Here are some of my favorite consumer gadgets and retail technology from the show: (more)

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First post!

I’ve been meaning to start this blog for years… it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you take a half day off from work.

Anyway, I spend my days thinking about how to create great customer experiences that help shoppers make purchase decisions, and while I get called upon to work in a lot of interesting product categories, I’m especially fortunately that a good portion of my work is in the consumer electronics industry, allowing me to feed my inner geek. So it’s only natural that I named this blog, retailgeek (I’m just not that clever).

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