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.


They did have a store of the future exhibit, called X08, with some reasonably well done vignettes but nothing I hadn’t seen at other shows.

There was a digital signage area with the usual cast of software and hardware companies (there must be some new law in the trade show industry that all trade shows, must now have a digital signage pavilion).

There was also the NRF’s DESiGN STUDiO, dedicated to store design that had exhibits from some of the big names in retail design. The studio was pretty cool, as most of the firms had collaborated on a set of white-board murals to depict the creative process throughout the perimeter of the room. Sadly, I don’t think there was much traffic, so most of the little design vignettes went unstaffed. I spoke with one Biz Dev guy from a major design firm who said they had generated 2-3 leads during the show.

I probably won’t kill myself to get back to the show next year.

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