Thousands of people come to Retail’s BIG Show year after year, but this year there are changes even the die-hards haven’t heard about. After the pre-Convention meeting for NRF’s staff, held earlier this week, I made a few notes on things that even the tried-and-true attendees might not know yet. Read on:
#1: What recession? This year, Retail’s BIG Show is going to be huge. As of yesterday, the number of retailers registering for the Convention was tracking 27% higher than last year! (That’s twenty-seven, not two-point-seven.) In fact, the only area experiencing a decline has been exhibitor registration (companies are sending fewer people to man their booths), which could lead to some very overwhelmed service providers when the EXPO floor opens on Monday morning.
#2: A new half-day of programming, tailored to small- and medium-sized retailers and aptly named “Independents’ Day,” will feature sessions on how social media can help small businesses, how to notice shifts in customer behavior and quickly adapt, and the 25 best independent stores in America. And, get this: It’s free for retailers! If you can’t make it, check out the blog on Monday afternoon for a recap.
#3: We’re converting our 900-square-foot bookstore (I know, bigger than most New York apartments) into “Everything NRF,” a showcase of all there is to gain from NRF and each of our divisions. In addition, the space will feature forums where NRF committee liaisons will discuss their group’s issues and provide more information on how members can get involved in everything from internal audit to loss prevention. And if you’re in the market to get something for free (who isn’t?), members can stop by to enter our drawing for a Flip video.
Not a member yet? Companies who sign up as new members during the show receive a 15% discount on dues for their first year.
#4: We’re tweeting! Follow us for the latest blog posts, press releases, and inside intel coming from the conference. If you’re tweeting from the BIG Show, use #nrf10 to share your thoughts on great speaker quotes, conference insights, and what’s happening on the EXPO floor.
#5: From Kip Tindell to Tracy Mullin, people keep telling me that Uniqlo is the store to visit in New York. If you want to see it from the perspective of someone on the inside, attend our official store tours on Wednesday and walk through the Uniqlo store in SoHo with a Fast Retailing executive.
#6: Tired of rushing to catch the shuttle with the Show Daily under one arm as you finagle your laptop bag, program materials, and all-important caffeinated beverage with the other? Like last year, STORES will be distributing its Show Daily on shuttle busses, so don’t worry about tripping over the paper on your way out of the hotel room. Take those ten minutes on the way to the Javits Center each morning to check out the Show Daily for a recap of what’s already happened and get a look ahead to the day’s events. In addition, this year the Show Daily is also going digital. STORES has already released its preview issue of the BIG Show, and we’ll also be posting the daily editions of the Show Daily on the blog each morning.
#7: Sustainability isn’t only an educational track: Retail’s BIG Show is also going green. For starters, all session handouts will be made available online this year – less stuff to schlep home in your carry-on, I say! – and the new format of our program guide saved hundreds of trees. (The paper we did use is FSC-certified of 50% recycled paper and 25% post-consumer waste, too.)
#8: In case you have a little room left in your suitcase after that trip to Uniqlo (see #5), we have loads of book signings at the Javits this year. After his session, Stephen Dubner will be signing copies of his newly-released SuperFreakonomics, USA Today’s Jayne O’Donnell will be on-hand to sign Gen BuY, George Whalin will be signing his book about the best independent stores in America, and Bert Jacobs, CEO of Life is good, will be available after his session to sign Life is good: Simple Words from Jake and Rocket. In addition, Inez Blackburn and Matthew Deeter will be releasing their book, Pride Passion Profit: 7 Steps to Category Development, for the first time on Sunday, so get there early to be one of the first to score a copy.
#9: From Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon, there will be a lot happening on the EXPO floor. New this year: visit the NRF TV area (Booth #2364) to tell us what you get out of the Convention, the best thing on the EXPO floor, and your key takeaways from the conference. Or, participate in “Show Your Cards – NRF’s royal flush,” a chance for retailers to win up to $25,000 (not a typo) in the NRF Foundation area. (Don’t worry, we did not get rid of NRF’s popular golf game. It will be held in Booth #373 and offers retailers a chance to win $40,000.) Finally, stick around on Tuesday for some “sweet” giveaways when the EXPO hall closes.
#10: Speaking of sticking around…don’t miss the final Super Session on Wednesday, titled, “How Leadership Trumps Hardship,” featuring Dunkin’ Brands Executive Chairman Jon Luther and HSN CEO Mindy Grossman. Even though I’ll be blogging about dozens of sessions in the next week, this is the one I’m most excited about. And, as an extra incentive for hanging in there until the very end, we’ll be giving away ten full-conference passes to next year’s Convention – our 100th! – sometime during the session.
We look forward to seeing you in New York!