credit photo to: scansource

credit photo to: scansource

Another NRF has come and gone. Each year, I arrive at NRF with the same anticipation and excitement. I am eager to see new trends, updated solutions, seek out new opportunities, and re-connect with long-time colleagues. This year was no different and it did not disappoint. Retailers came back! Traffic was high and it was obvious that there was a lot more activity as compared to last year. Booths were noticeably bigger and busier than last year. This was not a year with many flashy new products and ground-breaking technologies, it was more about the continued establishment of a strong core of intelligent applications that have been slowly building interest and IT dollars over the past number of years - Business Intelligence, Price Optimization, Planning, etc. Retailers are turning to these applications to ensure they are maximizing their IT dollars and executing better on their business strategies. And then of course there was Mobile - mobile, mobile, mobile. Everyone is trying to get into the game. I think it will still take a few years to flesh out where the real strengths will lie in this arena.

I should also mention the many great sessions that included a slew of great speakers from leading retailers like Tesco (Sir Terry Leahy’s 10 lessons for success and 6 drivers for growth) , Tory Burch, Saks (5 luxury lessons from Tory Burch and Saks, Steve Sadove), Life Is Good (5 lessons from owner Bert Jacobs), just to mention a few. These speakers shared some great insight and inspiring messages on how to succeed in this new era.

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But truly it’s all about relationships….

For me, NRF is much more. Its the start of a new year, it’s a time to re-connect with long time friends and colleagues, and it’s a time to build new relationships and opportunities. You see, I worked at STS Systems (which became NSB and is now Epicor Retail) for almost 20 years. I grew up there and made many strong friendships. Many of us ‘old-timers’ have since left and gone our own ways. Many of us have remained in the Retail IT business and continue to work independently or at a variety of different software companies. It is at NRF where we all have a chance to re-connect. It is an incredible network of talented and trusted resources. We help each other, without a single threat of competition. Opportunities, referrals, and information is shared between us and each of us would do whatever is needed to help the other. As NRF drew to an end, I was again touched by the amount of energy and trust that is shared among us. It makes me feel proud and grateful to be part of such a strong network.

So, I would like to wish a year of success for everyone in my network and to all the other new relationships I formed at this year’s show. And for all of you that mentioned that they were actually reading this blog - THANKS!