This blog post provides the reader with an overview of the major implications from NRF 2015 for Western European retailers.
It can no longer be said that the annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show event at the start of January is still only US focused. For the first time at an NRF, several vendors met with IDC Retail Insights to discuss Europe, which demonstrates both the importance of the region for vendors and the continued impact of globalization on retailing. European retailers told IDC Retail Insights that NRF provided an opportunity at the start of the year to identify technology to support the challenges they face in providing omni-channel services in both domestic and foreign markets that meet consumer expectations.
NRF 2015 demonstrated to IDC Retail Insights that omni-channel has crossed the chasm from being an abstract concept to an operating requirement supporting the immediate demand for new or improved services around order management, fulfillment, assortment, and mobile that are being driven from new consumer shopping behavior and expectations, both in-store and online.
Typically, in an attempt to show new or ongoing value to existing or potential customers, vendors at events like NRF present new or existing products with capabilities that often outpace a retailer's ability to adopt them in the near-term. Forward looking innovations are of course essential to the retail industry, but the European retailers IDC Retail Insights speak to are focused on addressing the immediate evolution of consumer behavior driven by the adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices by consumers across Europe.
Bottom Line for ICT Buyers:
- Identify, evaluate, and map the retail capabilities to be deployed across Europe needed to transition to omnichannel - based on best practices and case studies from overseas. Forward looking innovations are of course essential focus area, but the primary focus should be on addressing the immediate evolution of consumer behavior driven by the adoption of new mobile devices by consumers across Europe.
- Engage with those IT vendors whose current product/service offering and future roadmap are well aligned to support the omnichannel transformation journey across a multi-faceted Europe. The ideal engagement would be with an ICT vendor that allows retailers to maintain their current technological assets, while gradually introducing all the omnichannel capabilities. Be wary of those IT vendors that have a "one size fits all" product strategy as they may be lacking a good understanding of the business dynamics and specificities of the European retail market
- Although during NRF 2015 we registered an increase focus on the European market, this event remains a valuable source of insight especially to those European retailers looking to move into the US market. European retailers – whose primary focus is the regional expansion – should not miss EuroCIS in February and RBTE in March that are more targeted to retailers who operate in the heterogeneous European market.