Dear Retailers,

It’s that time of the year, NRF 2019 is just around the corner! After the holiday breaks and New Year celebrations, before we know it, we’ll see one another in NYC’s Javits Center.

Call me silly, but I love attending NRF. Meeting other retail-minded colleagues and friends to learn from one another and to see what’s coming up next in our retail world gets me amped! (Inner nerd fully on display here)

But NRF 2019 is especially exciting for me because it will be my first time attending the event as a member of the #Cisco family. Those who attended the event last year will remember the tremendous positive attention Cisco’s booth received from media, analysts and attendees. And oh boy, wait to you see what we have in store for you (no pun intended 😊). Small hint – Stop, Shop, and Go.

Before I give too much away… as a long-time NRF attendee, I’d like to share my 5 special tips to attending NRF:

1. Use your time wisely

NRF is not a small event. There are so many sessions, workshops and booths to visit and learn from. When it comes to the exhibition hall, my recommendation is to find interactive and solutions-based booth journeys. These booth journeys lend to meaningful conversations based on use cases, buyer personas and your specific business challenges. At Cisco, we will have a life-size board game, walking a visitor through ‘the day in the life’ of specific shopper personas to connect the IT and business dots for all retailers.

2. Participate in a Big Ideas session

The crowds rush to the keynote sessions which leave us all inspired, but I am also particularly excited about the Big Ideas sessions happening on the show floor. Big Ideas is where we learn from one another and find practical solutions to our challenges. Additionally, many find new information and thought leadership through these talks, especially because it helps connect the technology and business stakeholders within retail. In fact, Cisco will be hosting 2 Big Ideas sessions talking about ‘The Growth of Brick-and-Mortar Retail’ and ‘Gaining visibility into the retail moments that matter most.’ The second topic will dive into the value of data and how to leverage it across digital and physical environments.

3. Follow the conversations on social media

This tip actually pertains to those who are unable to attend NRF this year, in addition to people who will be on-site. Almost everyone at #NRF2019 will be engaging in hot topics and conversations about what is being discussed during the event online. Through social media, people can exchange ideas and start thought-provoking conversations that can be taken offline for a deeper dive. By engaging with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook it’ll be like you are physically at NRF with us. Cisco is also hosting a trivia game show live on Facebook during the event, don’t forget to RSVP.

4. Prioritize investment over incubation technologies

There are so many different retail trends and technologies that we will see and hear about at NRF 2019. From associate mobile technology to artificial intelligence (AI) to real-time data analysis to edge computing to block chain-based solutions, there will be so much information to sift through. But it’s always a good reminder that with each new digital touch point or technology, there’s a foundational investment that needs to be made.

With so many digital technologies we are putting into our retail ecosystem, we can’t forget to keep the network and IT architecture they operate on up to date. After all, this compatibility is HOW you deliver improved customer experiences, increased employee productivity, faster supply chain and more. Additionally, with the increase of digital integration into our respective retail environments, the flow of data will also grow in complexity. Making sure you have the right data collection platform to collect, manage, and translate data into insights will be key to any retailer’s success. To learn more, take a look at Cisco’s white paper.

5. Network with fellow retailers

One of the great advantages about NRF is that retail-minded people from all around the world come to one location to share learnings and truly sympathize with our shared challenges. It would be a shame to not take full advantage of this opportunity. Just like how our consumers are sharing information to improve their shopping experience, we should do the same to improve the overall retail experience. If you’re looking for a networking event, check out the joint international happy hour from Presidio and Cisco here.

If you are attending NRF 2019, don’t forget to swing by the Cisco booth and say ‘hello’!




Jessica Mok

Global Retail Marketing Manager

Vertical Industries