NRF (Retail’s Big Show) is an event focused on “what’s next” for retailers. It’s an opportunity to showcase our innovation, sustainability, and business value. This year, we featured over 40 theater sessions helping retailers tackle their biggest challenges. The different sessions leveraged topics like cybersecurity, digital merchandising, personalized engagement, behavioral insights, and queue management. Despite the wide array of topics, three themes resonated throughout each day of the event. Here’s what I saw. 

1. Rich personalized communication drives the right engagement 

Boston Consulting Group has said personalization of the consumer journey can drive up to a 40% larger basket, meaning more revenue for the retailer. Webex Connect can deliver a rich, personalized engagement on a consumer’s device, both outside and inside the store, without having to install a client app. Webex Connect can also provide additional channels for Cisco Contact Center, allowing consumers to engage digitally, allowing more efficient utilization of CC agents, freeing them to focus where 1:1 personal engagement is required.  

Engagement isn’t only for consumers. In a time where many retailers struggle to attract and retain sufficient quality staff, the ability to engage with staff, streamline hiring processes, onboard staff, and digitally enable HR systems to attract the next-generation associates, can make the difference in whether they chose to work for one retailer or a competitor. 

2. Loss and Fraud are a huge concern 

Theft and fraud are two of the largest challenges facing retailers today. As theft and fraud grow exponentially, the issue has been exacerbated by retail labor shortages. Investigating loss is costly, requiring “Loss Prevention” staff to go through hours of video in the hope of seeing something useful. Traditional loss prevention is simply passive loss recording. We offer solutions that move retailers to active loss and fraud detection where suspicious activity is detected, flagged, and sent to the security team right away. While there’s no one-size fits all approach, we work with a number of partners to bring the right options to the table. 

3. Tech only matters once you’ve solved a problem 

Retailers go to NRF because they are open to understanding how they can improve their store experience, both front of house and back of house. By focusing on the outcome, we deliver game-changing experiences for both customers and associates. A few examples: 

  • We demonstrated how our Meraki platform can unleash the power of real-time footfall analytics to track traffic-to-conversion ratios, provide store operations insights and enhance store layouts and product placements. 
  • ThousandEyes gives retailers unprecedented visibility into their operations environment and allows real-time monitoring for anomalies or outages. This means they can act before that outage impacts business. 
  • Cisco Spaces helps retailers visualize their stores, distribution center, or carpeted spaces, in a single pane of glass. It displays data from a variety of sensors and systems, like temperature, occupancy, air quality, and other data in a location-based information, in an easily digestible interface. 
  • Duo’s Access Management solutions help retailers meet key FTC and PCI DSS compliance requirements by preventing credential attacks and limiting lateral movement.  
  • Cisco AppDynamics empowers retailers to deliver an impeccable buying experience by allowing our retailers to track every aspect of the customer journey across various digital platforms. 

Your trusted technology partner in retail 

If you had the chance to stop by our booth, thank you! The conversations and face-to-face interactions my team and I had with our customers, peers, and partners were nothing short of inspiring. We learned a lot too! Cisco is doing some incredible work driving true outcomes for our customers, and NRF ‘24 was a great showcase of where we can go from here.  

I hope you enjoyed our theater sessions, demo area, and (my personal favorite) Café Cisco. I was able to mobile order my coffee as soon as I stepped into the booth and once I got to the drive-thru window, it was ready for pick up. For all our Cisco NRF content, I encourage you to visit our microsite. 

Big thank you to all of the partners, customers, and the Cisco team who made NRF successful. See you all next year! 


Wes Sylvester

Vice President, Industry Solutions Group

Cisco Marketing