Despite the closing of stores and a lazy Christmas in sales, the US retail trade. is far from the "apocalypse" and faces challenges in the use of private data to improve their results, as well as "clashes" with the Amazon giant, as it emerged today in the largest global convention in the sector, the NRF Big Show.
Organized by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the event brings together 37,000 participants from 99 countries from the Javits Center in New York on Sunday, who will learn about the present and future of retail sales from three different countries. 500 speakers and an exhibition space as wide as four football fields.
The day started with a "state of innovation" by the analyst Sucharita Kodari, vice president of the Forrester research firm, who immediately ruled out an "apocalypse" in the country's department stores, although there are "winners and losers" in this sector that goes to "times of uncertainty".
Kodari said that retailers were "resilient" in 2018 and put "billing growth" as the first of their goals, but have changed their scale of priorities in terms of investment: data security and personalization are "hot" ", while robotics and virtual reality have" cooled down ".
The analyst referred to surveys to explain that the personalization of products and services through private data "concerns the majority" of consumers, and there is also a "tension" between companies knowing "too much" and directing them "relevant" things , something that they achieve knowing their tastes.
The management of the data was a topic shared with other sessions of the day, such as the one that brought together representatives of the Ralph Lauren or Bulletin firms and the fashion entrepreneur Nicky Hilton in an area dedicated for the first time to business women, and He had to hang the full capacity poster.
Hilton, in favor of "human contact" in the shopping experience, nevertheless attributed to social networks the "change in the way we buy, travel, think and communicate" and highlighted Generation X (1961-1981) as "crucial" for brands because of their level of spending and their entrepreneurship.
Likewise, he valued that brands are "socially committed" because "it is well seen to care about the environment or because fabrics and factories are sustainable". "People like to buy and feel that they are contributing to society, not feeling guilty about spending," he added.
Back to the predictions for the industry, analyst Kodari pointed out that this clash between personalization and privacy is going to be important in 2019, especially if countries legislate about it, but it will be in general a "year of clashes", part of they due to the evolution and diversification of large companies.
Thus, he considered that the e-commerce giant Amazon is going to have conflicts specifically with the Walmart supermarkets in the areas of "b2b" (business between companies), food and international expansion, which in all these cases invoice approximately one trillion dollars (million million), but also "collide" with other brands.
Amazon's problems with third parties have already led to some exits from its sales platform, said the expert, specifically after the Californian firm decided to offer discounts on prices of products offered by others. "It surprised, it was radical and brands did not expect it," he added.
Precisely, the president of the board of directors of the NRF, Chris Baldwin, who is the top executive of the department store BJs Wholesale, explained at the opening today that the "biggest change" achieved by the sector in the last 30 years has been the transparency on prices, driven in part by technology.
The NRF Big Show convention, in which some 3,500 retailers are represented from Macy's, IKEA, BestBuy or Levi's to smaller firms, will host in its 108th edition, dozens of conferences, podcast recordings, workshops, visits guided by the most innovative shops in the city and "networking" spaces.