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NRF 2024: What to Expect Following a Complex Year

Originally published on TotalRetail

Each year, NRF: Retail’s Big Show provides the retail industry with the latest insights on the development of the solutions and groundbreaking technologies available across the sector. With last year’s event focusing heavily on breakthroughs — the artificial intelligence boom helping retailers develop in-store customer experiences and better utilize data analytics and personalization capabilities — this year’s show focuses on taking meaningful action, now.

The case for short-term meaningful action is a strong one. Shrink — and more specifically, theft — has featured heavily in 2023’s retail headlines. Many businesses continue to navigate the tricky waters of the past year’s retail complexities. Exhibitors, speakers and panel guests will demonstrate how to continue growth through a challenging economic environment.

Paving the Way for Business Success

Setting up a fresh start for the retail industry, NRF 2024 is expected to focus heavily on how retailers can generate long-term business growth, with particular emphasis on providing high-quality customer experiences and creating streamlined operations.

Providing the ultimate customer experience should be a priority for retailers. NRF 2024 will bring fresh insights into how retailers can elevate their level of services. From AI-driven personalization and customer engagement to the use of RFID at the point of sale (POS), retailers can expect to see a number of innovative solutions that can help them improve operational efficiency and deliver top-tier customer experiences.

Streamlining retail operations throughout the supply chain will also take center stage in New York. From expert panel discussions to cutting-edge technologies, attendees at NRF 2024 will be provided with a number of key elements related to how retail operations can be made seamless.

At NRF 2024, top retail experts will come together to discuss retail fundamentals and strategies. Attendees will be able to listen to senior retail leaders discuss several growth factors, such as balancing short- and long-term priorities, implementing new technologies, and the approaches they’re taking towards sustainability. Importantly, the event should set retail businesses up for great success for the year to come.

Key Technologies to Take the Stage

Every year, retail technology brands launch and exhibit their cutting-edge solutions at NRF, and 2024 will be no different. Several retail technology brands are expected to unveil a range of AI-powered solutions that will help retailers improve both operational efficiency and the experiences they deliver to customers. Additionally, cloud, cybersecurity and data analytics solutions will remain a highlight of the show as more retailers lean on digital capabilities to improve their offerings.

Attendees can also expect to see significant focus being placed on loss prevention technologies. According to NRF, retail shrink accounted for approximately $112 billion in industry losses in 2022. In order to address the shrink dilemma, retail technology brands will showcase several theft and loss prevention solutions such as item-level RFID, enhanced video surveillance (EVS) cameras, and RFID-enabled self-checkout systems and alarms. With all products equipped with RFID tags at an item level, retailers can track their inventory with high-level accuracy throughout their entire supply chain. Within the supply chain, retailers can identify red spots where items go missing and take meaningful action to reduce losses. Meanwhile, on the shop floor, RFID tags are capable of triggering alarms. For any products that are not scanned at checkout, RFID will alert staff, playing an important role in reducing in-store theft.


The Debut of the Foodservice Innovation Zone

Another exciting element that will set this year’s NRF apart is the focus on technologies transforming the foodservice sector. NRF 2024 will raise this curtain from the Foodservice Innovation Zone, featuring over 50 exhibitors, alongside sessions led by industry leaders and innovators. The Foodservice Innovation Zone will be an interactive exploration of the technologies and innovations transforming the customer foodservice experience.

Attendees will be able to step into the future and see a number of immersive activations within the zone, including drive-through technologies, innovative vending and grab-and-go solutions. Attendees can also expect to witness celebrity chef appearances, along with modern AI-powered kitchen equipment.


The Countdown Begins

NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show is around the corner and the excitement only continues to grow. From fashion to grocery, NRF 2024 will act as a curtain-raiser for many innovations that will cover the entire retail spectrum for the coming 12 months.

This year’s slogan, Make It Matter, requires exhibitors, speakers and attendees to take meaningful action now, following a challenging year for the industry. We can’t wait to step into the Javits Center to see futuristic innovations live in action.

Dean Frew is the chief technology officer and senior vice president of RFID Solutions at SML Group, an RFID solutions provider.