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2020: Big Year. Big Show. Where Will YOU Be?

What is NRF? NRF is the largest retail conference and expo in the industry. This year’s conference, entitled NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show (#NRF2020), served as the centerpiece of NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show, and unfolded at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from January 11-14. Billed as “Retail’s Big Show” and “The must-attend week where retail movers and shakers from around the world come to learn, share, collaborate, network and inspire” – and featuring 38,000 attendees, 16,000 retailers and 800 exhibitors from all around the world – NRF 2020 was an event we didn’t want to miss. For many reasons.

Keeping a finger firmly on the pulse of the retail industry is a true North Star for everyone who works within this ever-evolving, fast-moving world. Companies of all sizes are in a race to understand, innovate and adapt faster than their competition. From attempting to digitize everything to focusing creative efforts on customer journeys, retailers are locked into a constant battle for attention, conversion and growth. Over the course of the past 10 years, we’ve learned that no matter your role – from CX professional to digital transformation manager to e-Commerce director to product owner and more – NRF will provide you with a handful of valuable insights on what will matter most in the upcoming year. This “future forecasting” element of NRF 2020 on its own was more than enough reason to attend

Here’s what’s caught our attention so far in the early days of 2020:

Hybrid CX

Empowered customers are setting a high bar for what they expect from brands. Having a digital presence is nice, but offering an integrated experience across digital and physical channels alike is what ensures consistency and quality. Ignoring any side of “hybrid CX” will ultimately lead to a drop in quality – or, worse, frustrated and even disengaged customers. Consumer research shows that 84% agreed that consistency over customer journey builds loyalty more than channel silos. The key is to align everyone behind a single vision that should ultimately be dictated by your customers. The real source of insight and direction in terms of preferences, along with the mix of service channels for various interactions, should always remain your end buyer.

Unified Commerce

Creating experiences isn’t about pushing products to sell. Instead, it’s about a superior way to connect with customers – and an elevated avenue to help customers find value in your products and services. It’s about realizing that fulfillment happens at every touchpoint. From buy-online to pick-up-in-store to arrive-home to be-presented-with-a-Facebook-offer for a beautiful scarf to match the coat you just bought. It might not even end there, either, as today’s customer very well could receive his or her scarf with an in-store coupon attached to it – and realize they also need that complimentary hat (especially if it’s available with a discount).

In the end, it’s all about realizing that it’s not customers who are going to change. What must change, instead, is the attitude of marketers. Moving away from campaign-focused to customer-focused endeavors and implementations means putting the customer front and center – at each and every step of the customer journey.


Creating relevant, individualized interactions also presents marketers with an opportunity to create and nurture superior brand-to-customer relationships. It’s a chance to make sure that every channel is being utilized – and deliver an experience that’s unique to each consumer while also displaying your shared and aligned values. Such behavior is how customers will ultimately realize you care about them on a personal level, rather than feeling like just another number. There are many opportunities to personalize throughout the customer journey, such as landing/product page, search, product recommendation, banners and offers. It’s imperative that you don’t waste these opportunities. You can rest assured your competition won’t.

Mobile Payments

2020 is the time to finally bring checkout up to speed. Checkout has traditionally been a point of frustration for customers – and cart abandonment at checkout has been a major point of frustration for retailers. Why? Desktop checkout UX often requires too many steps, among other problems. And mobile checkout is still often inferior to desktop checkout, not to mention clunky and awkward for shoppers.

The good news is that we know exactly what to do about bad checkouts – we’ve been part of the Mobile Optimization Initiative since 2018 – and we’re proud of the results we’ve achieved for the retailers who decided to join us. Why not seize an opportunity to do that for you and your brand in 2020?!

Contact us today to see how we can come together and co-collaborate to make 2020 a truly BIG Year. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

IM lettermark
Founded in 2011, IM Digital is a full-service e-commerce agency for D2C, B2B, and retail brands ready to become a household name.

IM Digital helps bold brands become big with a combo of technology, strategy, and creativity.
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