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I just returned from my 33rd NRF Annual. Yes, 33rd.  I was around when the show had major hanger vendors, massive displays of item price tags in the new style, and new equipment to print these price tags, along with much more.  They even allowed smoking in the show area and drinks…ok, done with the memories. 

For me, the NRF’s 2014 Big Show drilled home one single point – LEAP.  Retailers from around the world are at a critical growth point in their business life cycles.  They are at the point or on an “edge” where they need to get ahead of their shoppers or they lose business to another retailer.  These retailers need to leverage the right technology, the right associates, and the right mix of
merchandise across all channels to LEAP ahead of their shoppers.  Doing this will place the retailer in the LEAD as they guide the shoppers with the merchandise that shoppers want (or will want,) and be there – no matter the channel – when the shopper demands it!

How am I so sure that this will work?

Let’s look at the some proof points:

  1. We are in a world that seem more unpredictable and unstable than ever. In retail thinking, this translates into a need for
    retailers to create shopping environments of happiness, stability, joy, and fun.  You saw the lift in personalization topics at the NRF Annual.  This aligns with the world’s current mode.  
  2. Shoppers are spending time online and one way or other sharing information that can be used to improve retailers’ relations with them. The amount of time teens aged 13-17 are spending online grew by a considerable degree in the space of a year, details GfK in recent survey findings. Results from GfK’s Spring 2013 study indicate that 13-17-year-olds spent an average of 4 hours and 4 minutes per day online, a 37% hike from just under 3 hours per day a year earlier. With that  increase, teens shot past the 18-49 age group, whose time online was essentially flat at an average of 3 hours and 11 minutes daily.
  3. Software providers are delivering the tools that can make the LEAP possible.  Some samples: 

          – Powerful mobile solutions and the tools to manage multiple operating systems and devices

        – Strong in-memory based retail solutions that deliver a new level of speed and business possibilities for inventory visibility,           customer activity info, and much more

        – New customer loyalty technology that extends with geo-based capabilities

        – Tools to make social awareness and responsiveness a practical reality are here now Solution coverage across all buying           channels

        – Lower risk, higher speed deployment of solution with cloud as a strong, reliable and safe option

        – Tools to boost the power of the in-store associate, and much more.

Well, this is a first look into the Retail LEAP Principle.  For some retailers it is time to hit the board and make the LEAP ahead of the shoppers.  Other retailers are close – and need to step on it!

Thinking back to the old days – consider Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” model.  The Retail LEAP takes a retailer across the Chasm and gets them ready for the shoppers – armed with the right products, in the right place across the right
channels – and all right on time!

Want to learn about winning retail strategies and how technology has an impact? Explore the Future of Retail.

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