NRF Expands Attendee ‘Surprise and Delight’ Campaign at Retail’s BIG Show

January 19, 2017

By Elizabeth Johnson

It was retail as far as the eye could see inside Jan. 15-17 the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) opened its doors to 35,000 industry members for the 2017 Retail BIG Show. This year, well-known figures in fashion and retail, including ABC “Shark Tank’s” Daymond John, NBA Basketball Player Kobe Bryant and Astronaut Captain Scott Kelly.

The show caters its content to large brands, as well as small businesses and covers all areas of retail needs from operations to technology to marketing. 

Last year, NRF launched an effort to “surprise and delight” its attendees, setting up unexpected perks to enhance their experiences. This year, it brought back popular items, such as the New York Apple cart and surprise Starbucks gift cards and added to them.

“We always use the survey responses to drive the changes we make to the BIG Show,” said Susan Newman, senior vice president, conferences/strategic marketing at NRF.

As a result, it added foil wraps like those seen at the end of a marathon for those waiting in food truck lines and increased the amount of coat checks to ease winter burdens.

It also tried to help people who have indicated that the conference can be overwhelming get their bearings by offering four guided walking tours of the show. More than 300 people took advantage of this new benefit.

NRF expanded its NYC Store Tours by dedicating a specific part of the show app to the program which gives attendees information on 40 New York City stores with innovative models.

The app includes maps to visit the actual locations so that attendees can experience the retailers’ innovations for themselves at their leisure. For this effort, NRF partnered with Kurt Salmon Digital and McMillan Doolittle.

The BIG show, as it always does, responded to the industry’s continued evolution, particularly in the area of technology. It established a new Innovation Lab filled with robotics, artificial intelligence, wearables, 3D printing and smart technology.

“We are showcasing the new realm of retail innovation,” Newman said. “All of the exhibitors in this area were vetted and had to have working, interactive models of their technology.”

Alongside the Innovation Lab was a Podcast Studio that housed five social influencers - fashion, retail and financial podcasters - who broadcast live from the show on all three days.

Other highlights of the Big Show included:

·        A matchmaking program that paired tech startups who could meet the needs of retailers experiencing a specific challenge

·        Retailer meet-ups where attendees could discuss specific issues

·        A new Virtual Reality Pavilion on the showfloor to showcase exhibitors working in this growing area of retail

Currently the show is landlocked and sold out of exhibit space. Given significant challenges that lie ahead due to the upcoming Javits Center renovations and updates, NRF will need to continue to innovate to provide an excellent experience for a growing show within space constraints.

The next NRF Retail BIG Show will be Jan. 14-16 in New York. 

Add new comment

Partner Voices
One of the most iconic names on the Las Vegas Strip just got an upgrade. Mandalay Bay has everything that your business needs from a refreshed convention space designed to inspire productivity and creativity, to an impressive selection of world-class restaurants and amenities. If you're looking for a venue that's both inviting and innovative, you have to be here. New Wave Experiences Mandalay Bay continues to invest in a new wave of enhancements both in the convention space and within the resort as a whole. New restaurant openings including Orla by Michael Mina, drawing inspiration from the award-winning chef’s childhood in Egypt and with flavors and décor inspired by the spices found in markets common to coastal Mediterranean towns, as well as Caramá by Wolfgang Puck, bringing the essence of Italy and spirit of Wolfgang into one concept, are recent additions. The Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas also experienced a recent remodel of all 424 rooms. Swingers, a high-end, adults-only golf and entertainment concept will debut in Fall 2024. Enhanced Technology Creating a truly effective conference venue requires careful thought into what a business needs: the right technology, capacity, and inspiration to bring ideas to the next level. As part of the resort’s refresh, Mandalay Bay implemented state-of-the-art technology upgrades, installing cutting-edge Cat6A Ethernet cabling throughout the convention center. This advancement doubles the frequency of data transmission, enabling lightning-fast speeds up to 9400% faster. The convention center now boasts 11 dynamic digital walls, spanning up to 24' x 13', strategically positioned for brand placements, sponsorships and targeted event messaging. Additionally, attendees can benefit from 20 double-sided 55" mobile flexible display units, facilitating effortless navigation to meeting rooms and events. RFID locks were installed on all meeting room doors, and over 200 motion detection cameras have been placed throughout the space. Refreshing New Design & Fine Art The newly remodeled convention space provides a bright and vibrant atmosphere that complements Mandalay Bay's tropical-inspired brand. Featuring white-washed walls and ceilings adorned with bold floral patterns in cerulean and coral tones, the space is complemented by warm walnut accent walls. In addition to the redesign of all pre-function spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms, Mandalay Bay's 1 million square feet of exhibit space has undergone a rejuvenation, including new paint, covered pillars and relocated strobe lights. Sustainable Spectacles Mandalay Bay is committed to Focused on What Matters and creating more responsible meetings. Refillable water stations all available around the resort, cutting unnecessary plastic usage from single-use bottles. The Mandalay Bay campus’ recent upgrades represent a bold step forward in redefining the Las Vegas experience. With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and unparalleled service, Mandalay Bay sets a new standard for excellence in business hospitality. Whether you're seeking cutting-edge conference facilities, world-class dining options, or simply a luxurious retreat, an unparalleled meeting experience awaits.