NRF: Strategies to Thrive Amid Dynamic, Changing Retail Environment

Retail businesses have been pushing major changes in their operations over the last decade, and the evidence of it is everywhere. For instance, at Sam's Club, customers can download an app that lets them scan their items while they are shopping in the store, pay for them, and avoid the checkout line at the end of their visit. Walmart is piloting what amounts to a personal shopper grocery shopping service in some stores, letting consumers order perishable and pantry items to be picked up later in the day.

(Image: ValeStock/Shutterstock)

(Image: ValeStock/Shutterstock)

The CEO of Walmart will likely talk about these and other changes during his address at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center on Sunday, January 14.

CEO Doug McMillon will address the changing face of retail during an interview on the Main Stage at NRF at 3 pm. For Walmart those changes mean evolving to meet consumers' shifting preferences that include saving time in addition to saving money, providing more training to store associates in everything from basic retail math to using new technology, and creating a customer-led digital experience.

NRF also plans to recognize McMillon's contributions with its "The Visionary" award for 2018. This honor will be presented during the NRF Foundation Gala, also on Sunday.

McMillon's appearance at NRF comes on the heels of the retail giant's announcement that it will raise its starting wage for associates at Walmart US, Sam's Club, Supply Chain, eCommerce, and Home Office to $11 per hour starting in February, and also providing a one-time bonus to hourly associates ranging from $200 to $1,000, based on the amount of time they have worked for the company. McMillon made the announcement in a blog post, saying that the recently approved lower business tax rate had enabled the company to accelerate a few pieces of its investment plan.

"We plan to continue investing in you, in our customers through lower prices, and in our future -- especially in technology to help improve your jobs, and the experience for our customers," McMillon wrote in the blog post to employees, announcing the wage increase, bonus, and other new employee benefits.

In an onstage interview at The Economic Club of New York on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2017, McMillon said that he viewed technology as a way to improve company operations, but not the only way.

"The future is not going to be driven exclusively by technology but by people," McMillon said during that event. "The term that we've started using inside the company is that we want to be people-led and tech-empowered…We are not a tech-first company. We are a people company."  

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

NRF: Strategies to Thrive Amid Dynamic, Changing Retail Environment

Technology, connected consumers, and ecommerce have changed the face of retail, but some omnichannel retailers are capitalizing on their assets -- physical stores and distribution centers. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon will describe how his company has created a strategy to thrive in this environment.

Retailers Focus on Omnichannel and IoT Data for Analytics

After the rush of holiday shopping season, retailers are regrouping, planning, and getting new inspiration at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in New York. Here's what's in store for those who are going and those who are learning from afar.

Pending Review
  • 1/19/2018 1:15:31 AM

This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.

Re: The Retail Use of Technology
  • 1/16/2018 10:18:15 AM

While it's said the company is a people company, sometimes it's not that easy to agree, when jobs are displaced and salaries barely make it ot a living wage. The retail environment is certainly changing quickly, and it will be a wonder to see how the mix of profits, community support, employee vs. stockholder interests and technology can help support all the goals of corporate and community issues.

The Retail Use of Technology
  • 1/13/2018 11:21:13 PM

I am certainly looking forward to this show, I can think of no other sector that will be able to leverage technology more than Retail will in the coming years.  Hearing what an industry giant (Walmart) has to say is sure to be insightful.    Hope to see the community there !