The National Retail Federation today announced new programming and event updates for its flagship annual conference, NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show, which begins this weekend in New York City.
The agenda includes 36 keynote speakers, eight feature-stage sessions and more than 700 exhibitors at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Thirty-six thousand attendees from 90 countries are expected for the Sunday-through-Tuesday event.
“The official name of NRF 2018 wasn’t the only element of the show revamped this year,” NRF Senior Vice President for Retail Strategy Cristina Ceresoli said. “While maintaining the quality of events that attendees come back for year after year, we’re excited to introduce fresh programming that dynamically captures the state of today’s ever-evolving industry.”
New programming and offerings for the conference, previously known as Retail’s BIG Show, include:
- Innovation Lab: This year, the Innovation Lab will feature three unique areas, highlighting different products, technologies and topics that will impact the retail experience of tomorrow and beyond.
- Retail 2020 is an immersive, interactive showcase for visitors to experience how each leg of the shopping journey is being transformed using the most recent advances in augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, facial recognition, big data, robotics and more. Attendees will experience these technologies through custom-designed simulations and speak directly with companies about how their technologies transfer from the lab to actual retail operations.
- The Emerging Technologies Showcase will provide hands-on product demos to show how cutting-edge technologies like AI, AR/VR, computer-generated images, robotics and wearables will soon be used to make businesses more productive.
- The Innovation Lab Stage will host a series of presentations with industry experts to discuss consumer expectations and trends, new store formats and shark tank-style demos.
- EXPO Tours: In a program expanded upon from last year’s show, NRF 2018 will offer four unique EXPO tour experiences. Each two-hour-long walking tour will provide an in-depth study of retail technology across multiple business disciplines.
- Event Chatbot: A new and improved chatbot, Ava, will be available through the NRF event app. Powered by IBM Watson, Ava can answer all of attendees’ questions from when the next session is to where they can find lunch.