December 22, 2015 | Randy Kish

Ten Tips to Optimize Your NRF 2016 Experience


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The NRF Big Show 2016 includes three days packed with sessions, exhibit hall presentations, vendor booth meetings and nighttime events – all in the epicenter of New York City.

Below are ten suggestions which can help you get the most out of your Big Show:

  1. Book Ahead. Preschedule booth times with key vendors. Peak times of the exhibit hall can diminish the attention you require. Tip: Vendors can escort you to a booth meeting before the show opens.
  2. Allow for Exploration. Block time to “Walk the Floor.” This is the one time a year when you can efficiently investigate new areas of interest.
  3. Optimize Floor Time. Take advantage and use all three days for booth meeting and limit appointments to 30-45 minutes. Tip: Have lunch brought to the booth for a midday meeting.
  4. Be Aware of Travel Time. Allow 30 minutes to get from your hotel to the show, anticipating slow elevators and NRF bus lines, and allocate 15 minutes between booth meetings. Tip: When leaving, if you choose to forgo the bus line, head East 3-4 blocks to catch a ride faster.
  5. Work the Vendors. Exhibitors invest $100K-$500K for NRF each year. They want you to ask tough questions and take their time. Tip: Divide teams to cover more sessions, meetings and evening events.
  6. Be Mindful of Your Body. Stay hydrated (free refillable water bottle at booth #3925) and eat snacks to maintain energy. Tip: Prevent aching feet, legs and back with well padded shoes.
  7. Be Flexible. It’s your event and the vendors are there to support your interests. Tip: Most booths have a master schedule and an event manager who can assist with any adjustments.
  8. Don’t be a Wallflower. NRF offers an unparalleled networking platform to learn from the brightest minds in retail. Introduce yourself, ask questions, and listen for trends. Tip: Attend NRF’s Opening Night Reception on Sunday. It’s a great place to start.
  9. Make Veteran Moves. Avoid the rush and lines by get your badge on Saturday at the Exhibit Hall or one of the offsite locations. Tip: Your phone camera can save you from scrambling to take written notes.
  10. Recap the Show. Debrief with your team while it’s still fresh. Tip: Have collateral sent to you electronically after the show rather than carrying it. You’ll save your back as well as a few trees.

Retail’s Big Show includes over 30,000 retail professionals and hundreds of options. While “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, you can conquer NRF in just three.

If you’d like to learn more about our 2015 FXI holiday retail customer experience research, or schedule time to talk at this year’s NRF Big Show in New York, contact me at or @randykish

Hope to see you there!

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About the Author

Randy Kish is a Customer Experience Specialist and Retail Innovation Advocate at ForeSee. He joined the company in 2011, bringing over 20 years of retail experience that started on the selling floor at Nordstrom. Randy crossed over to the software side of the retail industry in 1993 with a primary focus on store operations and retail analytics. A native San Diegan, Randy earned his BA in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and MBA in Finance from San Diego State University.

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