For Business

5 retail trends you can discover at NRF 2023

With nearly 200 sessions at retail’s biggest annual event, we curated the must-see panels that attendees can get excited about


The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) “Big Show” in New York City is an annual meetup of virtually every type of retailer, and Buy with Prime has a front-row seat to the action this year.

After several tumultuous years, the retail landscape is at a pivotal point, with new lessons and opportunities surfacing every day amid inflation, supply chain slowdowns, and lingering pandemic concerns. Packed with three full days of exhibitions, panels and keynotes, the conference gives attendees the chance to learn about the forces shaping the future of retail.

With nearly 200 sessions from more than 350 industry experts, attendees can see how retail experiences are evolving and innovating in ways that elevate the customer journey. The common threads throughout the NRF agenda, however, are five emerging trends that are expected to dominate in 2023.

Be sure to check out our 15-minute tech talk session in the AWS booth on January 17 at 1 pm EST!

Inspiring loyalty in customers

A common rule of business is that it’s smarter (and more cost-effective) to retain existing customers than constantly trying to acquire new customers. The question is no longer just about turning shoppers into customers, but about turning customers into loyal brand advocates. At this year’s event, attendees can sit in on sessions that address customer loyalty and how to strengthen relationships with existing customers. A fireside chat with Cover Genius examines how brands use end-to-end warranty programs deepen customer connections over the life of a product. A panel featuring Advance Auto Parts looks at how returns are a step in the customer journey that can be an opportunity to delight and re-engage the customer.

Shortening the shopper journey

When it comes to driving purchases, retailers want to make the path to checkout as simple as possible. A purchasing journey that is shorter and smoother can help increase conversions online and offline. Retail businesses are leveraging new solutions like Buy with Prime to streamline the checkout process by providing an experience millions of shoppers know and trust. One session with AWS provides an in-depth look at how the Just Walk Out technology is helping to meet consumer demand for fast, frictionless shopping.

Bridging in-store and online experiences

When it comes to successful omnichannel retail, “phygital,” or a blending of physical and digital experiences is the new name of the game. (Check out the related session on Sunday.) To meet shoppers wherever they are, brands are expanding their sales channels using a mix of brick-and-mortar storefronts, third-party distributors, and their own ecommerce websites. For example, brands like Colsen Fire Pit that want to strengthen their ecommerce presence to match their in-store presence, Buy with Prime has been a differentiator. In a Monday session with Fabletics, attendees can learn how the digitally native company is using its massive social following to drive expansion of its physical stores, and a session with Comcast Business shares best practices for how to unify and personalize all sales channels for consumers.

Creating a mission-centered brand

Shoppers are no longer simply seeking products or services. Increasingly, shoppers are looking for brands with values that align with their own personal values. Building a purpose-driven brand matters. Whether focused on empowerment, accessibility, integrity, or innovation, shoppers want to buy from brands that walk the walk when it comes to their mission statements. Sustainability is a theme that’s become increasingly prevalent among retail businesses as consumers look for brands that care about the planet and future generations. Several panels, like “Placing sustainability at the heart of retail” and “Nothing to hide: Full transparency on sustainability” examine how retail can be a force for good and how retailers can hold themselves accountable.

Fueling customer-obsession with data and AI

Technology isn’t just helping to make buying easier; it’s also giving businesses a better understanding of their customers’ needs. Using data and AI, businesses have been able to better anticipate customer desires and proactively address them at all stages of the purchasing journey. In a session with T-Mobile and Adobe, leaders share how they’re deploying cloud technology to surface personalized recommendations and discounts throughout the shopper journey, and a session with Kroger looks at how the grocer is using AI simulations to plan in-store checkout.

Retail’s biggest show is sure to inform and entertain, and we can’t wait to see the retail community come together under one roof, in person and virtually. Be sure to look out for post-event coverage on our blog.

Interested in learning more about Buy with Prime at NRF? Sign up to schedule a meeting with us.

Anita Little