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Five key takeaways from NRF 2023

NRF 2023 takeaways

The Bakkt® team had a productive and interactive time at NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show. Our team had the opportunity to make valuable connections across industries and take in all the latest retail trends. From cutting-edge technology to resourceful engagement and loyalty strategies, retail continues to be the vertical to watch. Brands are forging value with out-of-the-box ideas, changing the culture of commerce, and standing out from the competition in meaningful ways. If you missed this year’s event, don’t worry—we’ve compiled a list of the five most interesting takeaways.

1. NFTs and tokenized loyalty are on the rise for innovative retailers and brands.

The sessions we saw made it clear that NFTs will be a major player when it comes to innovative, next-gen experiences that forward-thinking brands can bring to market.

There are myriad ways the blockchain-based tokens can be used to boost engagement and increase brand awareness. From building community to doling out exclusive offers to best customers, top brands are finding creative ways to harness the value of these exciting technologies.

2. Experiential Retail is expected to rise and could play a big role in loyalty, both online and in-store.

With the explosion of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores must find creative ways of proving their value to customers. Experiential retail encompasses a diverse array of physical and digital touchpoints that encourage visitors to see brands as immersive experiences in and of themselves. Concepts like social shopping bring together the best aspects of e-commerce sites and social media platforms to create organically engaging ecosystems. “Liveshopping” is another emerging trend that caught our eye. Popular on social media platforms and other apps, customers buy products in real-time as the creators display them, answer questions, and interact.

3. Gen-Z brings the age of realism.

Brand presence and participation is as or more important than “commercialization” to these next-generation shoppers. It’s been said that “authenticity” is key to this younger group of consumers, and that sensibility extends to the realm of commerce. Along with liveshopping, which is very popular in this demographic, “voiceshopping” is another trend likely to grow within the realm of Gen-Z retailing. Voiceshopping is the simple act of purchasing goods through verbal communication with an electronic assistant or interface, such as Amazon’s Alexa.

4. Loyalty will continue to evolve in the face of new technologies.

If nothing else, many of the sessions made it clear that loyalty strategies will have to transform in order to effectively embrace exciting new technologies. The importance of AI for digital personalization, as well as clienteling to maximize data mobilization from loyalty programs were two interesting topics that arose. Face recognition to enroll and redeem within retailers was highlighted as well

5. Emotional loyalty has a formula.  

According to one session, there are five key indicators to gauge a consumer’s emotional loyalty to brands:

  • I look forward to my experience with the brand
  • The brand mission is aligned with me
  • The brand knows me
  • I would advocate for this brand
  • I would miss this brand if it went away

And in terms of how to foster this kind of affinity from program members, there are lots of options at brands’ disposal: curated experiences and events, lots of first party data, surprise and delights, communities, and generosity.

We await more illuminating insights next year, at NRF 2024. Until next time!

The Bakkt team

This does not constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell, or otherwise transact in any investment, including any of the product(s) mentioned herein, or an invitation, offer or solicitation to engage in any investment activity. This information is provided solely on the basis that you will make your own investment decisions, and Bakkt does not take account of any investor's investment objectives, particular needs, or financial situation. It is strongly recommended that you seek professional investment advice before making any investment decision.