Top 3 Takeaways from NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show

Author: Paul C. Greifenberger
President Americas, FarEye

National Retail Federation NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show was held January 16-18, 2022 in New York City. Representatives from a wide variety of global retailers and technology companies enjoyed exhibits and sessions in many categories including elevating customer experience, a variety of topics centered around diversity and inclusion, and sessions exploring a variety of supply chain/operations themes.

Customer centricity requires retailers to focus on solving customer’s problems, meeting their demands and fulfilling their needs to create customer satisfaction. Retailers understand they must proactively address and satisfy their customer’s needs or the customer experience will suffer, along with their business.

For customer-centric retailers, a focus on visibility is entwined with customer experience. Amazon is a company built successfully around the customer experience. Thanks to Amazon’s visibility with orders and deliveries, customers now expect to know where their goods are and when they will arrive. However, giving customers visibility in real-time is not an easy task. According to a recent survey of supply chain professionals, one of the top identified challenges is gaining real-time visibility of supply chain behavior.

Visibility is at the heart of customer satisfaction. Consumers have come to expect both visibility and communication from retailers. Real-time visibility is a challenge for retailers who need to provide the Amazon experience within their own supply chains.

Tonal Systems Inc. creates fitness and strength training machines with patented digital weight, machine learning, and expert personalized coaching. Their machines require delivery and installation in homes, a more complicated process than just delivering the machine. For Tonal, visibility is important in managing inventory capacity and for seeing their deliveries and installations in motion.

Philippe Lambotte, VP, Logistics and Field Operations at Tonal Systems, Inc. spoke at NRF saying the “digital supply chain has to make up for a lot of the current inflexibility of the physical supply chain.”

Using FarEye’s last mile solution, Tonal gains visibility into their supply chain and uses that knowledge to be proactive with their customers. Being reactive when a delivery exception happens doesn’t work for customer-centric businesses. Lambotte says simply knowing where a delivery is located isn’t enough, retailers need to be proactive for their customers. Visibility drives efficiency in order to improve customer success, which all ties into a successful customer experience.

Another big takeaway; utilizing logistics technology can drive revenue growth within a company. Gordon Food Service is a 125 year old broadline food distribution company in North America that delivers to restaurants, the healthcare industry, and schools across much of the United States and all across Canada. During recent market disruptions, they began a brand new initiative to van deliver same-day goods to their customers from their brick and mortar stores.

Prior to this new service, their end customers would do local grocery runs to satisfy their same-day food needs since Gordon Food Service could not support same-day deliveries from their distribution centers. This unmet need became a growth enabler for Gordon Food Service driving improved customer engagement. By adding digital last mile capabilities and delivering from their brick and mortar stores, Gordon Food Service has grown their sales in 2021 by 8.6% over 2020 during market disruptions. Last-mile van delivery from Gordon Food Service Stores accounted for 36% of that growth.

Terry Jost, Innovation Manager at Gordon Food Service puts it in perspective. “We had this idea about same-day van delivery from our stores that went from zero to 100%. We are 125 years old and started this initiative from scratch. We envisioned it and FarEye’s logistics technology enabled it and allowed us a distinct advantage over our competitors.”

Utilizing delivery logistics technology like FarEye’s last mile solutions can help drive revenue growth potential for companies focused on improving customer experience. Companies can increase their operational efficiency and improve their customer experience simultaneously while also bringing down costs.

Logistics technology has evolved from being considered a back office technology to a front office driver of revenue growth. Last mile delivery technology gives retailers a competitive edge that can help propel businesses forward, especially with the rise of e-commerce and a customer-centric mindset.

What were your top takeaways from NRF 2022?

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