Your NRF Daily Digest | Day 1 Insights

January 16, 2022

It’s the Big Day here at Retail’s Big Show! We’re taking our bite out of the big apple, and we’re devouring so much good content, both at our booth and off the show floor. 

Check out our top insights from the first day of NRF:

What is here to stay?

We’re no strangers to passing pandemic trends. From trying viral Tik Tok coffee trends, to bread baking in kitchens, to carrying proof of vaccination, we’ve all tried to do what we can do to adapt to life in a world in the pandemic. No matter what the new strain, next wave, developing mandates are coming next, there will be some behaviors and adjustments that will stick.

It’s no surprise that NRF was filled with conversations about retail in a Covid world. Here are some of the takeaways from industry experts:

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, President and CEO, Americas ESW
Ish Patel, COO, Digital, Victoria’s Secret & Co

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, President and CEO, Americas ESW weighed in on the imperatives driving brands to take a DTC global approach. “Direct-to-consumer retail is no longer a nice-to-have option,” he said.  “After covid, it is a need to have.”

Victoria’s Secret shows how controlling their own data has enabled them to better understand and serve customers globally. “Moving into an e-market can be daunting,” said Ish Patel, COO, Digital, Victoria’s Secret & Co. “We’ve learned along the way to spend the time to learn the local market. As you build up a picture of how well your brand resonates, research is super important.” Ish advocates that retailers “work with as many people as possible to further your learning.”

Keynote speaker Stephen Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, says that the retail market resilience is fascinating. “I wish I had a Crystal Ball,” he says, “but the market has been around for hundreds of years. The retail marketplace is fascinating. It is durable and sustainable. Take grocery, for example. The local supermarket has become even stronger during difficult times. Grocery is sticky.”

Williams also echoed the consensus that DTC and e-commerce are permanent pillars in retail now. “E-commerce is here to stay and it’s developing fast,” he said.

Better Business, Together

Luxury lifestyle brand Ralph Lauren is pivoting to meet consumers where they are. On-demand shopping is not a new concept, but Patrice Louvet, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Ralph Lauren Corporation shared how they are taking on-demand digital commerce to the next level. “Factories are set up to do repetitive work, not making complicated, custom on-demand things,” he said. So Ralph Lauren is driving value in a new way, with a new structure. “We’re providing bespoke, experiential retail while cutting down the waste with a new business model that has to happen to make this really work at scale. I think there’s a big opportunity here, and the industry has yet to completely unlock that”

Patrice Louvet, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Ralph Lauren Corporation

“Sustainability keeps me up at night,” said Patrice. “So much of the industry is reliant on plastics and fossil fuels. Addressing these challenges… I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out solutions for this problem, but a lot of this stuff already has scale. Everyone has their piece in this, there is not a single, simple solution. How do we keep trying to move forward and do better?”

The consensus? Together.

“These are the biggest challenges, biggest opportunities for the industry as a whole. From retail, to manufacturing, to technology partners.”

It starts at the frontline

Keynote Speaker Stephen Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America

We love these conversations about better business. It’s clear that retailers are beginning to truly believe that consumers first = employees first.

“We don’t have a business model without healthy people,” said Williams, CEO of PepsiCo. “We are a frontline business through and through. I’ve had to become a visible leader. The people in your organization need to know you know they’re critical. You empathize, and you put your money where your mouth is.”

Retail voices covered a lot of ground on Day 1 of NRF. But one core message rings true. 

“It’s about our customers and the communities that we serve.”


Change starts from within organizations. At Zipline, we help retail brands ensure their innovative ideas and solutions don’t just exist within the minds of the c-suite and can scale across the field for maximum impact.  Whether your cause is saving the planet, creating a culture of unity and inclusion, or social activism, start making an impact today.

Missing out on NRF? We’ve got you covered! On Thursday, February 3, Zipline’s hosting a virtual event, NRF FOMO, to bring the stuff you really miss about NRF – the cool swag, the industry’s hottest trends, and the networking – straight to you.

Sign up today to get exclusive access to the best of the Big Show. 

Stop by booth #603!

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