Despite the biggest change to the Big Show — that it will, by necessity, be virtual rather than a physical event at New York’s Javits Convention Center — returning attendees will find much that’s familiar at NRF 2021: Retail’s Big Show – Chapter One.
The 25,000 expected attendees will be able to visit more than 300 exhibitors and also sample from the 100+ sessions that will be offered over the event’s six days: Jan. 12-14, 19 and 21-22, 2021. Sessions will be headlined by executives from a wide range of leading retailers, including Lowe’s, Alibaba, IKEA, lululemon, Allbirds, Qurate Retail Group, Verizon, The Home Depot, Ulta Beauty and Walmart.
Keynote speakers will include Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chairman of JP Morgan Chase; Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International; Indra Nooyi, former CEO and Chairman of Pepsico; and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The agenda also will feature 80+ “Big Ideas” sessions presented by exhibitors, including Oracle, Axonify, Toshiba, Samsung, Treasure Data, IBM, Salesforce, Google and Amazon Web Services.
Additionally, a new feature for 2021 will be the 30 interactive discussion room sessions, available exclusively to retailer attendees. These will feature case studies and advice on topics such as planning for a post-COVID environment.
Another new feature at NRF Chapter One will be the Equality Lounge, focusing on diversity and inclusion issues. The Lounge sessions will take place at 1 pm (EST) each day of the virtual event, and will feature topics including: mentorship designed to foster future female leaders; amplifying Black businesses through partnerships and collaboration; 2020’s most creative retail campaigns for equality; and the new ethics of tech — equity, diversity and human-centered design.
Networking opportunities will be facilitated by “Schedule a Meeting” functionality, available on a pre-event landing page, that will be powered by an AI matchmaking platform that meshes registration data across the event and suggests potential meetups with like-minded peers.
The event also will offer a Help Desk Live Agent. “In the same way that there’s a help desk at a live event, we will have a virtual help desk powered by chatbot technology to assist those who may have log-in issues or the like,” said Matthew Gill, Producer of Digital Success at Freeman in an NRF blog post. Freeman is the event management company NRF works with on its physical Big Show.
NRF 2021 Chapter Two is scheduled to take place physically in New York City, June 6-8, 2021.