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NRF: Day 2 - a focus on mobile

NRF Retail 2018

It started with Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global and founder of The Huffington Post telling us that we “all take better care of our Smartphones than we do of ourselves”.  She advocates banishing mobiles from the bedroom and meetings, she even sells a bed for your Smartphone complete with blanket where she puts her family’s mobiles every night. The day ended with Jennifer Bailey from Apple telling us that the first thing she does every morning is pick up her phone to check social media and Apple News.  Perhaps they should meet!

Use social media but don’t let is use you

Arianne was talking about the importance of changing the way that we work to improve our health and wellbeing, a topic she knows only too well and the biggest part of this is to stop being slaves to our mobiles.  Our phones are a repository of things that everyone wants from us.... we need to take time for what we want.
She asked the question “Why do we feel the need to respond to emails and text messages immediately?” – everything is so readily available and we put pressure on ourselves to respond at the same speed.
Arianna loves social media and is on every platform, but she emphasised that we should use social media not be used by it.  She turns her phone off 30 mins before going to sleep and “gently escorts it from her room” to put it to ‘bed’, picking up a book to read instead. And this isn’t just at home, she makes meetings shorter and device free too, recommending writing notes with a pen in a beautiful notebook. A very interesting and enjoyable 30 mins from an inspirational and remarkable woman.


Over at the Innovation Lab the topic was “The Brick and Mortar store strikes back!” We listened to speakers from Ahold Delaize, the Hershey Company and PepsiCo talking about how they are working with retailers to change the instore experience for customers, opening up sections of the store to incorporate technology. 2017 was the year that was game changing for them in changing the retail experience for their customers. Executive leadership buy in, constant innovation, change of culture and being more agile were all quoted as success factors but most importantly getting the user experience right.

Mobile is still omnipresent

Jennifer Bailey over at Apple talked about the new world which starts with mobile and how mobile is transforming the way of shopping. In 2016 mobile usage overtook PC usage and mobile accounts for 25% of online sales, growing 10 times faster than traditional retail.  There are 1bn active iPhone users who spend 87% of the time on their phone in apps. Apple Pay is 5 years old and is already accepted in 50% of all physical retail locations globally. Mobile technology is helping to create new experiences in physical stores with improved hardware, camera, location services and augmented reality – reiterating our CEO, Tim Mason’s view on how having a digital connection is fundamental to success in this mobile centric world.
Jennifer was joined on stage by Panera Bread, the 8th largest restaurant company in the USA, with 30m loyalty members and 70% of their customer base are Apple customers. Half of all their payment transactions are digital and 75% of their orders are placed on mobile. Mobile has transformed their business with 1.2 billion dollars in digital sales in 2017.
It goes to show that mobile is a key tool to engage consumers, deliver them great content and enable a real-time digital connection.