NRF Highlights from Industry Leaders

Thought leaders and executives from top retailers and brands, including Mattel and Whole Foods, shared perspectives on where the retail industry is headed in 2023.
nrf 2023

Originally published on Retail Leader, Jan. 18, 2023:

Retailers, solution providers and thought leaders across the retail industry gathered at NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show, hosted by the National Retail Federation. From the role of brick-and-mortar, to building experiences for the metaverse and differentiation in the grocery industry, here’s what some of the biggest names in retail had to say during the Jan. 17-14 conference.

Martin Urrutia Islas, The LEGO Group’s global head of retail experience, on the retailer’s more than 800 brick-and-mortar stores:

"It's not the place of transaction. For us, it's a place where we will engage and meet with our fans ... We see [our stores] as another communication channel or another media channel to be able to present our products and interact with our guests." 

Jack Sinclair, Sprouts Farmers Market’s CEO, on the importance of differentiation amid inflation in the grocery space:

"My mother always told me, 'You should be okay in the grocery industry because people always have to eat.' People are going to buy food, and then our opportunity is to try and appeal very directly to those health-conscious consumers. So, if you're a vegan, quite frankly, you don't start being not a vegan because the prices go up.” 

Dina Fierro, Shiseido Americas’ senior vice president, web3/metaverse group, on designing metaverse experiences in Roblox:

"The community that surrounds Roblox is rabid — it’s passionate. And I think it's really central to the success of any experience on a platform, any experience created by a brand, that you actually tap into that community for their expertise on things like game-play mechanics, first-time user experience but also just general world-building and digital design. Frankly, no one understands the community better than those creators on the platform.”

Jason Buechel, Whole Foods Market’s CEO,  on offering high-quality products at varying price points:

“We offer good, better and best, and so you might have customers who are the shoppers that want the best. When they have a more challenging economic impact in their household and pull back, they have options. Take our 365 product, which is our entry-level product across many different categories in the store. It’s an ability for a customer to have those same quality standards… but be able to have it at a great price.”

Richard Dickson, Mattel’s president and CEO, on the importance of building cultural relevance as a retailer and the upcoming "Barbie" film:

“The Barbie movie is a culturally relevant narrative that will be a pop culture sensation. Culturally relevant ways to keep our brand as part of the conversation is a really important part of our methodology.” 

Paige Thomas, Saks OFF 5TH president and CEO, on the off-price retailer’s decision to invest in its e-commerce experience:

“​​When we think about our core customers and what matters to them, that’s really the entire shopping experience. And that’s how you can really differentiate yourself. We had this distorted online business, and we didn’t have a mobile app. I’m thinking how can we not have a mobile app when we think about the customer journey and experience? That’s really where we’ve invested.”