How to navigate the virtual NRF 2021

By Team Session AI on March 6, 2021

Getting the most out of Chapter 1 of retail’s big show

Throughout 2020, the retail industry displayed a large amount of resilience and agility. To kick off the new year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) will hold its annual show for the top movers and shakers in retail. However, this year, NRF will be a bit different, with a virtual show in January and an in-person expo in New York City in June. 

In “Chapter One” of NRF 2021, held virtually over six days throughout the month—January 12, 13, 14, 19, 21, and 22—NRF will celebrate retailers’ impressive achievements in 2020, and address the immediate needs that retailers have today.

Although NRF 2021 may look a bit different than in the past, 2020 of challenges and innovation for retail has primed an event more informative than ever. However, virtual events can be tricky to navigate without a plan. Before (virtually) diving into the conference, here are some top tips for making the most out of Chapter 1 of NRF 2021.

Tip 1: Do your research

Chapter 1 of NRF 2021 is an online version of the show that includes curated sessions, networking programs, and a virtual Expo where attendees can connect with solution providers spread across six days. That means you don’t need to fill every minute of every day with a session to make it worthwhile to attend, but only need to participate in the sessions that are most interesting to you. To make the most out of your experience, check out the show’s agenda ahead of time to review the session titles and learn more details about each. 

Tip 2: Be realistic

When attending NRF in person, you likely are accustomed to jam-packed days. The new virtual format gives you room to breathe—and even get work done during the expo—rather than cramming everything into your limited time on-site. Rather than scheduling sessions back-to-back, make note of “must attend” sessions and “nice to attend” sessions. Try to build a program for yourself that consists of a variety of sessions—in both topic and format. Keep in mind that even if you can’t attend a session at a scheduled time, sessions covered under Exhibitor Big Ideas will be available on-demand for 30 days after the show and you can schedule a 1:1 meeting with speakers throughout the event.

Tip 3: Capitalize on networking

Networking is essential at any event. While you won’t see people in person at NRF 2021, you can still connect with your peers and industry experts in just as meaningful a way through NRF’s networking channels. Once your profile is created, matchmaking is available between retailers and designated exhibitor representatives to build new relationships, explore the latest technologies, discuss hot topics, and discover innovative solutions. You can also schedule meetings throughout the day to talk one-on-one with presenters. Check out this video for a tutorial on meeting and matchmaking at NRF 2021.

Tip 4: Explore by category

Not sure which companies or sessions are most relevant to your company’s interests or goals? NRF 2021 has set up a Product Categories page that allows you to search by topic to uncover companies that fit into your area of interest and maybe worth scheduling a 1:1 session with. For instance, if you search under “eCommerce”, you will find 44 companies listed under “AI,” one of which is ZineOne—which was featured on last year’s EXPO Artificial Intelligence Tour as a top pick for AI technology providers. To see what innovative, cutting edge solutions ZineOne will be showcasing this year, visit our NRF2021 page. 

Making the most Out of the virtual event

Virtual events can be just as exciting as in-person ones if you have the right outlook and mindset. By keeping these tips in mind, you can get the most out of Chapter 1 of Retail’s Big Show—and gain valuable knowledge and discover innovative ways to take your business to the next level in 2021. 

Learn more about the virtual NRF 2021 here:

Stay tuned for our next blog post, which covers top sessions to attend at the virtual NRF 2021.

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