3 key trends you’ll hear about at NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show

Experience, inclusivity and people: What innovative brands have in common
Director, Editorial Content
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It’s worth taking a look at predictions and forecasts as we prepare for NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show — what should we pay attention to? What are consumers going to expect in the year to come, and how can retailers prepare for those changing expectations?

We’re thinking about the reimagining of retail, commonalities between innovative brands and key trends embraced by up-and-coming players. Here’s a closer look at three of those trends and a few of the thought leaders you’ll hear at NRF 2020 talking about them.

Barbara Carlson, American Girl
Barbara Carlson, senior director global creative services for American Girl

Experiential retail

Walk into any American Girl store, and you’ll see experiential retail at its best: A doll hospital for toy repairs, a restaurant with seats for dolls, a salon where kids can get matching hairstyles with their dolls and more. As senior director of global creative services for American Girl, Barbara Carlson is one of the leaders behind these experiences. At NRF 2020, she will share her expertise with attendees, speaking about how micro experiences in physical stores can have a major impact on customers and their brand loyalty.

Consumers increasingly value experiences over things, and no one embraces that trend more than Ben Kaufman, the founder and CEO of CAMP. Kaufman and his wife Nikki have created a new kind of toy store blending play and product. At CAMP stores, children and their parents are immersed in a variety of activities including yoga, crafting marshmallow animal dioramas and telling stories around a campfire.

Ben Kaufman, Founder and CEO CAMP
Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of CAMP

Kaufman previously founded Apple accessory company Mophie and social invention platform Quirky. He also serves as the CMO of Buzzfeed. At NRF 2020, Kaufman will speak alongside Aaron Levant of NTWRK about how to create compelling experiences online and in stores.


More and more, consumers are using their dollars to support brands that reflect their values, and many leading retailers are taking note. When Alexandra Waldman co-founded Universal Standard, she set out to close the size gap in the fashion industry by creating modern clothing for women of all sizes. As chief creative officer, she oversees the creative vision, design and direction of the brand, ensuring it’s always working toward “fashion freedom” for all women. Waldman will share her experiences leading an inclusive brand at NRF 2020 in a featured session on celebrating diversity.

Lisa Price, Carol's Daughter
Lisa Price, founder of Carol's Daughter

It might seem hard to believe that multimillion-dollar beauty and haircare brand Carol’s Daughter started as a simple hobby in one woman’s kitchen in Brooklyn, but that entrepreneurial dream and reality belongs to founder Lisa Price. The brand’s popularity has grown steadily since its founding in 1993 and soared in 2002 when Price was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and was acquired in 2013 by L’Oréal USA. At NRF 2020, Price will discuss how she succeeded while navigating the changing landscape of the natural haircare industry.

Putting people first

If you’re a Target loyalist, you’ve noticed some changes to their app and loyalty program now rebranded as Target Circle. These changes reflect a new way of thinking about loyalty that shifts the conversation away from points acquisition and toward integration into a broader ecosystem.

Rick Gomez, Target
Rick Gomez, EVP, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Target

It’s not just about rewards — it’s about a customer’s journey through the larger world of the brand. Learn all about it at NRF 2020 in "From points to passports: Reimagining the loyalty program," featuring Matthew Blonder, Reebok’s vice president of marketing and digital brand commerce, and Rick Gomez, Target’s executive vice president, chief marketing and digital officer.

Zeynep Ton is a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, whose research found that businesses — particularly those operated by low-wage workers — could afford to treat workers better and would benefit financially from doing so. After publishing her research in The Good Jobs Strategy, Ton co-founded the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute to help retailers implement her strategy.

Zeynep Ton, MIT Sloan School of Management
Zeynep Ton, professor of the practice, operations management, MIT Sloan School of Management

At NRF 2020, she will speak alongside recently promoted Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner (formerly CEO of Sam’s Club) in a keynote session about workforce transformation.

Want to learn more? See the complete list of speakers and sessions on the NRF 2020 Vision: Retail's Big Show agenda.

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