Our NRF Events: Don't Just Comment. Come And Yell At Me In Person

For those of you attending the NRF Big Show in NYC next week (The Big Show? With that name, I half-expect Ed Sullivan to do the keynote), I am guessing many of you will be bored with the same old fact-based intelligent panel discussions. Fear not. For a panel packed with emotional outbursts and insights disguised as innuendos, please ....

No, that won't work. As much I try, it's hard to pretty up a retail technology/E-Commerce panel as an exciting outing. But for a tech-biz discussion, we've got two decent offerings.

On Wednesday morning (9:45-10:45 AM, at the Javits, Concurrent Hall A 1A21/22), StorefrontBacktalk will be moderating a look at The Road To Merged Channel. The panel will feature Google's head of retail (and a new daddy), John McAteer, and the E-business chief at Borders, Kevin Ertell.

John has repeatedly shown a sophisticated understanding of the E-Commerce side and how retailers should be one with online rather than shunt it aside. (Google's definitely a "be one with" kind of place). And Borders—along with BestBuy and a few others—are that rare breed of retailer that is truly trying to deliver a merged channel. We'll discuss that dangerous path from multi-channel (tool of the devil) to cross-channel (a good try, probably the best that can be hoped for this year) to merged channel (the nirvana, but still a couple of years away for even those who truly want it).

This is more than pure strategy and involves extensive logistical integration, far beyond supply chain and database. Payment and shipment and inventory are crucial. Discussing those aspects will be Vince Talbert from Bill Me Later. Bill Me Later has been making huge strides with alternative payments and will discuss the logistical aspects of merged channel. Keeping all of us honest will be the legendary Patti Freeman Evans from JupiterResearch. In an attempt to make the panel members look even better by comparison, I will be moderating. (The panel sounded pretty good until that last sentence.)

If 9:45 AM isn't early enough for you, I'll be naming names in a Tuesday breakfast presentation at 7:30 AM at The Westin New York at Times Square. That presentation will look at the successes and failures with retail technology and E-Commerce during the 2007 holiday season. If you have any suggested successes or failures (failures are more fun), please send them to me at [email protected]

The breakfast hosts—Hughes—are offering a Sony Blue-ray HD DVD player for one of the brave souls willing to attend. If you want to drop by, it would be great if you could register.