Retail's BIG Show, A Showcase of Retail's Best

           Laura Heller

There is more than one tech show in January -- Retail's BIG Show starts Sunday.

The International CES may steal the spotlight the first week of the year, but this weekend, the National Retail Federation's BIG Show kicks off with a bevy of tech companies showcasing the best of retail and the newest in store technology.

It used to be mostly in-store technology, but that just shows how much has changed.

Omnichannel is where it's at, and what everyone will be talking about at the show.

Retailers today are attempting to be everywhere, on shoppers' computers, their many mobile devices and across multiple platforms.

Selling and fulfilling orders from everywhere to everywhere, while catering to all preferences is a huge challenge. One that played out over the holidays in a bright spotlight as shippers failed to deliver on time and technology glitches got in the way of in-store fulfillment.

Cross-channel order fulfillment will be at the top of retailers' shopping lists at NRF's Big Show.

Predictive analytics will be a close second, as retailers seek out ways to tap into Big Data to better manage scheduling, buying and inventory. Predictive analytics has always been crucial to retail success, but it takes on greater complexity -- and the stakes are higher -- when having to fulfill orders from multiple sources and staff stores appropriately.

Data security looms large over the Big Show. Target's Christmas season hack -- the company now says 70 million cards may bave been compromised -- decimated its holiday season. This story isn't going away, not in the media -- both business and general consumer news -- and the repercussions will linger throughout the year. Retailers must be ready to answer questions about their security measures as Holiday 2014 approaches.

Of course, the physical store still matters. Store tours of Manhattan's best new retail outlets are a must when in New York. And many companies on site will be demoing the latest in display technology that meld the physical and virtual worlds.

FierceRetail will be at the BIG Show in force (pun intended). Our editors will be attending sessions, walking the show floor and bringing coverage daily to those who can't attend, wearing comfortable shoes and taking notes, so you don't have to. --Laura

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